40 Important Goals For Teenagers To Have

Goals for teenagers

By the time we’re adults, we’re inundated with information about the importance of goal setting. If you’re a goal-setter, you’ve undoubtedly seen how goals can transform your life. So why not impart some of that wisdom on the teens in your life by helping them set goals for teenagers?

Goals for teenagers are just like goals for adults. They are the key to success in the areas of finance, school, the future, relationships, and also personal development.

If you’re raising a teenager, are involved in a teen’s life, or are one yourself, read on for some goals for teens that will help guide them (or you!) into adulthood.

Why are goals for teenagers so important?

When you’re a teenager, adulthood, and responsibilities can feel ages away. But it’s never too early to learn how to set goals and achieve them. Doing so can help teens in so many ways, including:

Builds a goal-setting habit

People who make goal-setting a part of their lives are the most likely to achieve their dreams. One way to develop this habit is to start early.

Teens who learn to keep commitments to themselves through building a goal-setting habit can carry that habit into adulthood and will succeed in whatever they pursue.

Teaches the value of dreaming big and taking action

The first step in goal setting is dreaming and contemplating all that could be. Setting goals at a young age teaches teens the value of dreaming big and also taking action to pursue those dreams.

Once they see what is possible when they set their minds to it, they’ll learn that they can accomplish anything.

Builds confidence and self-esteem

One way to combat low self-esteem and also boost confidence is to set and achieve goals.

In addition, confidence builds and builds the more goals you reach.

Teaches independence

Most teens are at that stage where they long for independence, but they don’t quite have it all figured out yet (not that adults do, either!).

Setting goals is an excellent way for teens to learn how to take ownership of their lives and decisions. They can learn to achieve what they choose to achieve, not what others tell them they have to do. This can be a very empowering thing to learn.

Where to start with setting goals for teenagers

The best place to start with goal setting for teenagers is to brainstorm! In addition, dreaming about what you want is a fun thing to do, no matter your age.

Make a list

Sit down and come up with a list of things you want to accomplish. If you’re stuck, ask someone to share their own goals as inspiration.

Once you have a list of goals, it’s best to narrow it down to a couple of goals to focus on at a time.

A good way to do this is to keep a running list of goals, so you never run out of ideas or forget things you want to do.

For now, keep your focus on just a few at a time. This way, you (or your teen) won’t get overwhelmed with a seemingly never-ending to-do list of goals, which really takes the fun out of it.

Take action to complete your goals

After you have a goal or a couple picked out, learn how to take action on those goals. SMART goals for teens are a great place to start. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Need some ideas for important goals? While nothing beats a brainstorming session, here are some of our favorites:

Goals for teenagers: Your finances

Ten goals for teens that are all about learning how to manage their finances and also set themselves up for future financial success:

1. Get a summer job

Making money is one of the most empowering things a teenager can experience. If you set the goal of getting a summer job, you’ll be one step closer to that independence that so many teenagers crave.

And you’ll learn valuable skills along the way, for example, how to search for a job, how to apply for one, how to craft a resume, and how to interview.

2. Set up a budget

Learning to budget before leaving home is one of the most important life skills. Setting up a budget will help you take control of your finances, and understand what you make, spend, and can afford. This will help prevent you from going into debt in the future.

3. Save for a big purchase

Have your eye on a new laptop for college? Perhaps you want to buy a prom dress that costs more than your parents have budgeted for?

Whatever the item is, set the goal to save for that big purchase ahead of time. If you do this, when the time comes to buy the item, you’ll have saved up enough and will be ready to get it.

One of the key aspects of SMART goals for teens is that the goal is time-bound. By choosing a date you want to purchase the item (e.g., two weeks before prom), you’ll have a clear end date to work toward.

4. Start a side hustle

Side hustles are not just for adults! Some common side hustles for teens include dog walking, babysitting, or blogging, all of which can help earn you extra cash.

Setting the goal of starting a side hustle is a great way to set the stage for continuing that practice later in life.

5. Learn how to use a credit card

Many adults don’t know how to responsibly manage a credit card. One of the reasons? They never learned.

Set the goal as a teen to understand how a credit card works and also how to use one responsibly.

6. Open a savings account

Where should you put all of your hard-earned money? A savings account is the perfect place!

Instead of keeping your cash in a checking account, open up a savings account. You’ll learn how to review your statements, how interest works, and become more responsible with your money along the way.

7. Try a no-spend challenge

Spending too much? One way to curb your spending is through a no-spend challenge.

Set the goal of not spending any money for a certain amount of time (e.g., one month) and see if you can do it!

8. Understand and apply for financial aid

Is college in your future? Then you’ll want to understand how financial aid works.

Setting this goal will help you figure out what student loans might be available to you, how to apply, and also what other resources (like scholarships) you might need to tap into to reach your college goals.

9. Open a retirement account

Retirement might feel ages away (and it is), but that doesn’t mean you can’t start saving for it as a teen. Understanding retirement savings and opening up an account will give you a huge jump start on almost everyone else.

Most adults don’t even think about retirement until many years down the line. Seeing the magic of compound interest at a young age will blow your mind!

10. Start an emergency savings account

Lastly, emergencies can happen to anyone, even teens. Another key financial goal for teenagers is setting up an emergency savings account.

It’s one of the best ways to prepare for an emergency and protect yourself financially.

Goals for teens: Your future

Whether it’s next year or ten years from now, setting goals for the future can be extremely helpful for teens. For instance, here are some great goals for teenagers and their futures:

1. Figure out a post-high school plan

The first step toward figuring out your adult life is deciding what you want to do after graduating from high school. Maybe you want to attend a four-year university or community college or go straight into the workforce.

Whatever it is, set the goal of deciding what you want to do. This will stop you from doing something that someone else wants you to do, not what you want for yourself.

2. Achieve a certain grade point average

Looking for a relatively short-term goal? A common and great SMART goal for teens is achieving a certain GPA.

It could be for the semester, the year, or your entire high school career.

3. Talk to adults about careers you’re interested in

Think you might want to be a marine biologist one day?

A teacher? A pharmacist? A novelist?

Whatever it is, there’s very likely someone out there doing just what you think you’d like to do. Make it a goal to reach out to someone in a career you’re interested in.

This will give you a head-start and put you on the right path to understanding what goals you might want to set for your career in the future.

4. Shadow someone in a job you might like

Want to take it one step further? Why not ask one of those people if you can shadow them for a day on the job?

You’ll learn first-hand what a job entails and also get some insight into whether it is something you’d like to pursue.

5. Create a resume

If there’s one thing you’ll need in the future, it’s a resume. No matter what your post-high school plans are, having a resume ready is a big step to take.

Set the goal of preparing one, so you have it ready for when you need it.

6. Take care of your belongings

A very future-thinking thing to do is to take care of your belongings. Vow to treat your things with respect, and you’ll see how much longer they’ll last and how much money you’ll save since you won’t have to constantly replace things you’ve lost or broken.

7. Figure out what your dream life would cost you

Do you have big dreams? Of course, you do!

Do you know how much those dreams will cost you? Maybe not.

Instead of waiting until you’ve reached some point in the future, figure out how much your ideal life will cost you today. By thinking about this now, you’ll be able to prepare for your future all that much more accurately.

8. Learn to speak up in class

Speaking up in class can be intimidating. But school is also a relatively safe space to build your public speaking skills.

A great goal for teens is for you to become confident enough to speak your mind in class. This skill will serve you so well, no matter what your future holds!

9. Register to vote!

Voting is one of the most powerful ways to have your voice heard. As soon as you turn eighteen (or, in some states, even before that big birthday), register to vote.

This works well if you’re looking for SMART goals for teens since it is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

10. Keep a running list of goals to work toward in the future

While you can’t accomplish all of your goals at once (there simply isn’t enough time in the day!), you can keep a list of them. Keeping a running list of goals will give you a place to look to when deciding what to work on next.

You’ll certainly never run out of ideas if you always jot them down when they come to mind.

Goals for teenagers: Relationships

From your friends to your family to your romantic partnerships, relationships are the key to a fabulous and fulfilling life. That’s why it’s a great idea to set some goals around relationships, for example:

1. Eat dinner with your family once a week

Teenagers have some of the most hectic schedules out there. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the time to eat a meal with your family once in a while.

Why not try eating dinner with your family once a week? You’ll be out of the house soon enough, so take advantage of the time you do have left living with your family.

2. Plan a family trip

Does your mom always plan family vacations? You’re old enough now to have a say in it.

Make it your goal to plan the next trip from start to finish. Research destinations and flights, come up with a budget, find places to stay, and also book activities.

Not only will you take on a big task for the family, but you’ll also learn a ton of new skills along the way.

3. Start a new family hobby

Family time doesn’t have to be dull! Why not try something new together?

There are endless hobbies – from outdoor hobbies like hiking to indoor ones like baking – that you can do as a family.

4. Have a family game night

Another way to spend time as a family? Break out a traditional board game and have a weekly (or monthly) family game night!

This goal will help bring your family together and happens to be a lot of fun.

5. Do a service project with friends

Community service is one of the most impactful ways a teen can give back to their community.

By doing a volunteer project with your friends, you’ll reap so many benefits together, like higher self-esteem, in addition to helping those less fortunate.

6. Spend time with childhood friends

Most people have a friend or two from childhood with who they’ve drifted apart.

If you have someone like this in your life, someone you once shared great times with but who you have lost touch with, try reconnecting.

7. Make a new friend from a different social circle

Having friendships with people who are different from you is one way to open your eyes to other perspectives.

If you tend to stick to the same type of friends, a great goal is to try to make a new one outside of your usual group.

8. Learn what a healthy romantic relationship looks like

Whether you’re in a romantic relationship or not, your teenage years are the perfect time to learn what a healthy relationship looks like.

By understanding what a healthy relationship looks like when you’re ready for one, you’ll be more empowered to stand up for yourself and only accept the best.

9. Find an adult you can open up to

An adult who understands you is one of the most valuable resources you can have as a teenager. While it could be one of your parents, an older sibling, or another family member, it doesn’t have to be.

Find a teacher, a community leader, a boss – someone who you look up to and feel comfortable sharing with.

10. Become a supportive friend

Knowing how to be a supportive friend is a quality that will serve you for your entire life. When you show up for your friends, whether it’s cheering them on at their soccer game or being available for a late-night phone call, you’ll strengthen your bond.

Just remember that support should go both ways – your friend should be there for you when you need them, too.

Goals for teens: Personal development

Personal development isn’t just for someone in the midst of a crisis. Everyone can benefit from looking inward and working on themselves.

For instance, here are ten personal development goals for teenagers:

1. Read a non-school book over summer break

During the school year, teens are inundated with reading and homework. Summer break is usually a welcome time away from all of that work.

But that doesn’t mean putting down all books. Take this opportunity to read something fun just for you. No book reports required!

2. Find a cause you care about and volunteer

Don’t wait until you’re an adult to find a cause you’re passionate about! Teens can also make a huge difference in the world.

Choose an organization or a cause you feel strongly about and spend some time learning about it and also volunteering your time.

3. Start a journaling practice

Journaling is one of the simplest ways to clear your mind. Teens have a lot of emotions, and it can be hard to express them.

So you can use journal prompts to get started or just open up a blank notebook and let your thoughts flow.

4. Start a meditation practice

Another awesome way to focus the mind? Meditation! By taking just a few minutes out of your day to spend focusing on mindfulness, you’ll create a deeper sense of calm.

Starting a daily meditation practice is an excellent goal for teens who are experiencing anxiety or have lots of stress in their lives.

5. Learn how to cook a complete meal

Most teens live at home still, but soon enough, you’ll be out on your own. Which also means you’ll have to find your own food.

Instead of relying on take-out or pre-packaged meals, cooking your own food is healthier and a great way to save money. Bonus points for serving that meal you’ve mastered at your next family dinner!

6. Learn a new skill

Learning a new skill is a classic goal for teenagers and adults alike. The reason?

Learning something new, like an instrument or a card game, engages the mind, builds confidence, and also has many other mental health benefits.

7. Try out for a sports team

Is there something you’ve been wanting to try out for but haven’t yet? It doesn’t matter whether or not you make the team (not even Michael Jordan made his high school basketball team right away!).

Set the goal of just trying out and seeing what happens and what you learn from the experience.

8. Complete a non-school project

It can sometimes feel like everything you do is for school. But not all SMART goals for teens need to be centered around accomplishing something for school or your college resume.

By completing a non-school project, like building a treehouse or getting a yoga certification (really, the possibilities are limitless!), you’ll gain confidence and have fun doing something just for you.

9. Learn how to make and take care of your own appointments

For your whole life, someone else has taken care of making dentist appointments, haircuts, and everything else. Soon, though, you will be responsible for all of those appointments!

With the help of the adults in your life, try to take responsibility for these. For example, call the dentist and make your next appointment, write it down on your calendar, and practice being in charge of your own life.

10. Create a morning or evening routine

Teens are old enough to take ownership of their own mornings and evenings. It can be empowering to start your day how you want to instead of haphazardly or rushed.

Create a morning routine or a bedtime routine to add some structure to your day and also get more of what you want to do done!

Setting goals for teens can lead to a bright future!

There you have it! Forty important goals for teenagers to have.

Whether you decide to set SMART goals for teens or take another approach, setting goals from a young age will surely set teenagers up for success.

Choose a goal from the list above or come up with one of your own and see just how powerful goal setting can be!

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