Setting goals

Setting goals

Setting goals

The long hard slog of year 11 feels much less, well, long… if you have specific things to motivate you. The best way to do that is to set some goals.

BUT. Don’t just set ’em and forget ’em. Write them up. BIG. Stick them on a wall somewhere you look at a lot. (I have mine as my screensaver…).

Here are 6 key things that allow teens to successfully set goals for themselves:

  1. Write clear and measurable goals.
  2. Create a specific action plan for each goal.
  3. Read your goals daily and visualise yourself accomplishing them.
  4. Reflect on your progress to see if you are on target.
  5. Revise your action plans if needed.
  6. Celebrate your accomplishments.


Shorter term goals are better than longer term ones. While great big dreams are awesome, they can feel a bit overwhelming. Try and keep things to a shorter timeframe so that they can actually get to them…!

Make sure they’re THEIR goals, not yours. It can be tempting to try to ‘guide’ your teen in creating their goals, but if they don’t feel like they have ownership of their goals, they won’t be as motivated to reach them.

Relate them to happiness! That should be the key driver here. Will this make them happier?

Don’t compete with others, compete with yourself. Discourage any goals where they are comparing themselves with others. ‘The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.’ Matty Mullins.

If you missed the podcast episode where John Lamerton talked about the importance of goals and routines, check it out! It’s here, or on iTunes & Spotify.

🎵So tell me what you want, what you really, really want… 🎵

It’s all very well setting goals, but if you don’t really WANT to hit them, odds are you won’t.

I had a goal recently of maintaining the usual diet/exercise combo I attempt when I need to fit into a dress for an ‘occasion’, just for 2 weeks. Trouble was, in the back of my mind, I knew that I could always just wear the medieval torture instrument better known as ‘shapewear’ under my dress, and it’d hold in my stomach for me all evening. 😂

Long story short, I didn’t want the end result enough (or rather, I wanted the glass of wine / piece of cake / ice-cream MORE).

On the other hand, a friend of mine was trying to lose weight in order to undergo IVF – her motivation was strong enough to keep her counting those calories and working out, because she knew the stakes, and she WANTED it.

The key to achieving goals is to really want them. Self-discipline only goes so far.

Take some time to talk to your teen about what it is they really WANT. How does revision help them get there? How do great exam results help? If their WANT isn’t all that future-related, maybe because they don’t know what they want to do after school, then perhaps look at what they really don’t want.

There’s a reason having a picture on your fridge door of someone obese can help you keep to your diet – it’s reminding you of what you don’t want, so you can resist the siren call of that piece of cheesecake that’s whispering your name from inside the fridge…

Perhaps what’ll motivate your child is the thought of that better job that they can get with qualifications, that means they won’t be working at the supermarket / fast-food place etc. Perhaps they just really want to beat their sibling’s grades. Whatever their want, it would be helpful to add it to their goals list from last week – putting it right up there on the wall to see every day.