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Goal Setting For Teens And How To Help Your Child Get Started

If you want to set your child up for a lifetime of success, it’s important for you to understand that goal setting should be a big part of their lives as teens. It’s never too early to start making plans, taking action, and having big dreams.

How do you help your teen set goals for the future? You help them create a bucket list filled with very specific goals, have them choose a goal buddy, and always be available for support.

goal setting for teens

With a teenager, it’s important for this entire process to be on their terms. You can’t define their goals for them. They must truly be their dreams. Just because all the women in your family became doctors doesn’t mean that it is something your daughter will necessarily want to peruse.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into what your teen needs from you in order for their goal-setting session to be successful.

teen goal setting ideas

Goal Setting For Teens

According to recent studies, only 20% of the population sets goals, and as many as 92% of those goals are never achieved. That’s not just with the teen demographic, that’s as a whole.

So, you can understand why it’s important for parents to remain a part of the process when children are just getting started. There is a high chance that most give up.

Your teen’s goal mission should become your personal goal mission. Be sure to do what you can to keep them on track on a regular basis.

As parents, it’s our job and duty to do what we can to ensure the best lives possible for our children. Having them grow up with a successful mindset is on the top of that list.

Let’s break down a few different strategies you can work on that will ensure just that.

teaching life skills to children

Teen Goals Must Have A Deadline

Every goal must have an end date. This puts a little pep into their step. If the goal is to save for a trip to Italy, then it could mean before they die. There will never be any real action placed towards that dream.

However, if the goal becomes I want to visit Italy in two years and have it fully paid off by the time I do. Well, it becomes something entirely different! Now, a savings plan has to be created and broken down into a monthly or weekly allocation.

  • How much do you need to save overall for your trip?
  • Now break that down by 24 months?
  • What am I currently earning after school? Can I deduct that from the cost? Where does that leave me?
  • What jobs can I pick up to make extra income? What is the difference?
  • Can I sell any clothes on eBay?
  • What else can I do to make up the ticket price?

Suddenly, action becomes part of the plan. We have a timeline, side hustles, deadlines, and quotas to meet on a weekly basis. There are checkpoints your child will have to hit in order to meet that goal. To just say, “VISIT ITALY”…. well, it means nothing without a date.

bucket list for teens

1-Year, 5-Year, 10-Year Plans

This part is fun! Have your child sit down and create a goals bucket list. What are some of the amazing things they hope to accomplish in their lifetime. Have them split it out into three separate stages:

  • 1 year plan
  • 5 year plan
  • 10 year plan

Thinking beyond 10 years at this stage in their lives will be too far-fetched. It doesn’t matter if the lists are even or not. In fact, the majority of the things they hope to accomplish might fall in the one-year category!

Use this download to help get the conversation started.

In the end, this exercise is a great way to help them understand what they want for themselves if they could live life without limits.

Really stretch them out during this exercise. The sky is the limit! What is it they hope to become? Get them excited and make them understand how setting goals will help them achieve every single thing on their list.

measurable and actionable goals

Goals Must Be Measurable And Trackable

Another important factor when it comes to successful goal making habits is creating goals that are both measurable and trackable. Here are some examples to discuss with your teen:

  • I will make two new friends by the end of the month.
  • I will get only 90s and above on all my grades.
  • I will study for two hours a day during the week while in school.
  • I will go to the gym for an hour on both Monday and Wednesday.
  • I will join the chess club and go to every afterschool session in December.

Can you track and can you measure the results? Yes. Can you check off progress and determine whether or not this goal was completed? Yes. Here are some examples of goals that are not measurable:

  • I will become more popular.
  • I will do better in school.
  • I will love myself more.
  • I will do more for the environment.
  • I will do more for the church.

Very vague. Where is the end date? All loose and without any structure. These goals are setting up your children for failure.

goal buddy

Find A Goal Buddy

I know that we all want to be everything for our children, but sometimes that’s just not the case. Especially during the teenage years.

You should encourage your children to find a Goal Buddy while they are trying to go after their dreams. This will be someone who has the same aspirations and is going through the same type of stages at the moment.

The two can support one another and provide comfort and encouragement when needed. It is always best when coming from a peer.

Although, that doesn’t take you off the hook. As a parent, you must constantly check-in with your child’s progress. But, this really will help your child stay on track – knowing that he/she will have to check in with a friend and tell them how they are doing.

By the way, a goal buddy could even turn into a text group or a Snap Chat group of friends all pursuing their own dreams. Doesn’t have to be one person!

How Your Teen Can Create A Goal

  1. Write down the goal – Create a list of goals they hope to accomplish that are both actionable and measurable. This list should be defined by your teen and your teen alone.
  2. Break down the action items needed to accomplish the goal – How will they achieve each goal? What will they have to do to get to every endpoint?
  3. Create a calendar – Place dates and action items on your calendar that is related to any pressing goal.
  4. Daily to-do lists – Get into the habit of using daily to-do lists to help remember everything that needs to happen.
  5. Daily check-ins – In the beginning, teens might need to check in with their parents for support and guidance. This is a new way of living. Did they take on too many goals at once? Not enough? Can they handle more? This also applies to their Goal Buddy.
  6. Check off the tasks once completed – At the end of the day, check off all action items that were complete on the calendar and to-do list.
  7. Celebrate – Whenever a goal is met, celebrate!

A long term goal is effective when you have an action plan that can be broken down into bite-sized steps. It doesn’t always have to be daily steps, but the point is that action has to always be associated with a dream.

examples of teen goals

What are some good goals for teens?

Here are some good goals for high school students to consider if they don’t know where to begin.

  • Learn to drive this year
  • Learn how to cook my favorite meal and serve it to my family on my birthday
  • Register to vote
  • Do the Sunday crossword puzzle in the newspaper every week
  • Visit my grandmother in the nursing home – once a month
  • Fewer electronics. Only 20 minutes a day after school
  • Cliff dive when we go on vacation this summer
  • Create a website for my family and put all our family photos up – give it to them for Christmas
support system for children

You Are The Key

Let’s say that your daughter wants to learn how to play the piano. That’s great! Does she have a piano? Does she have an iPad so she can take free lessons on YouTube?

Once she’s done that a bit, does she need to have someone come over and tutor her once a week? That takes money. Are you ready to commit to these things?

Will you support the goals and dreams of your children when it comes down to it? Because there will be aspirations that your children have that cost money.

If money is tight right now, that’s understandable. That’s why it’s important for you to be a part of the planning phase. If you know that now is not the right time to introduce private lessons because it’s been a rough year, you can sway them to one of their many other goals.

I know that it’s not what parents want to hear – that we can’t always provide for our children. But 2020 was a bulldozer of a year for many and it is going to take a very long time to recuperate from it. Don’t feel guilty about not being able to sign up for every single thing your child hopes to do.

That’s why we’ve created three separate lists. So, you two could choose a variety of things – together. If piano lessons aren’t in the cards this year, they might be next year. In the meantime, what else can you handle? Make it work.

Why is goal setting for teens important?

Setting goals is strongly linked to the growth mindset and if you are teaching your teen to plug into this mentality at such an early age, you are truly setting them up for a lifetime of success.

Right now, 92.1% of high school and college students are currently working on a goal. ( That is an incredible stat! We just need to make sure that our children are working on realistic goals and ones that will serve them. Not… I want to be YouTube famous.

Which Goals are Better for Teens: Short-Term or Long-Term?

People often wonder if it’s better to set short term or long term goals and the truth is it doesn’t matter. Short term goals often turn into longer-term goals once they come consistent and habitual.

So, creating short term goals is an important way to accomplish longer-term initiatives. It’s almost as if they are the stepping stones to a new way of living.

Goal Setting For Teens And How To Help Your Child Get Started

If you want to set your child up for a lifetime of success, it’s important for you to understand that goal setting should be a big part of their lives as teens. It’s never too early to start making plans, taking action, and having big dreams.

Belinda Swan

Thursday 17th of December 2020

Thank you! This is informative for me. It's incredibly important that the parent support the child's aspirations otherwise goal-setting is useless. Or rather, the child just needs parental approval to be confident. My kids and I make lists together, I write my goals and they write theirs. And reading what they write I try to really understand how exactly I can motivate my child to achieve these goals. And I'm sure my children will undoubtedly learn to prioritize and achieve their goals when they grow up.

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