Adolescent Goal Setting

Adolescent goal setting tips to help you guide your young adolescent to set and achieve big goals in life.

When it comes to goal setting with younger children, how do you explain it to them in the simplest way?

Scoring an "A" in class or being more responsible with their pocket money are simple academic and financial goals.

They might dream big goals like being a scientist or building space stations.

Equip adolescents with essential skills for setting goals, eventually these skills will inevitably help them achieve massive success in life.

Your role as a teacher's or parent's role is more of a mentor and instructor.

You have to keep it simple.

Here are some tips for adolescent goal setting:

1. State the goal and the plan in simple terms

With an adolescent, you often must lead by example.

The SMART attributes of specificity, measurability, attainability, relevancy, and timeliness are not likely to catch on so easily.

So here're things you can do:

  • Explain a goal clearly
  • Show what they need to do
  • Show that the seemingly impossible is indeed possible
  • Explain why the activity is important
  • Explain why it's important to them to carry it out

If possible, give an example of a goal that you are working on. You truly need to lead by example. It's the best way to show them how to reach their goals.

2. Keep the plan simple

Keep the plan for achieving the goal very simple.

An adolescent is NOT going to refer to a document specifying the tasks that need to be done, much less carry the plan around in his or her head!

Instead, use pictures or charts.

Paste these pictures on the refrigerator door or in their bedroom, which indirectly illustrates the tasks that they need to do.

3. Adolescent goal setting: ensure the child understands its importance

Don't make up goals that carry little meaning, or give no benefit once attained.

Help the adolescent understand the true value of setting a goal and striving towards it.

Impress upon the youngster the importance of having meaningful goals in their life.

At this stage, they are probably dreaming crazy and creative goals, don't stop them. Teach them how to dream big and create realistic plan towards a meaningful goal.

4. Make it fun

Let them experience some fun during the goal setting process.

Look for tasks that they enjoy doing. Then give them the responsibility to complete that particular task. This is a great way to start. The point is to show them how to stay committed to a small goal, while still having fun with it.

For example, if the adolescent enjoys using the computer, use the computer to illustrate the goal setting process with interesting pictures and videos.

The more fun you attach to the goal setting process, the more enjoyable their efforts may be.

However, working towards goals is not always fun and games. Give them a little encouragement when they hit any obstacles.

5. Make the adolescent feel important

Adolescents will often take responsibility to accomplishing a goal if it makes them feel important.

Research in the field of management has found that making the people feel important can be a powerful tool in getting them to do something. The strategy works well for adolescents as well.

Upon achieving a goal, the adolescent should feel he or she has really accomplished something worthwhile, and not just done something Mom or Dad told them to do.

They'll gain greater appreciation for goal setting and what having goals can mean to their lives.

6. Celebrate Successes

Hold a child accountable when working towards specific goals, like learning good study habits.

Don't reward them every time they do something right, you're not training a horse!

However, when they perform well consistently, a reward is well earned. Teach the value of accomplishment. Don't reward the child for doing what they were told to do, that's bribery. Instead, reward them for an accomplishment. For instance, reward them if they've learned good study habits throughout the semester.

The best of all worlds is when reaching the goal has its own rewards.