Setting goals is a great way to improve your teen’s confidence and resilience.
If you’re wondering how you can effectively encourage your teen to create goals and make sure they reach them. I’m here to provide you with simple step by step guide to not only create the perfect goals but also succeed at achieving them.
There’s a formula to goal setting. And it’s easy to find. Any web search will get you this formula. But I often find them often way too technical and business orientated. So, I decided to come up with the right way to present it for teenagers and their parents. I will be using clear and simple examples provided by real teenagers I was lucky to chat with to prepare this article.
Have you ever heard of the S.M.A.R.T. goal formula? This is the one I will be describing here. But tailored for the real needs of a teenager.
S is for Specific
To be able to reach a goal, they have to be clear about what they want to achieve. How else are they going to know their goal has been reached? Therefor they need to make sure their goal is clearly set and has a real meaning. Have you ever seen one of these movies where there’s a genie out of a bottle? The main character is usually very excited at first. Until he realises his wishes have to be totally specific, otherwise very random unwanted things are granted to them instead of what they really wished for. Here it’s the same, their goal is your wish. So let’s be specific about what this goal is.
M is for Measurable
To be sure they know you have reached your goal, how are they going to measure it. When their goal is to improve your marks in math. It’s easy enough to measure. They can set a specific mark they want to achieve. Let’s say B. Once they get their test copy back, looking at it they will know straight away if they achieved your goal. The mark will be clearly stated on the top of the copy giving very little room for interpretation. This is what measurable means, being able to see without doubts that the goal has been reached.
A is for Achievable
The goal has to be at your reach. There’s a simple rule to know if a goal is set at the correct level. If you reach it too quickly, you need to create a stronger goal. If you never manage to reach it, you need to re-evaluate the difficulty of your goal. Setting a goal that is too difficult for them will have the wrong effect. It will make them lose confidence and motivation which is the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here. Think about this, would a person who never ran be able to run a marathon on an impulse? This is the same for your teen. Whatever goal you set together, make sure it’s something you know they can achieve if they put on the right work.
R is for Relevant
It has to bring something positive in their life. So, ask yourself the following questions: Why do they want to reach this goal? What is it going to bring to them? What value will it add to their life? If they want to learn a new skateboard trick, it has many benefits. They will be happy because they will have achieved something that took a lot of work and dedication. Practising a physical activity on a regular basis will improve their health and wellbeing. It will increase their confidence by showing they can do anything when they put their heart to it.
T is for Time-Bound
What is the best way to fight procrastination? A deadline! So, ask yourself this question this time: when do you want to be done? There are two ways to calculate a deadline. First, you determine the amount of time it should take you to reach a goal and set the deadline accordingly. Otherwise, you set the date when you wish for it to be completed and then set a start date. Just pick the one that speaks to you. The important part is to do it. Set a date, make a schedule and they stick to it!
So, this was the part about creating a goal. Now, let me give you a few additional tips to help reaching these goals.
Make the goal as Appealing and Fun as possible
They have to look forward to work on it. Find out how you can make the goal into something more appealing. This will help greatly into getting them on board. For example, you’d like for your teen to stop eating junk food. How can you make it fun? Well, instead of focusing on what they can’t eat anymore, learn about the new food that can be exciting to try. Go together to a farmer’s market and pick up fresh food there. It will make them all the way more appealing to try.
Find out how Committed they are
What are they willing to do in order to get things done? You need to answer these questions in order to set the right expectations with them. It is key for you to know how much they will invest in term of time, energy and maybe money. So before jumping, evaluate what will they actually be able to give in order to get there?
Let’s Talk about Accountability
They need to be held accountable to someone in order to stick to their plan. When you go window shopping with a friend and you say before entering a shop: “I’m not buying anything”. You can be sure your friend will remind you not to buy anything when you start picking up items. Having someone you’re accountable to is the extra security you need to make sure you stick to your plan. It’s the safety net you have in case of slip up. They can try and find an accountable buddy such as a friend or with you. But the aim here for them to learn to be accountable to themselves.
I hope this article helped you gain clarity about goal setting and more importantly gave you valuable pointers on how to guide your teen to reach these goals.