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Teen Goal Setting Lessons

by Sheryl Faber, studioD

Goal setting is not just for adults. Teens can also learn and utilize techniques to accomplish their goals and complete projects. The lessons that can be taught to teens are multiple but there are a few basic instructions to start with that will aid them on their quest for success.

Confidence and Belief

The most important lesson to teach teens is that they are capable of accomplishing great things if they believe in themselves and their own strengths and capabilities. Laura Candler, author of "Class Goal Setting," states that "before we can teach them to set high goals for themselves, we have to remove those limitations from their thinking. We have to teach them to believe in themselves, because without that belief, they aren't likely to achieve their goals. In order to achieve, you must first believe." She maintains that using current and popular role models as examples of individuals who have achieved success through goal setting can be very instrumental in motivating teens in challenging and bettering themselves.

Defining Goals

Teens must then be instructed as to what a goal is and the differences between long and short-term goals. Give examples of your own aspirations to give your teen an idea of what a challenging but realistic goal is. For example, you may wish to write and publish a mystery novel. Discuss with your teen the steps you will need to take to accomplish this undertaking and then ask him for specific objectives he may have. Help him decide if they are short or long-term aspirations and assist in prioritizing them.

Write It Down

The next step to help your teen accomplish his goals is to teach him how to write out them out. This simple act will dramatically increase the odds of mastering and attaining them. Not only should they be written but also reviewed daily and revised as needed. They should be brief and easy to understand but also be specific. A time frame is also necessary to ensure that the teen sticks to the plans and accomplishes his goals in a timely manner.

Focus and Visualization

Focusing on the tasks at hand is easy when there is a written, prioritized list to use as a guide. Each goal can then be broken down into easy and attainable steps so it is not so intimidating or overwhelming. If your teen is a more visual person, it may be helpful for him to cut out pictures symbolizing his goals and paste them on posterboard for an easy reference point. For example, if a teen wishes to work weekends and summers to purchase a car, he can cut out a picture of the type of car he desires and illustrations of teens working various jobs. Adding a paper money trail all the way to the bank will also make the process even more motivational.


Teens should also be taught that it is okay to reward themselves when they accomplish one of their goals. The ultimate prize could be as simple as a shopping trip, the purchase of a favorite novel, a manicure or pedicure or a trip to a favorite restaurant. Feeling good about accomplishments and taking the time to pat themselves on the back will aid in tackling the remainder of their challenges.


  • "7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens;" Sean Covey; 2003

About the Author

Sheryl Faber is a graduate of Minnesota State University. She has had articles published in "True Story" magazine, "Club Management Magazine" and on the websites for San Antonio Weddings and Sante' Foodservice. Faber is also a screenwriter and has movies currently under contract.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images