SET GOALS & STAY FOCUSED

Learning how to set goals is an important skill for teens because it can provide the fuel and inspiration you need to reach your greatest potential. Setting goals also help to build self-esteem, tenacity, and resilience, all of which are valuable for navigating life’s challenges.

Goals don’t have to be life-altering. They can be as simple as saving up enough money for a weekend road trip with friends or getting an “A” in History class. Challenge yourself and you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish!

These practical tips on goal setting can help you get started:

Start with a bucket list: Working toward a goal can be a lot of fun when you’re excited about the goal itself. It will also increase your chances of achieving it! Begin by creating a list of “big picture” activities or experiences that you want to accomplish, such as backpacking through Europe, getting married in your 20s or learning how to scuba dive. This will help to spark the motivation and fuel needed to stay the course.

Specific, realistic goals work best: It can be challenging to stick with your goal if it’s too vague or unmeasurable. For example, “I’ll start going to the gym next Monday to work out for 30 minutes, and I will do that three days per week” is much more specific than “I’m going to start exercising again.” Get specific with your goals!

Use visual aids: So many tools exist today that allows us to express ourselves. Many people create dream boards and set goals on Pinterest and other social media sites. Through these sites, you can express your goals through pictures, video, music, and imagery. You can hang these visual aids on the wall as a regular reminder of where you want to be spending your time and focus.

Roadblocks don’t mean failure: Road blocks and challenges are a part of the learning process as you retrain your brain in a new way of thinking. It may take a few tries to reach a goal, but that’s OK. It’s normal to mess up or give up a few times when trying to make a change. Remember: everyone slips up, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Just get back on track.