Every parent wants the best for their child and every teen ultimately wants to make his/her parents proud. But with all the distractions we have at our disposal, it’s hard to keep track of everyday tasks and our individual life goals. Parents can also attest to the mistakes or missed opportunities they had when they were young. Like the old saying goes, “you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot” and not let moment pass. So here is some advice on goal setting for teens.
Some Basics on Goal Setting
Be Realistic & Specific
This is an important factor to take into account when goal setting. The more realistic and specific you are on how to accomplish a goal, the more likely you are to being successful. For instance, a bad way to set a goal would be to say “I’m going to do well in school this year.” This statement is not very detailed as to how you are going to start doing well in school and it is not very realistic with given circumstances. If you’re failing your classes you can’t just go from F’s to A’s with one declarative statement. A more viable goal would be “I’m going to improve my GPA by studying more for my Algebra exams and turning in my homework this semester.” This goal is easier to understand and work at, since it specifically states which class needs improvement and it gives the objective of studying and turning homework within a deadline—something you can easily track and manage.
Take Some Time to Reflect
Say you don’t need help with daily tasks or school, but you’re looking for career guidance or how to fulfill your dreams in life. Before you start making plans to achieve that childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, take some time to reflect and truly think about what you want in life. Whether it’s a career, colleges, marriage, kids, making a sports team, etc. Reaching your full potential is what will make you happiest. Ask yourself some of these questions to be honest about what you want to accomplish:
- Is there something I have ever or always wanted to achieve? It can be an activity or a role you can fill, such as dancing, playing baseball or trying writing professionally.
- Are there ways I can improve my status on my achievement? For example if you have always wanted to take up dancing lessons, a good response to this question would be: “I could try to be more sociable and break out of my shell.”
- Are there any physical aspects of my life that I would like to work on? These physical aspects can include losing/ gaining weight, exercising more, building up muscles, and more. Often these physical aspects you would like to work on can lead into introspective thinking about a real life goal.
Commit Yourself to Your Goals
No one said it would be easy, but that’s the best part! The main reason for taking some time to reflect and setting specific objectives for your goals is the fact that you must be 100% committed to accomplishing them. You don’t have to overwork yourself, but start taking small steps towards your life goals that can be measured and directly lead to your objectives.
In the example of taking dance lessons, a great way to commit yourself to your goals would be to research the types of dancing you would like to learn and sign-up for ballet lessons every Tuesday. This small step is a direct pathway to reaching the goal.
Once you’ve committed yourself, there’s no going back now! But that’s OK! You’re one step closer to reaching your full potential. Once you’ve met one of your objectives, plan more ways or set more short-term deadlines towards reaching your final goal. You’ll see that these small actions will then turn into actual accomplishment.
Obstacles Aren’t Failures!
There are going to be bumps in the road, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to quit and give up. Stay motivated! There isn’t a right or wrong way of doing things. So, don’t give up hope. If you come across an obstacle, stay calm and take the time to observe and learn from the experience. Do some research and figure out the next plan of action. Sometimes it take a few tries before you reach a goal and no one is perfect!
BY VIKTOR HANACEK