Questions? Nassau (516) 714-4707 | Suffolk (631) 828-2264 | NYC (646) 939-5210

How to Help Your Teen Set Measurable Goals

Setting goals isn’t just for adults. Teens also have things that they want to accomplish. Although, they may not frame those thoughts in the same way as an adult might.

Still, it creates a perfect time to coach your teen on setting measurable goals. After all, goal-setting is a valuable life skill. Plus, if they learn to master it now, this skill will serve them well as adults.

Here’s how you can help your teen set measurable goals.

Understanding Measurable Goals

First, it’s helpful to take a step back to consider what a measurable goal is. A measurable goal is one you can assess by specific standards.

For instance, your teen is most likely very familiar with rubrics from school. Teachers use them all the time when providing assignments, especially big projects, to their students. What makes rubrics so useful is that they provide standards. These standards explain how the student either gets an A on the project or doesn’t pass.

For example, a teacher might say that, as part of the process to get an A, students must address five key topics in a specific paper. Students who get a B discussed only four items, a C for three items, etc.

How to Create Measurable Goals

Now it’s time to discuss with your teen creating measurable goals. To do this, they need to have an idea of what they want to accomplish. This idea can be somewhat general, too. It should be something that they are motivated to do.

For example, maybe they want to get better playing the guitar. That’s great! But what, exactly, does “better” look like? The word implies that when they play the instrument, they:

  • Have more confidence
  • Can play the instrument with less effort
  • Perform smoothly
  • Create unique chord structures
  • Make few or no mistakes

These make sense, as they demonstrate improvement from their current playing skills. So, when forming a measurable goal, teens need to know their current level of performance and understand what they want the result to be.

Setting Benchmarks for Success

Let’s say that the result, demonstrating success, is that your teen can play a particular song. They can use the criteria above to encapsulate better how to get there. Now though, help your teen break down that big goal into smaller benchmarks for success. These can be two different categories:

  • Skill progression: learning the chords, strumming, notes, etc.
  • Calendar: Having the “X” skill mastered by the “Y” date.

This approach allows your teen to set a progression towards mastery of the song. They set a goal to learn lyrics by a specific date and the chords by another time. Then, put all the pieces together by a third date.

Benchmarks make it possible to reduce a broad goal into more manageable pieces.

Reassessing When Necessary

Of course, when it comes to setting goals, everyone can get a little ambitious. The same will undoubtedly be true of your teen. If they have trouble reaching their benchmarks, don’t consider that a failure by any means.

Instead, it’s a cue to reassess the goals and understand the issue preventing your teen from meeting them. Maybe they underestimated how much time they would need to master a skill. Or, they could use the support of a guitar teacher to explain specific concepts.

Teen Counseling for Setting Goals

It might be that your child could use some professional support in the form of teen counseling. They might get down on themselves when struggling to meet their goal. Or, they need more help with formulating what that goal should be.

A therapist can help them with this process and also so that you can follow through at home.

Setting measurable goals is a vital life skill. Parents can be an excellent resource for helping their teens master goal-setting. But many times, both parents and teens benefit significantly from the help of a therapist.

Please contact our office today if your teen is struggling with their goals. Or, you can visit our page on teen counseling to learn more about how we can help.

More Related Posts

Zoomed in image of a man and a woman holding one another's hands in a supportive and comforting gesture. Understanding self-harm with the support of a DBT therapist can help individuals, couples, teens, and their families!

Understanding Self-Harm

Understanding self-harm behavior can be complex. It can be hard to comprehend why people self-harm, and it can be incredibly upsetting if it’s your loved one. Naturally, we want to

Read More »
Teen Depression from Suffolk DBT J.L., LCSW

Is Your Teen Depressed?

Dealing with Teen Depression with Dialectical Behavior Therapy Are you worried that your teenager is depressed? It is normal for a teenager to be moody and to want to shift

Read More »