Today I want to talk about floor goals and ceiling goals and how they can help not only you, but your child as well.
Stop Yelling Goals
I first put this into practice many years ago when I was trying to stop yelling at my boys. They were still little, very little, and I had a yelling problem. What I wanted to do was to not ever yell at my boys, so that would be my ceiling goal.
Ceiling meaning it’s like super high, it’s the highest. And then a floor goal would be the lowest. And what I realized quickly is that I was not going to be able to just stop yelling at my boys altogether. That was not realistic. To just do like overnight still was my ceiling goal. I still wanted to achieve it, but what I did instead was set a floor goal and my floor goal.
Was actually pretty high now that I come to think about it, but it was to not yell at the boys before school, which was basically about an hour of time of my day. But it was a pretty high stress time of day because, you know, I’m waking them up, helping them get dressed, feeding them breakfast, getting them off to school.
And lots of opportunities to yell during that time, and so I really had to be mm, intentional and work really hard at achieving that floor goal, but it was doable because it was only an hour of time. and I tried to set myself up for success by laying things out the night before and having breakfast even ready the night before and just take the stress off because it was just for that period of time, I felt like it was manageable.
And after a few weeks, I found I could actually not yell at the boys before school. This was miraculous. and after I had achieved that, then I added, you know, not yell at the boys during homework time. That was like my next floor goal and so on and so forth. I don’t really yell at my boys anymore, but a lot of that has to do with only one is living at home.
But I actually did when they were younger. I definitely decreased my yelling, so it was not easy, but it was doable because I set a floor goal.
Goals don’t have to be big to work!
This is helpful for you as parents to set yourself some goals. Know that it doesn’t have to be this giant thing. You can still have your sailing goal. Like of course, I wanted to never yell at them, but by having those floor goals, I could have success along the way, and I counted that as much of a success as no day of yelling.
Use this tool with your kids! Book Report Example
And then you can share this tool with your kids. So for instance, my son had a big paper due and he says he thrives at really kind of doing things last minute, but I also know that gives him a level of stress that he doesn’t actually appreciate in the moment. So we looked at some goals he could set and a ceiling goal could be to get the paper done, let’s say a week in advance.
And our floor goal was actually just for him to read. It was a book report. So the floor goal was for him to read 10 pages a day. And we started this, maybe a month before the book report was due. and what he found is that he usually, of course, would read more than the 10 pages, and that helped him to actually finish the book more than a week before the paper was due.
All he had to do every day was read his 10 pages again on his own. He usually did more, and if we had gotten to a point where there was just a few days left, we would’ve had to up that floor goal, but it just gave him enough momentum to get going. He’s not a reader. He was very resistant to reading. , but that small goal, he’s like, okay, I can do 10 pages a day.
And he did it and he was done the book again a week before. The book report was due. And then we shifted that ceiling goal to focusing on the writing. So, brainstorming, brainstorm some ideas today that. Floor goal, a ceiling goal would’ve been to write a page of the paper.
But what he kind of did was brainstorm and write a little bit, and then we got to where it was the weekend before and he just sat down and powered through it. But he had read the book, he had gathered ideas through his brainstorming, and so it had broken down. But I really explained. Floor goal and ceiling goal idea, and he liked it.
He really liked it because it gave him a range of success. It wasn’t just like do this giant thing or you failed and said, it was like, do this little teeny, tiny thing and you’ve succeeded. And of course you can always do more if you want, but you do not have to.
Prove to yourself a floor goal is OK!
And I actually saw a really cool video of a med student who applied this rule, and what he did is at first, he literally set a timer.
His goal was to study for 10 minutes a day, I think, or maybe an hour. I can’t remember, because he was a med student. So 10 minutes day does not seem quite enough, but he had this very small goal of sitting down and studying for 10 minutes. Let’s say after dinner, and so the first week he literally set a timer and made himself stop after the 10 minutes to prove to himself.
He really only had to do 10 minutes and he would make himself stop after the 10 minutes. But what it had done is it had started this pattern of behavior that then after a few days, he didn’t set the timer. He’d just sit down to study for 10 minutes. But if he wanted to do more, he could, but he did know in his mind he could stop because he had stopped before.
So sometimes even with these floor goals, we might have to trick ourselves, prove to ourselves we really only have to do the floor goal.
Fuzzy Socks Count!
And for me, I use this with my treadmill in the morning. Is, I say , I only have to walk five minutes on the treadmill every morning and fuzzy socks count.
And what that means is I have this old pair of tennis shoes that with my fuzzy socks, my feet fit in because in the morning sometimes I have my fuzzy socks on. I don’t want to put my walking shoes on. So I’ll go in the basement and I’ll slip my fuzzy socked feet. Old tennis shoes and I’ll walk for at least five minutes and almost always I’ll go 15 to 20 minutes, if not more, but by saying fuzzy socks count.
That’s my floor goal. I actually get on the treadmill.
How can YOU use Floor/Ceiling Goals?
So this week I want to think how can you apply having a floor goal and a ceiling goal in your life as a parent? And how can you use this tool to help your child find more success as you teach them about floor goals and ceiling goals?
I can’t wait to hear how this tool helps you.