3 easy tools for more powerful goal setting when working with young people

It is again the time of year when everyone starts planning the new year. Still on the wave of the festive season, we all make ambitious plans and schemes that are grandly made and…. easily broken.

Unfortuntely, a New Year’s resolution without a plan is just a wish and since we need something more than a wish to succeed, here are my 3 top powerful tools that help me every year to achieve my goals.

a goal without a plan is just a wish - motivational handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee

It is estimated that only 8% of the UK population stick to their New Year’s resolutions and 92% of New Years goals fail by 15th January! Young people are not an exception in these discouraging statistics. This is a pity because goal setting has a tremendous effect on young people’s lives, from increasing their self-esteem to encouraging them to think about their future and prepare for it. For those struggling with challenges in their home or school, it also gives them a sense of control and focus. Finally, goal setting is one of the top skills desired by employers and has been identified as a core skill for successful entrepreneurs.

How can we help ourselves and young people to change their New Year’s resolutions into effective goals?

3 Top Powerful Tools

1. Writing goals down:

This is a very easy yet very effective tool simply because if we don’t write something down, we forget it. Additionally, describing a goal forces us to be more specific and really get into the details of what we want to achieve. During our summer NCS adventure, we delivered a goal setting session to over 800 young people and only 5% confirmed that they actually write their goals down.

TIP FOR WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE: Writing down goals does not have to be a boring activity. Sean Covey – the author of “7 habits of highly effective teenagers”- suggests the completion of a “Great Discovery Activity” and then composing a personal mission statement.

2. Discovering the reason behind “why”:

It is natural that we get discouraged and demotivated during the journey of reaching our goals. To stay on track it is important to remember WHY do we want to achieve particular aims. In other words, when we will achieve a particular goal what benefits are we going to reap? Remembering this when feeling down or thinking of quitting can help us to boost our motivation.

TIP FOR WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE:To motivate your young jobseekers to stay on track of looking for work, ask them to create a list of the benefits of having a job. This why rather than just setting a goal of getting a job that might be very abstract for some-  especially if they have never worked before; young jobseekers can relate directly to the positive outcomes being in employment will have on their life.

3. Reviewing goals on a regular basis:

If you view goal setting as a one-off activity, you might be disappointed down the line. Life gets busy, our priorities change, unexpected events occur and the only way to succeed at achieving our goals is to review them on a regular basis and so track our progress. To do so, schedule in your calendar monthly reviews during which you can evaluate whether the goal is still valid for you and your circumstances, remind yourself why you wanted to achieve it in the first place, and schedule actions necessary to its achievement.

TIP FOR WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE:It might be abstract for young people to review their goals and to help them with that, try using a simple scale from 1 till 5 in relation to such questions as: How relevant this goal is to your circumstances? How much you are motivated to achieve it? How beneficial is achieving the goal to your life?

Have a great January full of sessions of setting goals for yourself and your young people.