Helping Teens To Set And Achieve Worthwhile Goals


Most people start out the new year with the best of intentions — to study more, lose weight, adopt healthy eating habits or a host of other goals. However, within weeks or even days, those plans have fallen by the wayside, put away like Christmas decorations, only to be brought out the following year. Parents often encourage their teens in their pursuit of setting and reaching goals, achieving the next step as they progress through life. Goals are admittedly an important part of a teen’s growth — after all, they need to be able to work toward a certain milestone, even if it’s something as basic as successfully finishing the school year.

While goals are important, the emphasis on moving to the next one might overwhelm teens. Instead, they can learn how to focus on building strong life habits instead of just working toward short-term goals. Goals are temporary, but good habits last a lifetime, instilling strong values into teens. Read on for some habits that will benefit your teen throughout his life.

Understand the Value of Delayed Gratification

Teens often want what they want exactly when they want it. However, part of maturity means deferring those wants so that they can take responsibility for their lives. Unless they are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, they will need to put off spending $300 on clothes so that they have enough money to pay the rent. One example scenario would be a teen struggling to studying for tests. You might promise a reward for following through with studying and doing well on an upcoming exam. But what happens when they don’t hold up their end of the bargain? You follow through with the pre-planned consequence. Your teen will learn a lesson in delayed gratification when they do not receive the reward they were looking forward to.

Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones

Instead of giving up a bad habit, encouraged your teen to substitute a good one for it instead. Worked with them on developing their new habit, set smaller and obtainable goals to reach a larger one. You can help your teen manage their expectations and reach goals, teaching them that achievements are possible when we plan for them.

Establish a Schedule

A schedule provides a guide toward planning and setting up a routine. Sometimes teens will benefit from the visual help that a large wall calendar provides (or some other visual display of the goal).

Focus on the Positive

Everyone feels discouraged at times and might fall into negativity. To avoid this, help your teen switch around the negative statements they find themselves making. Focus on the positive instead. If they regularly complain about their weight for example, gently remind of the steps they’ve made in accomplishing their goals to exercise more frequently if those are the goals you two have been working on.

Work with a Friend or Accountability Partner

Some find goal setting/achieving more obtainable when they are held accountable to a friend or family member. Offer to be this person for your teen and if they don’t seem receptive to this idea, help them brainstorm someone they feel comfortable talking to.


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