Goal setting for teenagers is an important life skill. It can be challenging (like helping young people make informed decisions) because adolescent brains aren’t as developed and therefore can’t always reason out every possible consequence to their choices. But when you see teenagers set and achieve goals, it can also be very rewarding.
This week’s youth work session idea is therefore all about how to teach goal setting to teenagers. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Have the youth identify physical goals (e.g. soccer goals, field goal posts, the net in basketball, the bulls-eye in archery, etc). Next, help them identify goals that are more abstract, like getting good grades, graduating from high school or raising money for a trip.
Consider the steps to achieving a goal
These steps can be found in Teaching Social Skills To Youth from the Boys Town Press. Have the teenagers complete each of the activities:
- Decide on your values and desires – figure out what you want
- List the resources you’ll need to fulfill these options – list what you’ll need to in order to make it happen
- Examine the steps to accomplishing your overall outcome – organize the order of the steps you’ll need to take on the journey to your goal
- Create short and long-term goals to accomplish your desired outcome – create mini-goals to help large goals seem more manageable
Create the goal
Get the young people to create their goal in some way. This could be by:
- Drawing the goal
- Making a poster
- Making it out of clay
- Drawing out the timeline of steps they need to take
Anything to make the goal more tangible and to serve as a visual reminder of their goals.
Talk about the obstacles that can stop youth from achieving their goals. Consider making an obstacle course that the group needs to navigate as a part of reaching their goals.
Give the obstacles names like ‘dropping out of school’, ‘listening to the haters’, ‘underage drinking’, ‘getting suspended’, ‘getting an ASBO/Juvenile Record’, etc.
When talking to teenagers about setting goals, consider this quote by Jon Acuff from his book Quitter:
Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
Have the youth discuss what they think this means. Encourage them to set their goals with that in mind: that they’re right where they need to be and that they have something valuable to contribute just because they are themselves!
Question: What activities would you do when looking at goal setting for teenagers? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below
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