Dora the Explorer

As a Mom of three boys, I filled my early parenting days with preschool programming from Nick Jr. My boys may not admit it now, but when they were younger, they loved to watch Dora the Explorer.

Dora the Explorer is a series about a seven-year-old adventurous Latina girl called Dora. She enjoys exploring and always eager for her next adventure. On most of Dora’s travels, her adorable monkey companion called Boots (because of the love of his red boots) accompanies her. Along the way, they face many obstacles which they must overcome. At the end of each episode, Dora and Boots sing the show’s iconic ‘We Did It!’ song.

When Dora embarks on a quest to her travel destination, she brings her backpack and map.

Dora’s backpack is a real go-getter with a can-do spirit. As Backpack says in her signature song, “Anything that you might need, I’ve got inside for you.” From binoculars to sticky tape, Backpack’s loaded up with everything Dora might need for her quest, though it is up to the viewer to pick out the item(s) that will solve the problem at hand.

The Map is an incredibly useful friend to Dora because he always knows where to go and how to get there. Whenever Dora checks him for directions, he plots out her journey with a simple graphic that shows a route. Dora’s route is divided into three portions before arriving at her last destination.

Along Dora’s journey, there is a sneaky fox called Swiper who steals or attempts to steal key items that help Dora on her adventures. To prevent Swiper from success, Dora must repeat the phrase, “Swiper, no swiping!” three times.

I know you are asking yourself, “What does an animated preschool series have to do with me reaching my goals”?

Allow me to make the connection for you:

1. Vision & Goal Setting

The Map: Before Dora the Explorer starts her journey, she needs The Map to view where she is going. Dora’s route is divided into three portions before arriving at her last destination.

Goal Attainment: Your vision is the clear image of how you see your future. Goals are set as a specific target that moves you towards your vision. Without a vision and a goal, you will deviate from your path and get lost. It is important to map your strategy of how you will achieve your goals and keep your vision in front of you.

Break your goal down into smaller segments and prioritize the segments in order of importance. For example, for an end of the year goal attainment, break your goal down by quarter, and then by month. Then take your monthly goals and break it down by week. Read my previous blog on How do you Reduce Goal Fatigue? One Bite at a Time!

2. Tools and Resources

Backpack: Backpack is loaded up with everything Dora might need for her quest.

Goal Attainment: Take an inventory of your character strengths, skills, and talents needed for goal attainment. Character Strengths help us manage problems more effectively. Your Character Strengths raise your self-awareness and boost your confidence in your ability to handle future challenges. Take the VIA Character Strengths survey to discover your Top 5-character strengths.

Are there any new skills you can learn to add to your backpack of tools and resources? Just because you lack a necessary skill or resource for a goal doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set the goal. Create a sub-goal to gain (or hire) the missing skill or resource.

3. Feedback

Boots: Without guidance from Dora, the viewer, or another character, Boots is quick to take his own, often dangerous or dead-ended, route. Dora often acts as the voice of reason.

Goal Attainment: To effectively reach a goal, get feedback from a coach, mentor, or trusted colleague to help you sharpen your strategy. Learning about what’s working and what’s not speeds up the attainment of a goal by eliminating ineffective strategies.

4. Mindset

Swiper: Along Dora’s journey, there is a sneaky fox called Swiper who steals or attempts to steal key items that help Dora on her adventures.

Goal Attainment: A positive mindset is necessary for achieving your goals. When you manage your thoughts to be productive rather than counterproductive, you affect what you do and how you feel. Don’t allow fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) or obstacles rob you of the joy and pursuit of your goals.  

The Fiesta Trio from Dora the Explorer – Nick Jr.

5. Celebrate

The Fiesta Trio: Whenever Dora and Boots are successful in any portion of their quests, which are usually divided into three portions, they appear from nowhere to congratulate Dora and Boots with an 8-note fanfare followed by a quarter note drum and celebrate. At the end of each episode, Dora and Boots sing the show’s iconic ‘We Did It!’ song.

Goal Attainment: Self-Efficacy is the belief that you can do it and your actions will make a positive difference in the future. Self-efficacy can play a role in not only how you feel about yourself, but whether you successfully achieve your goals in life.

Celebrate each milestone on your way to goal achievement. We have a tendency to want to jump to the next thing after we reached our goal. By rushing into the next thing, we miss the opportunity to relish in our accomplishments, gain insight from the lessons learned, and reflect on the impact you have made in your life and the lives of others.

Enjoy your journey and celebrate! Remember, seek Progress, not Perfection!

Reflection Questions:

  1. What is your most important life goal right now?
  2. What do you envision for yourself by reaching your goal?
  3. Do you believe you can do this?
  4. What character strengths, skills, and talents can you use, develop, or learn to help you reach your goal?
  5. Who can you reach out to for help or feedback in achieving your goal?
  6. What action step can you take immediately to move one step toward your goal?
  7. How are you going to celebrate each milestone along the way and when you reach your goal?


 · The Capp Institute: Building Blocks of Goal Getting

· The Difference Between Goals and Visions 

· Dora the Explorer Wiki