Being a teenager is tricky. It’s a confusing, awkward, in-between state between the independence of adulthood and the dependence of childhood. The whole confusion of the age can make it difficult for teens to achieve some goals. It’s not that they don’t have goals or don’t want to work to achieve them, they just sometimes struggle with figuring out what needs to be done to achieve their goals. Luckily, there is a simple tool that can help! Here’s How to Use a Goal Ladder to Help Teens Achieve Their Goals, with a printable goal ladder available at the end of the post!
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How to Use a Goal Ladder to Help Teens Achieve Their Goals
I remember goal-setting when I was a teen. Driven by the desire for independence common for the age, my goals were big. But they were backed by the naiveté of childhood, with me thinking that it was totally logical for a few simple steps to create big results. As a result, not many of my first big goals were achieved (or at least, not achieved in the way I thought they would be). I certainly could have used something like a goal ladder!
There are 2 ways a goal ladder can be filled out to help teens achieve their goals- either from top to bottom, or from bottom to top. I think top to bottom uses the most critical thinking skills and is thus the trickiest, while bottom to top is easiest. But depending on the goal you’re trying to create steps for, you may prefer one direction over the other. For example, really big goals or goals where you have no idea how to get started are best planned out from top to bottom. Easier goals where figuring out the first steps is simple can be done from bottom to top.
Figuring Out the Steps From Bottom to Top
Of course, the steps to achieve this can vary. Some teens study the DMV handbook, then take the learner’s permit test, then do a driver’s ed class. And I’m sure there are other possible variations. But you get the general idea- each step builds on the one before it until your teen has finally reached their goal.
This driver’s license goal was pretty easy to figure out, as most people know what needs to be done to get a license. But what if your teen has a bigger goal in mind?
Figuring Out the Steps From Top to Bottom
A goal ladder can help teens achieve their goals even if the goals are huge. For example, what if your teen wants to become a doctor? They (and you) may not know exactly what first step they’d need to take to get on the road to achieving that goal (other than “do well in school”), but you probably know some of the later steps. Step #10 should be to complete a residency program, and Step #9 should be to go to medical school so that your teen can have the medical degree required to get into that program. So then, what’s step #8? Well, how do you get into med school? By completing at least a bachelor’s degree that contained coursework in doctor-relevant areas, like biology and chemistry. So Step #7 should be to finish college with an appropriate major. Following this logic, step #6 should be about getting into that college, so should be about leaving high school with good SAT scores. Step #5 should be about learning enough to get those good scores, so it could be to get a 3.5+ GPA, or to take rigorous classes. So maybe step #4 would be to get into Advanced Placement classes. Step #3 should be to do well enough on tests and assignments in regular classes that your teen can realistically expect to do well in AP classes. Step #2 should be to study enough every night that your teen can do well in those regular classes. And step #1 should simply be to research the medical field more, to ensure this is something your teen really wants to pursue. Some kids are really into the idea of being a doctor because of the money and prestige, but don’t know bout the crazy hours, stress, or all the gross things a doctor has to deal with daily!