Providing your teen with a list of 100 goals for a teenager can help them clarify what goals they want to go after. They’ll learn so much from setting a goal!
You’ve likely heard how important goal setting is for teens. The lessons they’ll learn about themselves, about life, and about money are priceless.
But are you having trouble getting your teenager to nail down a goal to go after?
This list of 100 goals for a teenager is a great place to start.
Share these specific ideas with your child, then help them to choose the best goal for them to go after currently using help from the goal decision guide below.
Psst: here are 11 free teen goal setting worksheets (PDFs) to help your teen develop a goal they pick from below.
But first, what makes a good goal for a teenager to choose?
Good Goals for Teenagers – How to Choose
What are good goals for a teenager?
Well, that depends on a few things.
Let me help you work through this, so that you can help your teenager choose the best goal for them.
Good goals for teenagers are ones that:
- They’re really, really interested in (think: internally vs. externally motivated)
- Stretch their delayed gratification muscles (but not too far)
- Have a short-term or medium-term end in sight
- Preps them in some way towards their next stage in life
- Builds confidence in themselves (here’s how to build confidence in kids using money and chores, by the way)
And if you have to choose just ONE of these traits from above to pick out a good goal for a teen?
Please, please, oh PLEASE pick the first one.
Having your teen choose a goal that is lackluster in their mind? Means they’re about a gazillion times less likely to put in the effort to reach it.
And if they don’t put in any effort? Then there’s no learning. Not only that, but they could be DE-motivated to set another goal.
Instead, help them prioritize a goal they’re SUPER excited about – and then help them sustain that passion and excitement as they go on through the roller-coaster emotions of attempting to reach a goal.
Alright – let’s move onto that list of 100 goals for a teenager to choose from!
100 Goals for a Teenager
I’m going to break this list of 100 goals for teens down into three different sections:
- Teen Academic and Education Goals
- Teen Life Goals
- Teen Money Goals
Root around, and see if you can find something that catches you + your teen’s eye!
Psst: you'll definitely want to check out these 29 personal goal examples for students.
Teen Academic and Education Goals
Here, you’ll fix a mixture of short-term goals, medium-term goals, and long-term goals for students to work on.
List of goals for students:
- Log 10 hours as a Citizen Scientist: There are many projects that allow people to be “Citizen Scientists”, meaning, collect data and submit it from their daily lives. Such as Citizen Science Soil Collection program, or the Bumble Bee Watch Citizen Science Project, or becoming a Certified Nest Watcher.
- Complete a driver’s ed course: I did one when I was a teenager. Not only did it teach me how to drive, but it also lowered my car insurance payments for years to come!
- Set up and consistently use a Study Block System: A block system is a way to organize your time – like when you’re in school and you are scheduled to be in certain classes at certain times. The reason why it’s great to create a study block system is because otherwise, the afterschool hours might get away from you. Check out this free resource for a time block schedule, and think about how to block off time each evening and weekend to get your studies done.
- Read one non-assigned book a month: when you are out of school one day, the biggest way you can continue to educate yourself is by reading books. In fact, I read close to 100 books every single year. Help your teen get in the habit now by picking out one book that isn’t assigned them by a teacher or parent, and reading it each month.
- Complete the Congressional Award Program: By completing either the Bronze, Silver, or Gold level for the Congressional Award program, they’ll be adding an impressive achievement to their resume. They can start this at 13.5 years old, and they have until you are 24 to complete it.
- Graduate high school: What a worthy goal. Focus on graduating high school.
- Get a leadership position in a school club organization: When I was in high school, I became the president of our Leo club. Wow did I learn a lot about organizing, herding people, and helping our community! Not to mention, the logistics behind keeping an organization and club going. Spoiler alert: it’s not all glamorous.
- Get an internship in a field you’re interested in: Internships – whether paid or not – in a field they’re even a little interested in are golden. Go for one!
- Deep-dive into a body of work: Encourage them to find an author, an artist, or someone whose work they like, and do a deep dive into their entire body of work. How did their career and creations evolve? What was their motivation behind writing/creating each piece? What life events influenced their work?
- Read for 5 more minutes each week: Start with reading a certain number of minutes each week, and then add 5 more minutes each week to that amount of time.
- Get elected to an office position outside of school: Look beyond school and into community organizations to get involved at the officer level. You never know what roads this might lead you down.
- Find a way to give back to your school: Ask your teen how they can leave something to their school before graduating and potentially move away? Can they donate some items to future students? Can they win something for the school?
- Graduate in the top 10 of your class: This was my personal goal for college, after getting so close to this in high school (13th). I ended up graduating 3rd in my college class.
- Meet college application deadlines: Figure out which colleges they want to apply to, then mark their application deadlines on a calendar. Make a goal to not miss these deadlines.
- Complete a reading rewards program: There are lots of businesses out there that reward kids and teens for reading a certain amount of hours, or a certain number of books each week/month/summer vacation. Sign up for one, and challenge them to complete it.
- Achieve a 100% attendance rate: When I went to school, there was an attendance award for anyone getting 100% attendance in a semester. Can your teen go after this (whether their school rewards this, or not)?
- Take an elective course you’re excited about: I really wanted to take pottery in high school as an elective, but never took the time to do so. In fact, I still haven’t taken a class on it! Encourage them to take the time to satisfy their curiosity by fitting in an elective course.
- Talk to one person outside of their social group each week: We tend to bubble around the same people, especially in the teen years. SO, help your teen make a goal to talk to someone outside of their normal group every week. You never know what they'll learn doing this!
- Ask one question in each of their classes each week: I am a question-asker. It has served me immensely well throughout life – in my personal life, in my career, and basically with everything. Your teen can start this habit by committing to asking one question a week in each of their classes. They'll learn so much more!
- Stay after school for extra help once a week: Make it a goal to consistently stay after school to get extra help and attention from a teacher. You never know how much more they'll learn about a subject, or how much better they can get your grades. Plus, they’ll get to know their teachers in a more personal way, which can help big time with referrals and college applications in the future.
- Talk to their guidance counselor about careers: Challenge your teen to make an appointment to talk to their guidance counselor about careers, vocations, what interests them, etc. I did this both in high school and in college, and it was unusually helpful (so much so, that I wish everyone would do this!). In fact, one of these appointments landed me a paid internship at an environmental company, which at the time, I was majoring in environmental studies!
- Shadow someone at work: Shadowing someone at their job will help with figuring out what post-high school can look like, and to experience a bit of a job they’re interested in. And if they can’t find someone outside of school (or even transportation to get somewhere off campus)? Then they can ask people who work at their school district if for a shadowing experience. An administrator. A guidance counselor. An elementary school teacher. A speech therapist. A board member. Etc.
Psst: Got teens? you’ll definitely want to check out my article on 26 cheap things to do with teenage friends when bored.
Teen Money Goals
You’re on a site all about teaching kids and teens how to manage money, so you better bet I’m going to include an entire section on cool teen money goals.
Don’t gloss over – teaching your teenager how to manage their money by using a goal they’re DYING to be/do/have is one of the BEST ways to do it!
- Save money from one payday cycle to the next: Challenge your teen to save money from one payday cycle to the next, whether their payday is an actual paycheck, or an allowance, or from chore commissions. This means, don’t spend all your money at once!
- Do your first teen money challenge: Have them complete a teen money challenge.
- Set up your first budget: Use one of these free teen budget worksheet printables to help your teen work through their first-ever budget!
- Save up for a prom gown: This was my personal savings goal in high school! And I did it – I think it was $83 I saved up, which not only let me buy this gorgeous, magenta-colored gown, but white gloves to go with it!
- Get their first job: Here’s a teen’s first job guide to help. Mamas – you’ll want to read through these 7 conversations to have with your teen after they get their first paycheck.
- Buy siblings/parents Christmas presents: What a cool goal, that will make lots of people happy come holiday time.
- Get off their parent’s cell phone plan and pay for it on their own: In just a few years, your teen will likely be paying for their own cell phone plan. They could make a goal to at least earn enough money each month to cover their own plan now (in prep). Stash the cash in savings if they’re not expected to pay for it yet.
- Buy a used car: My first used car cost me $1300, and lasted about a year (the head gasket blew and that would’ve cost over the cost of the car…so it didn’t make sense to do the repair). For an entire year, I had reliable transportation (until the gasket blew!), without a car payment. AND, my insurance cost was lower each month because it was an older, used car instead of a newer model. Make a goal to save up for their first used car.
- Save up for first month’s rent/last month’s rent/security deposit for first apartment: One day soon, they’ll be heading off on their own. That likely will mean their first apartment – whether it’s right out from their parent’s home, or after graduating college. They’ll need to have a total sum of several thousand dollars saved up to covered the first month’s rent, the last month’s rent, and a rental deposit (this is a typical requirement to getting your own apartment).
- Buy horse lessons: Did your teen ever beg you for horse lessons, but you're not willing to splurge on them? Suggest to your teen they can save up for a batch of lessons on your own.
- Save up for an iPhone: Here’s an entire article I dedicated on how to save up for an iPhone as a kid.
- Save their first $100: Saving your first $100 is pretty magical. It’s a ton of money, and it gets you motivated to save even larger amounts in the future. That's what you want for your teen!
- Start a teen business: Lots of businesses flops. But the learning you get from actually trying to start one (or even just creating a business plan for one)? Is absolutely priceless. Here are 16 kid business ideas to check out.
- Save up for a laptop: I saved up over $800 to buy my first computer, a desktop, that I took to college with me. Saving up money for their first laptop can really help in their next stage of life (whether that’s in college, a trade school, or landing your first job).
- Apply to 1 new scholarship a week: If they want to go to college or a trade school after high school, then this is the goal for them. You’d be surprised how much money your teen could rack up just by being consistent in applying for opportunities.
- Go to senior week after graduation: My senior week goal was to spend a week at the beach with my friends. And…it worked! After graduating, me and a bunch of my friends rented a home at a Delaware beach (I was 18 at the time). Where would your teen like to go for senior week, and how much will that cost to do? Encourage them to start researching it now, and then set money aside to make it happen.
- Go on a trip over spring break with friends: How about looking for travel opportunities with friends over a spring break? With your permission, your teen can research a bunch of things like how much it will cost and which friends might be able to commit, and then start saving that money.
- Save their first $500: Once they’ve saved their first $100, set a goal to save their first $500. It’s such a cool feeling once you do it! $500 is a lot of money.
- Get a raise and/or promotion at work: Your teen's got a job…but have they thought about ways to earn more there? Getting a raise or being promoted are two great ways to earn more money for the same number of hours they’re working already. Tell your teen to not be afraid to be proactive and take on extra responsibilities at work so that their boss has a reason to promote them.
- Create a resume: Resumes are only hard to write up if you don’t keep good records of your accomplishments and people’s names/contacts/etc. SO, get your teen in the habit now of creating a resume and then making the goal to update it every six months. It’ll make the process a lot smoother in their adult life.
- Take part in a stock market game online: Taking part in a free stock market game online either with a group of people they know or individually (they’ll meet people through the online game) is a great way to learn about investing.
- Sponsor a child with their money: When I was a teen, I felt bad about all of the hunger in our world. I decided I was going to sponsor a child through Child Fund International with my own money. Each month, my parents wrote a check to sponsor my child, Belkis, from Ecuador. I just loved being able to do this, and also would send her letters every so often. Here are 10 places a kid can donate to where $12 or less makes a real difference.
- Gather 4 referrals for college applications and jobs: I love this goal – because referrals are SO important in the next phase of your life. Have a teen make a list of teachers and bosses and even friends of their parents they can ask for a referral from. Make sure your teen asks them for their contact information (address, phone number, full name) so that when the time comes to fill out college applications or to get their first post-high school job, they can contact them for their referral letter.
- Create a business plan: Have your teen pick one of their business ideas running around in their head, and actually fill out one of these 7 business plan templates for kids. They don’t have to go through with the business (and, honestly, not all business ideas actually make sense once you plan them out! That’s okay). Just going through this process will teach them much about business.
- Save their first $1,000: Woooooooaaaaahhhh – did I just say your teen should set a goal to save your first $1,000? Yep. I did. And you know what? They can do it. It’ll change their whole financial future if they do (and not just because they’ll have $1,000 sitting in a bank account – moreso because of the process they’ll go through in accomplishing such a worthy goal).
- Take a free online personal finance class: Here are 31 free personal finance online classes and resources to choose from.
- Start a retirement account: It might sound strange that I’m telling your teen to set a goal to start a retirement account. But there are realllll advantages to doing so, both from a compound interest/growth perspective, and from a healthy-money-habit perspective.
- Open your first savings account: I remember opening my first savings account. It felt sooooo grown-up to do! And, it gave me an awesome resting spot for extra cash I might’ve been tempted to spend on something silly. Help your teen open their first savings account.
- Choose a percentage of their earned money to go into savings: The cool thing about setting a percentage goal amount to save off of everything they earn is that as they earn more money (a pretty natural occurrence as they get older), they’ll save more money. 10% of $50 is just $5. But 10% of 500? Is $50.
- Make a list of 20 employers to apply to: Help your teen get ahead of the job-hunting game for their first full-time job or full-time summer job in-between college years by creating an excel document with the following information: 20 companies/organizations to contact, their website URL, a hiring person’s personal contact information (email/phone number), company mission statement, etc. When the time comes to start applying, they’ll be well ahead of others.
Teen Life Goals
Many teen life goals are really about learning and then gaining confidence in life skills that will help teenagers as they enter adulthood.
Suggest these to your teen:
- Learn to drive/get your driver’s license
- Start a diary/journal
- Train for and run a 5K
- Write your first story
- Submit something you wrote for possible publication
- Learn how to cook one of your grandmother’s recipe
- Travel abroad
- Organize your friend’s addresses
- Knit a blanket
- Complete Spiritual Milestones: confirmation/baptismal classes or other
- Cultivate a Growth Mindset
- Come up with 100 life goals ideas
- Learn how to change a flat tire
- Learn how to jumpstart a car
- Learn how to change your car’s oil
- Organize a charitable event
- Start a band
- Volunteer X number of hours per week/month
- Be in Charge of the Family Garden
- Keep your car Clean
- Learn how to cook a whole meal from scratch
- Start your first life file folder
- Bury a time capsule
- Enter a competition
- Win a competition
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night for a month
- Try a completely different hairstyle
- Start a yoga routine
- Have one digital-free day a week
- Try one new food a week for the next month
I hope I’ve inspired some can-do-it-ness in your teenager after they read through and choose from this list of 100 goals for a teenager to pick from.
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