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Long-Term Goals for Teens and High School Students

Long-term goal setting can be super fun! Here’s how to do it.


Ever wondered what’s beyond high school? You’re not alone.

It’s time to step up, take charge, and shape your future. We’ll guide you on how to set potent long-term goals as a teenager. Trust us, it’s not as daunting as you may think!

Stick around; this could be the game-changer you’ve been waiting for.

Importance of Setting Long-Term Goals

You’ve probably heard it a thousand times, but setting long-term goals as a teenager isn’t just important; it’s crucial for your future success.

Picture this: you’re on a journey with no destination in mind. You’ll likely wander aimlessly and never reach anywhere significant. Now, imagine if you had a roadmap with clear directions to where you want to go. That’s what long-term goals provide – they act as your personal guide.

Having these goals doesn’t mean knowing every single step of the way. Life is unpredictable, after all. It’s about having an end goal in sight and making conscious decisions that align with reaching that goal.

Let’s say you aspire to be a doctor someday. That dream won’t magically happen overnight; it requires years of schooling, training, and dedication – steps that are easier to navigate when you’ve planned ahead.

Long-term goals aren’t concrete plans set in stone; they’re flexible guides that can adapt as you mature and evolve. They give purpose to your high school years beyond just passing exams or getting good grades—they map out your life path into adulthood.

How to Set Long-Term Goals as a Teenager

Starting as a young person, it’s important to think about what you want for your future and begin mapping out steps to get there. It could be daunting, but don’t worry! You’ve got this, and here’s how you can do it:

  1. Identify Your Interests. Start by exploring your likes and dislikes. Don’t rush into something because everyone else is doing it.
  2. Think Long-Term. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Make sure the goals align with your interests and ambitions.
  3. Break Down Goals. Break down your long-term goals into manageable short-term ones. Celebrate small victories along the way.

Setting long-term goals isn’t just about the end result, but also enjoying the journey and learning from each step you take towards reaching them. Remember, it’s okay if your goals change over time. What’s important is that you’re actively thinking about what you want for your future.

Examples of Good Long-Term Goals

Let’s look at some ideal aspirations a young person might aim for in the future. You’re still in high school, but it’s never too early to start planning for what comes next. Having long-term goals can provide you with direction and motivation.

Firstly, consider educational milestones. Perhaps you aspire to finish high school with a certain GPA or earn a scholarship for college. These are substantial targets that require consistent effort over time.

Next, think about career-related objectives. Maybe you dream of becoming a doctor, an engineer, or a game developer. To achieve this, you need to map out the necessary steps, such as internships and advanced studies.

Lastly, personal development should be on your radar, too. It could involve mastering a new language or learning how to play an instrument — essentially, skills that’ll enrich your life beyond academics and work.

Remember, though, these are just examples; your goals should reflect who you are and where you want to be in the future. Don’t rush – take your time exploring different paths until you find something that truly resonates with you.

Examples of Bad Long-Term Goals

On the flip side, it’s crucial to understand what constitutes unhelpful or unrealistic aspirations as a young person. It’s easy to get carried away with grandeur dreams that may not necessarily align with reality or your personal strengths and capabilities.

Here are some examples of bad long-term goals:

  • Focusing solely on financial success: Building wealth is important, but it shouldn’t be the only measure of success. You’re likely setting yourself up for disappointment if you’re solely driven by money.
  • Pursuing fame for fame’s sake: If your goal is simply to become famous without any particular skill or value-add, you’ll find that the journey can be quite frustrating and unrewarding.
  • Ignoring personal growth and development: Aiming for external accomplishments without focusing on self-improvement can lead to a lack of fulfillment and happiness in the long run.

How Your Parents Can Help You Set Long-Term Goals

Your folks can play a pivotal role in helping you shape your aspirations and ambitions. They’ve been there and done that, and their experiences can provide a lot of insight into the real world. They might not always agree with your goals, but they’re usually looking out for your best interests.

Don’t be shy to share your long-term goals with them. You’ll benefit from their wisdom and perspective – they could even suggest different paths or strategies you hadn’t considered. If you want to become a doctor, for instance, they might know about internship opportunities or mentorships that could help you get there.

Moreover, it’s incredibly useful to have someone hold you accountable for your actions towards achieving these goals. Who better than your parents? They’re naturally invested in seeing you succeed and won’t let setbacks deter you easily.

Remember though, at the end of the day, these are YOUR goals. Your parents can guide and support you, but it’s on you to make them happen. Use their advice as an aid rather than letting them dictate what path you should follow. After all, it’s your journey!

Now Go Set Some Goals!

So there you have it! Setting long-term goals as a teen isn’t just important; it’s critical.

Remember, 90% of high school students who set clear goals are more likely to attend college.

So dream big, make plans, and don’t shy away from seeking help from your folks.

Bad goals may sneak in, but with careful planning and determination, your future is bright!

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About the Author

David McCurrach

David McCurrach is the founder of Kids' Money. Following a career working in finance for several banks and credit unions, David started Kids' Money in 1995 and has since published three books on kids' financial literacy and allowance programs.

Last updated on: August 28, 2023