More tips for tip #22 for Teens

More tips for tip # 22 – Set Goals

There are some great books out there challenging teens and adults to do things before they die, graduate from high school, middle school, get married, etc.  They will certainly provide you with some great ideas.  My favourite for teens is: 97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School.  It is important for your teens to get perspective on what is the difference between a short term and a long term goal.  I am definitely an ‘instant gratification’ type of person so long term goals are much harder for me to stick with and this is not uncommon for teens too (there must be more adults out there like me too).  It is important that you get them to create a good balance along the way so that they don’t become discouraged or give up completely.

Make sure that the goals you have are SMART ones:

  • S = Specific – it is clear and they understand what they are trying to achieve
  • M = Measurable – you can tell when it has been achieved and how you will be able to see results
  • A = Attainable – it is something that they can do (they may have to work harder for it)
  • R = Realistic – the goal is possible (it isn’t something like marry Justin Bieber)
  • T = Timely – there is a time frame for them to follow with check ins along the way

If your teen wants to get better grades at school her/his SMART goal plan might look like this:

S – Get better grades in History and English

M – Complete tests, projects, in-class work and even hand it in!

A – Take notes, pay attention in class, asks questions if I don’t get it (yes, ask questions!)

R – Want to bring my C to a B

T – By June

Short Term Goals:

* Pass all of my classes

* Run 2km

* Get part time job

* Eat less junk food

* Be nicer to my family

* Text less

* Watch less TV

* Do things I say I am going to

* Stop lying to my parents

Long Term Goals:

* Graduate High School with good grades

* Run half marathon

* Get good paying job

* Develop closer relationship with a brother/sister

* Spend more time doing things that will help me to be happier

* Read every top 100 best seller book

* Be known for following through on commitments

* Have a reputation for being a truthful and trustworthy person

This may sound like a time consuming exercise or you might be saying ‘does she really think that my teen is going to sit and do a SMART goal’?  I do.   I realize that it might take some time and convincing but it will give them direction, if only temporarily.  Their goals will change and they should.  Do one with them.  They don’t have to be the same but lead by example!

In my classroom, we did these once a month and kept them  journals.  At the end of the year we would look back on them and have a giggle or reflect on our successes and re-direct ourselves.  There was resistance at first (there always is with teens when it is something new) but then it just became a part of our routine.  Some students would share theirs and some students preferred to ‘go it alone’.  What I always found interesting is how many of my students had never taken the time to sit and think about what it is they truly wanted for themselves.  Once your teen(s) discovers what they want for themselves the world will begin to open up for them in ways they never believed possible.  Not to mention that when they are more directed, they are happier which means everyone in your household is just a little bit happier too!

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One Response

  1. Making a list of long term and short term goals is great to start when in high school or early years of university/college. A list of goals is not only good for motivation, but also a great time capsule. I still have my goal list from April 2009 and can finally check off “Befriend a Canadian in Canada”.

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