Use ‘Firsts’ to Leverage Mentoring Impact

Happy ‘New’ Year… or is it?

Have you ever woken up, taken a groggy glance in the mirror, and happily exclaimed, ‘Hooray, a new pimple!’ New doesn’t always mean nice.

Yet largely, people are drawn to new. We pay more for new cars and clothes. We wait in line for new phones and movies.



It’s even true that when we set “first” goals (i.e. around a new chunk of time, like the 1st day of a week, 1st week of the month, etc.) we experience greater success. That’s because considering new goals alongside a new block of time leads to a more positive mindset and greater confidence.

Would you like more positivity and/or confidence? Would your Little? If so, consider trying a “first” goal.

For example, a mentor “first” goal could be, “I know Mondays are hard for my Little, so on the 1st day of each week, I text them an encouraging word.”

Or, “On the 1st Saturday of each month, I journal-reflect about my mentoring experience lately.”

Or, perhaps your Little has a desire that could be connected with a goal – to be a better friend, learn or improve a skill/sport/hobby, or be calmer in the face of stress, for a few examples. By helping a youth think through how to structure a “first” goal, you help them prepare for success.



  • Help them identify what is important (a process which continues to evolve over a lifetime) rather than forcing a goal you think should be.
  • Focus on efforts over outcomes. We can control whether we make a phone call, but not whether the other person answers.
  • Start small. Habits expert James Clear advocates crafting new habits that can be accomplished in under 2 minutes. For instance, instead of, “I will read before bed each night,” pare it down to, “I will read 1 page before bed each night.”
  • Remember your SMART Goal tips: Specific, Measurable, Action-Based, Realistic, Time-Specific.



That’s okay! New years, months, and even shorter time periods are great chances to just reflect as well. You and your Little may enjoy conversations from questions like these, perhaps even discovering nuance and new depth in your friendship:

  • Do you remember why you got involved with BBBS?
  • Have those reasons been fulfilled, partially, or not yet?
  • Why do you each continue to stay involved?
  • Favorite moments or one-liners from your time together this year?
  • Favorite in-person experiences from the year, and/or things you’d like to do again?


So: How can you leverage the power of ‘first’?


The ‘New’ Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County 😉


P.S. Get access to more great mentoring tips and resources by following BBBS of Johnson County on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter!

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