FOCUS Families use S-C-O-R-E to make achieving their goals E-A-S-Y!

By Ann Allen, LCSW
Here at FOCUS we believe goal setting, the ability to make a plan to accomplish something, is an important skill for families to have. To help break down the idea of goal setting for kids, we have created a goal setting method called SCORE.

S – Say it simply.
C – Choose your steps.
O – Organize your time.
R – Rate your goal.
E – Excellent job!

The Jones family PCS’d over the summer and to help their three children settle in to their new location they signed them each up for their favorite activity. Mom even signed up for carpool, team snack mom, and a running club. With dad also busy with work, the family is starting to feel like they never spend any time together and decided to set a goal of carving out more quality time. By using SCORE, the Jones family is on their way to achieving this goal!

S – Say it simply. The first step when setting a goal is to break the goal down so that it specifies exactly what you want to accomplish. An easy reminder is to make sure the goal is simple enough to fit into one sentence. Kids often have really big, complex goals like “being good” or “becoming a famous athlete.” Take some time to show your child how to break those ideas down into several simple goals that will help them achieve the overall objective. S – Say it simply: To have a family dinner one night a week

C – Choose your steps. Once you have created your goal you can break it down into smaller steps, this will make it easier to complete. Choose your steps:
Write all the family activities on the calendar
Choose a night each week that everyone is free and color it in on the calendar
Assign each family member a week in which they get to pick what to eat for dinner and a game the whole family can play together afterwards
Go grocery shopping the day before to get the necessary ingredients for dinner
The morning of family dinner check to make sure the game for that night has all the necessary pieces
Enjoy family night

O – Organize your time. Once you have listed out all the steps for your goal, it is important to assign a date or time frame for each step to make sure they actually get done. Organize your time: We will do steps 1-3 on Monday after Dad gets home from work. Steps 4 and 5 we will assign days to once we figure out which night will be family night.

R – Rate your goal. The final step in creating a goal is to rate it and make sure it is do-able. At FOCUS, we like to use the Feeling Thermometer* to help us measure whether our goal is do-able. When we think about our goal, we want the feelings connected to it to be comfortable ‘green’ feelings. If, when we think about our goal, we feel really uncomfortable ‘red’ feelings that may mean our goal is too complicated and we need to go back to step one and make it simpler. Rate your goal: We all feel really excited about our family goal and once we listed out all the steps we saw that it wouldn’t be too hard for us to do. We are definitely in the ‘green’ about our goal.

E – Excellent job! Your family has now created a new goal, so go out and do it.
* For more information on the Feeling Thermometer, please contact your local FOCUS site or check out FOCUS World (, our online resiliency-training site.

* You can download the SCORE worksheet here:
FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) is a resiliency-building program of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). FOCUS is an eight-session training program for military families that is grounded in more than two decades of research and experience serving families dealing with stress and changes. FOCUS is specifically adapted for the needs of military couples, children and families and provides training in core resilience skills. These skills increase closeness, support, communication and adaptability. Couples and families learn to work together to manage difficult emotions, set goals and problem solve, communicate clearly and effectively, and develop customized strategies to deal with ongoing stress and change.

For more information about FOCUS, visit us online at or
Contact your local FOCUS site today to learn more about FOCUS and to schedule your personalized training sessions.
• Marine and Family Services, Bldg. 13150, Camp Pendleton, 760-859-6079,
• Dolphin Alley, Bldg. 265, NBSD, 619-556-6075,



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