Helping teens set positive goals for the new year

Every year offers a fresh start and the opportunity to look forward to bigger and better things. This is especially true for kids and teens who may be lacking direction or motivation. Setting New Year’s goals could be a great method of redirecting their energy and allowing them to achieve more than what they thought possible. However, the idea of setting goals may not be at the top of your child’s priority list when January rolls around. So the question is, how can you support your teen in setting effective goals?

Read on for some of our top tips to help teens set positive goals for the new year.

Lead by example

Begin by discussing some of your New Year’s goals with your teen. Explain to them what you expect to achieve and how you intend to do it. They need to know that goals aren’t something to dismiss and that adults also have aspirations on a regular basis.

If your goal is to live a healthy life, explain to your child how you intend to do so and what that entails. Perhaps you’d like to exercise consistently, so you set a goal of exercising for 30 minutes five days a week. You now have a set of actions to follow to help you achieve your aim.

Share family goals

Grab your family and establish a set of family goals to help your teens better understand the process. These goals can put more emphasis on bonding or active engagement. The primary purpose is to help your teen visualise what they want to accomplish and then write it down. After you’ve set objectives as a family, give your children the freedom to choose their own individual goals.

Help your teen set financial goals

It’s never too early to start teaching children about financial goals. Perhaps your teenager has a large purchase in mind, such as buying their first car. Maybe they want cash to spend with their friends when they go out. Support your teen by helping them set a goal for making money and come up with ways they can save or earn it, such as getting a part-time job or taking on more chores at home.

Break goals into smaller, achievable steps

Your teen is going to write down some huge, bold objectives, which is fantastic and should be supported! However, in order to achieve them, your teen will need to learn to break down large goals into smaller, more manageable tasks.

Assume your child decides he or she wants to spend the summer in Europe when they finish school. That’s a big task to take on without any guidance or support. Help them recognise the minor steps they’ll need to take to attain that key goal, such as studying, sorting travel arrangements, budgeting, earning money through a part-time job and applying for a visa or passport.

Lay down some expectations

If you’ve been goal-setting for a while, you’ll know that not every objective is achieved every time.

Teenagers who are inexperienced with goal-setting may feel as though they are underperforming if they do not meet the objectives they set for themselves. Set expectations by emphasising that the purpose of goal setting is to create a destination to strive for. The actual compensation is in the work they put in to achieve the goal, and the progress they make, not in the achievement of the goal itself.

And one final tip… make sure your teen is in the right state of mind when you’re discussing setting goals with them. A teenager who is in a bad mindframe is unlikely to be cooperative and may not be willing to take your guidance on board. 


As part of the Junior Leader Program, our mentors can support your child to find the courage needed to achieve their goals, no matter how big. Learn more about our military-style boot camp for kids and teens, and how our veterans can help to instill positive skills and values in your child. 

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