When you have certain goals you want to set for yourself, it’s always good to have them in writing. In fact, it’s been proven that goals that are written down or put into digital form are more likely to be accomplished, mainly because written-down goals make you more accountable. For teenagers, both personal and academic goals should be written down because at this age, both are equally important. Fortunately, you don’t have to compose the documents yourself because you can find them on the Internet, in the form of a helpful goal setting worksheet for high school students.
That said, not every goal setting worksheet is worth your time, and if it doesn’t prompt you to identify actionable steps to progressing towards stated attainable goals, you may be making more of a simple goal vision board than a helpful roadmap you can actually put into practice. Below we’ll discuss a variety of goal setting sheets (linked for your easy access), as well as touch on the specific things teens can do to effectively set goals, reach them, and leverage those accomplishments for future pursuits, such as on resumes, college applications, and internship interviews.
The Key to Effective Goal-Setting
If you want to accomplish anything in life, you need specific goals and specific ways to accomplish those goals. When you’re a teenager, setting specific goals can help you do everything from get better grades to find an impressive internship and get a full-ride scholarship to the college of your dreams. High school students – especially older students taking a full course load of AP classes, practice SATs, and preparing for college applications – are incredibly busy, and a good checklist of goals is a great way to keep you organized from day one. The checklists can be found online and include all types of action items that you can place on your checklist so it’s personalized to meet your needs.
What types of action steps need to be on these checklists? First of all, your checklist should be broken down into the different types of goals, including personal, professional, and academic. You can print out the checklist and hand-write the goals in or type them in on your computer then print it out afterwards. Think of your checklist as a bulletin board because you can remove, alter, and add things as you need to do so. Effective goal setting starts with making sure all of your goals are listed on the checklist in clear detail, with desired timelines attached.
Before we talk about the goals and items that should be on every goal-setting worksheet you use, here’s a tip that can help you list everything that’s important: Before you list goals, make sure the goals follow the SMART rule. In other words, the goals should be:
- Specific (no vague descriptions)
- Measurable (able to be measured so you’ll know if the goal is on track to be met)
- Achievable (attainable and realistic goals)
- Relevant (within reach, relevant to your purpose)
- Time-bound (very defined timeline – start date, etc.)
This acronym can work for teens and high schoolers, college-age kids, and even people in the corporate world working full-time, so when it comes to the goal-setting process, the SMART rule is the one to follow, no matter who you are.
Types of Worksheets
When you wish to list actionable goals onto a checklist, the first thing you need to know is that nothing is etched in stone. In the end, you can create your checklist any way you want it to look. You can include both long-term goals and short-term goals, or you can include just one of these. In other words, it does not have to be a complicated process, so ease up on yourself and create a worksheet that works for you. Here are a few types of worksheets to make it easier on you:
- Basic Goal-Setting Worksheet
This basic worksheet has standard information and fits on one page, making it easy to work with. The information can include one or more of the following:
- Things I want to get better at
- Things I look forward to
- Things I can do to help others
- Places I want to go
- My favorite memories
- Hard lessons I learned
- Things I’m grateful for
Goal-setting sheets usually work best when they’re simple and basic. This particular one is for personal goals, but you can add anything you want to it. Also, make sure the design is simple, meaning five or six lines under each title for you to write your personal and behavioral goals. You can include extracurricular activities, church activities, or sports or academic activities. Or, you can convert it into a worksheet for school or work-related goals instead of personal ones.
- Worksheet Developed by a Therapist
Therapists have designed various worksheets meant for all teen and high school levels, and this one is broken down into areas such as Social, Career, Physical, Family, Leisure, Personality, and Other/Miscellaneous. Under each category are three sub-categories: 1-month goal, 1-year goal, and 5-year goal. This is a simple-to-use worksheet that makes setting goals very easy and quick. While it is used by therapists, it can be utilized by teachers, guidance counselors, and many others.
- Worksheet Developed by a Teacher
Most people need more than good luck to accomplish your goals, and this worksheet goes straight for ease-of-use and functionality, working for all grade levels (particularly tweens and younger kids), not just teenagers. It is available as a worksheet PDF and includes blank categories that are each labeled “Goal,” which means you write in your specific goals. On the worksheet and for each goal, two squares are listed. The first one is labeled Action Steps, and the second one is labeled Support from Parents. There are three numbered areas to write something specific in under each of these squares. The good thing about this one is that it is very basic and therefore super-easy to utilize, as well as the fact that it encourages teens and kids to involve their parents in their goals.
- The “Right Now” Worksheet
If you’re interested in concentrating just on one goal at the moment, this is the worksheet for you. You can use it to improve your career path, your growth mindset, or even your New Year’s resolutions! At the top section there are titles that say My Number-One Goal is…, My Target Date, and How Will I Know I’ve Reached My Goal, the latter of which is crucial. Below that are various sections that provide a great way to describe why the goal is important, strengths the person has to help achieve the goal, obstacles and plans to deal with them, and a few other things.
- Vision Board Worksheet
The vision board is a great idea when you want to visualize your goals, aspirations, and inspiration, rather than just write down a dry list that may feel intimidating, uninspired, or overwhelming. Think of this as a graphic organizer because you’ll be attaching colorful pictures onto a poster board, with each picture representing a specific goal. They can represent small steps you’d like to take or larger goals – it’s up to you. For instance, if you want to eventually make enough money to stop buying generic products when you go grocery shopping, you can post a picture of some type of food with the non-generic logo prominently displayed.
- Goal-Setting PDFs
These worksheets can be in either Word or PDF form, but the latter is less likely to mess up as you’re typing on it. A monthly goal-setter can have captions such as Month Goals, Month Focus, Pending, and Noteworthy. You can even use this monthly form as a lesson plan, and it is good for middle school students and older. You can also use it for both professional and personal goals because you can arrange it to your liking easily. It is perfect for both young people and adults.
- Worksheet That Helps Set Goals (A very SMART worksheet)
If you’re not sure what your goals should be, this worksheet is for you. It goes over the SMART rule in more detail, which is one of the necessary steps for completing the form. There are fewer potential problems with it because there are detailed descriptions with each title. There is also plenty of space for your SMART goals and any important student goal you might have. This one is a little more detailed than some of the other worksheets we’ve reviewed, but you’ll appreciate the details listed, as they’re more likely to keep you on track to achievement.
Worksheets Lead to Achievements, and Here’s What Follows
At the beginning of the school year or semester, most teens start out with lofty goals, but many of those goals get eliminated throughout the year due to obstacles, distractions, and the sheer fact that they get forgotten and unattended to. To ensure you’re one of the few teens who achieves and even surpasses your goals, you’ll want to write them down and maintain weekly progress checkpoints to confirm you’re on track for success. Though this might seem tedious or like organizational overkill, the great benefit to keeping written track of your goals, progress, and accomplishments is that you’re effortlessly creating the documented blueprint for your future resume, cover letters, college applications, and internship interviews.
Simply put, a goal setting worksheet for high school students that encourages the documentation of and adherence to your impressive goals is going to put you head-and-shoulders above your peers who have to scramble to remember what they aspired to achieve, the path they took, and which goals they actually attained versus those from which they fell short. Your future self will no doubt thank you for taking the time now to outline your plan, aspirations, and progress towards success, and that detailed documentation and steadfast commitment to those goals just may be the deciding factor that scores you that esteemed internship, award, or full-ride scholarship.