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Setting Goals for Teens: The SMART Strategy

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Do you have any of these in mind?

You imagine your future self sitting pretty on a beach with a bottle of juice in one hand while taking in the fresh beach air

maybe, you want to attend a reputable university and graduate with good grades, or even make new friends or learn a new skill.

If you do, then you need to start now by setting goals for yourself.

Don’t freak out yet,

Setting and accomplishing goals is easy.

You can even do it even though your motivation level is low, or you’re battling procrastination. You just have to do it well.

Learning how to set goals can take you to a higher level. It can make you a better version of yourself and change your life forever.

Sounds good?

Let’s get started

What is Goal Setting?

Before we dive deeper, let’s define Goal setting

According to Mindtools, Goal setting is the powerful process of thinking about your ideal future and motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.

When you set goals, you can reach your highest potential.

As a Teen, Why is it Important?

Setting goals will help you tremendously as a teenager.

Here's how:

  • It'll help you learn how to accomplish big things

  • Increase your motivation levels

  • Make your dreams come to reality

  • Boost your confidence and self-esteem

  • Make you aware of your inner strength

  • Give you a sense of direction and purpose

  • Help you focus on things that matter to you and your future

  • Help you become more focused and determined in life

And much more...

How To Teach Goal Setting To Teenagers?

As a parent or teacher, you want your teen to earn attainable heights in life and become great. Goal setting will help them become that and more!

Here are some things you should put into consideration:

1. Let them focus on their interests

You have BIG dreams for your teen, in this case, you have to allow them to take the wheel and pick their goals.

Allow them to concentrate on their interests.

You should understand that your life and theirs aren’t the same, so let them choose what they want and not what you want.

When they pick their goals, they will have a sense of fulfillment when it’s accomplished.

I’ve seen cases whereby parents force their teens to follow a path. Unfortunately, those teens ended up being unhappy with their parents’ chosen path and never did well.

They found it very difficult to cope with the path set for them.

As a parent, guardian, or teacher, you should allow teenagers to set goals for themselves.

You can guide them to make the best decisions.

2. Help them understand why they need to set goals

“When the purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable” - Myles Munroe

When teens do not know the purpose of achieving a goal, they don't see the use of doing it.

Parents should help their teens understand why they need to set goals for themselves.

This would help them focus on what’s important and work towards achieving them.

When they understand “WHY” they need to do it, nothing will ever stop them. Not even the devil himself.

They’ll pull through when things become difficult or when life throws stones at them.

Their reason for doing it will help them stand strong.

But, if you subconsciously force your goals to become theirs, they won’t be able to withstand the storm when it comes.

Let them write down their reasons for achieving the goal, this helps them to stay committed.

According to a study from Havard Business School, only 3% of MBA graduates earn 10 times better than 97% of them.


They had their goals written down.

Understanding the reason why they are setting goals will help them become better versions of themselves and it’ll also help them attain greater heights.

Doing this will have a great impact on their growth.

3. Encourage an attitude of gratitude

Is it worth it?


When you foster the attitude of gratitude in your teen, It benefits them in ways you can never imagine.

If you do have your teens’ best interests at heart, then you need to inculcate the attitude of gratitude in them. It helps greatly in improving their physical and mental health.

Let gratitude become a habit. It’ll bring up positive vibes that’ll help them make good decisions at all times.

When they become grateful about what they have or where they are going, they’ll become happier, less stressed, less depressed and their anxiety levels will drop down drastically and give them hope for the future.

Gratitude is a very important ingredient in the life of a teenager. Its impact can never be quantified.

4. Break it down into bite-sized tasks

It’s one thing to dream big and another to accomplish their goal. Think of it as though they’re climbing a staircase. They should take It one step at a time.

Help them break down goals into small actionable steps. This will make their goals easy to achieve. Teens should write down each task and make sure there is a deadline for each of them.

5. Celebrate the little wins

Teens should celebrate themselves when they do a task no matter how small it is. It’s not quite necessary to wait till they accomplish the bigger goal before they celebrate.

They should celebrate their small wins.

Each victory will help keep the goal in sight. It’ll also boost their confidence and push them to do more.

Also, they shouldn’t feel bad whenever they make mistakes. Or, fail to achieve their goal, it’s okay to fail sometimes. But they shouldn't remain on the floor.

They should be encouraged to rise up and keep going.

Teens should not allow any circumstance or challenge to hold them back.

It's time to go the SMART route…

Shall we?

The Ultimate SMART Strategy For Teens

Have you ever tried making a list of things to do but end up not doing a thing?

You have great goals to achieve but still, you are at the same spot wishing and dreaming.

Or you are an all-rounder, you do everything but you achieve nothing.

You are just busy here and there, and there’s absolutely nothing to show for it.

This SMART Strategy will help you out.

It is highly effective and produces massive results(when taken seriously!)

Let go deeper,

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART Goals are actionable goals carried out within a specified period.

SMART is an acronym that stands for,

  • S - Specific

  • M - Measurable

  • A - Achievable

  • R - Relevant

  • T - Time-bound

When you set SMART goals, you are sure of getting more out of your days and years. Teens should learn how to set SMART goals for themselves because it will help them in the long run.


Be clear and exact about your goals. Avoid making it generic. Be specific about what you want. Hit it to the point. Make sure it answers the five “W” questions

  • What exactly do I want to achieve?

  • Why is this goal important?

  • Where is it located?

  • What resources do I need to make this happen?


When your goals are measurable, you can track your progress and stay motivated. You’ll be focused and can meet deadlines.

Measurable goals give you an inner joy whenever you are getting closer to accomplishing them


Don’t be too hard on yourself or set a goal that is impossible to accomplish.

Don’t get me wrong. You can challenge yourself but make sure it’s something you can do.

Ensure that it effectively answers the question “How”

Ask yourself “How can I achieve this goal?”


“Is it relevant?” “Does this goal fit into my future aspirations?”

These are questions you answer whilst setting your goals. Make sure it is relevant and you can achieve it.

Setting unrealistic goals will not do you any good, you might even find yourself running around circles.

You wouldn’t want that, would you?

I guess not!


When do you intend to start and finish?

Have a target. Set deadlines. Having a time-bound goal helps to create a sense of urgency. It also makes you stay more focused and motivated to achieve it.

Let’s look at an example of a SMART Goal

Imagine you want to do better in school

Setting SMART goals will help you achieve that, but you don’t just say “I want to do better in school” that’s vague!

Make it specific. Check for the exact subject you would like to be better at, and set a goal.

For example,

I will get an A in Statistics at the end of this academic year(Specific) by studying for 1 hour every day (Measurable).

I’ll get this done by revising my notes daily, studying my statistic textbook, and asking related questions in class (Achievable)

I am looking forward to having a B+ this spring (Relevant).

I will reach my goal by September 24 (Time-bound).

There you have it, the SMART goal strategy!

What are some Good Goals For a Teen?

If you don’t have an idea of some goals you need to set a teenager

Here are some examples,

  • Exercising regularly

  • Doing your homework

  • Studying at least ONE hour daily

  • Learning how to do some house chores

  • Learning a new skill

  • Reading at least two books monthly

  • Getting good grades in school

  • Meeting new people

  • Making new friends

  • Win at least ONE scholarship

  • Get accepted into a university of your choice

And so on...

Start Setting Some Goals Today

Setting and achieving goals is simple.

Start setting your goals today, there’s no time to waste or wait for a friend.

Have a burning desire to achieve your goals and turn your life around.

Stay clear of vague or unrealistic goals.

Be brutal towards achieving your goals. Write them down and stick to them.

Make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant (realistic), and time-bound.

This will improve your well-being, increase your productivity, and make you the kind of person you're proud of.

Note that, you might fail at some point. We don't pray for this.

When you do, pick yourself up again, repeat it till you accomplish it.

You deserve to be at the top!

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