This time of year, I often coach my teen and young adult clients on the topic of goal setting.
During our conversations, girls often share why they consider goals important. Recently, one teen client said, “When you want to do something or you want something to happen, you can’t just sit there and wait. You have to take action.”
Another college-age client said, “Big goals can feel overwhelming but when you can identify the baby steps or smaller goals the big goals feel more attainable.”
My clients truly understand the power of goal-setting. When they learn how to build upon that understanding and create a structure to make their dreams and goals a reality, magic happens. They feel energized and motivated to take action. In addition, they gain a sense of control and capability. Moreover, they feel empowered!
There are several goal-setting processes I use with my clients, but the following is one of my favorites. Try it for yourself and share it with your teen or college-age daughter.
Connect with your heart. Consider what is really important to you in different areas of your life. Reflect on what you are passionate about; what lights you up in each area. This may include qualities of balance, laughter, connection, love, and happiness.
Close your eyes and visualize your future self. This can be one, two, or even ten years down the road. It’s really up to you how far into the future you want to envision. Consider: Where are you living? What are you doing? What do you love about life? And what accomplishment are you most proud of? Clarify your hopes and dreams for the future.
Once you are connected with a future vision, ask yourself:
What do I really want in my life?
Why do I want it?
What small steps can I take to get it?
What support will I need?
Which of my inner qualities will help me stay in action?
I highly recommend writing out your responses to these questions. Studies show that you are much more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down.
The answers to these questions are the foundation for your plan. You have defined your desired outcome or goal, why it is important, the actions you can take to move toward your goal, the people who can support you, and the personal strengths and values that will help you stay motivated and accountable. You can take it a step further by creating a timeline and setting up an accountability partner. Regular check-ins with yourself and/or your accountability partner also help. Revise your actions and end goal as needed. Always, celebrate your progress.