Why It’s Important to Set Goals with Your Teens

It’s important to set goals with your teens to help them develop daily habits that will turn dreams to reality. Get FREE printable goal setting worksheets!

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When my two homeschool high school students were given the assignment to write a personal essay in their Essentials in Writing curriculum recently, they both chose (after a little prompting from me) to write about their personal goals.

I had talked to my teens about goal-setting quite a bit…always with the “we really need to do this” urgency. But I hadn’t actually required them to do it. I don’t know about your teens, but mine don’t always take action on things like that just based on a suggestion.

So, having an assignment that it could be integrated into created the perfect opportunity for them to put some time into thinking about their long-term goals.

My son, who is a senior, chose to write out his 2-year, 5-year, and 10-year goals. He has struggled with deciding what to do after high school, and this process really helped him think through what he wants his life to look like in the coming years.

My daughter, who is a freshman, chose to write out three 5-year goals. When you’re in your mid-teens, even a couple years out from high school seems like an eternity away. Five-year goals gave her the clarity she needed to plan out the next few steps she wants to take.

Download your FREE Goal-Setting Starter Pack for Teens here!

So, why is it important to set goals with your teens?

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A Good Life Skill

Setting goals helps people to visualize and verbalize the things they want to achieve. Putting them on paper and implementing a strategy to accomplish them helps you to realize they are attainable.

If you get your kids in the habit of setting goals while they’re in high school, it’s likely that they will continue to use this skill throughout their lives. Whether it’s related to health, education, finances, relationships, careers, or anything else…when you help your teens learn that it’s important to set goals, you are giving them the tools they need to create the life they want to live.

Dreams to Reality

Goal-setting can help your teens to make their dreams a reality by breaking them down into manageable steps.

When my kids are thinking about the big picture of what they want their lives to look like in the future, sometimes they seem to get overwhelmed and doubt whether they can actually make it happen. I think a lot of people experience this.

Much too often, dreams are abandoned because people don’t have a realistic plan in place to reach them. Of course, it’s easy for everyday life to get in the way.

Let’s face it…we’re all busy and just trying to take care of our responsibilities from one day to the next. When you get to be my age, you realize that those days turn into years, and then decades, very quickly!

Teaching our teens to start with long-term goals and then work backward setting shorter-term goals that will help them reach the long-term goals gives them a realistic plan of action. If they start making small steps a part of their daily habits now, all of those little things will mean big things for their future!

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Live Life on Purpose

Remember when we were talking about how easy it is to get so wrapped up in day-to-day living that we don’t have time to work toward our goals? As adults, we know that is a stark reality for many of us. I know I would certainly do things a little differently if I had the opportunity to go back and live the last 20 years over.

I’m not saying that I haven’t reached any of my life goals…I have. But, I do think I could have saved myself some headaches along the way if I had planned things out a little better. Then, there are also those dreams that I let fall by the wayside. You know, those things that you just keep putting off until you have time…

The reality is that you’re never going to have the time unless you make the time (I’m preaching to myself here, too).

That’s why it’s so important to teach our teens to create a goal-setting (and goal-achieving) lifestyle! It’s called intentional living.

When we live every day on purpose, we have more control over what our lives look like, both in the short-term and the long-term. Of course, that doesn’t mean everything is going to work out just the way we want all the time. Life happens, right?

But, if we’re intentional about our choices and our actions, we put ourselves in the driver’s seat to make sure we’re always heading in the direction of our goals and dreams.

Most of us don’t do that naturally. We’re much more likely to just deal with what each day throws at us as it comes. Now, there is something to be said for spontaneity in moderation. But, most of us are not likely to reach any long-term goals if we live our whole life that way.

Teach your teens to live on purpose, and you will be helping them to fulfill their purpose in this world.

How can you help your teens learn to set goals?

Now that we’ve talked about why it’s important to set goals, I’ve got some great goal-setting worksheets that your teens can use to start learning how to set long-term goals and then break them down into shorter-term goals and daily, weekly, or monthly tasks. It even has a really neat vision board to help them get a glimpse of what they want their lives to look like in the future!

It’s called “My Goal Book: A Goal-Setting Starter Pack for Teens”, and you can download it for FREE here!

Help Your Teens Set Goals

I’ll write a separate post soon that will walk you through the process of how to help your teens set goals and turn them into a part of their daily lives. In the meantime, I hope the starter pack will get your teens on the right track toward achieving their goals!

What are some other reasons you think it is important to set goals with your teens?

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I love to share my passion for family, faith, learning, and adventure! I am a worship pastor's wife, a homeschool mom, a former public school teacher and counselor, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology. My heart is to encourage and support families who are homeschooling kids with ADHD, homeschooling high school, and raising teenagers. I'm so excited for you to follow along on this joyous journey!

Comments

  1. Cindy Moore Reply

    I agree goal setting with teens is important! I homeschooled too. I sat down with each child when they were in 8th grade and set goals for high school and beyond. My kids were very career oriented and setting goals early proved so beneficial. And, they all hit those goals.

  2. Tiffany Reply

    This is the PERFECT post for me to read right now! I need to outline some goals – because I long list of wishes!

  3. Maya Reply

    Great article. Downloaded the PDF for my teen, would love to see it written on paper. Thank you, so much!