The Dream Path

It’s important to have dreams, but what good is having a dream if you don’t have a plan to achieve it? Knowing how to reach your dreams is just as important as determining what your dreams are.

Many teenagers are never taught how goal setting affects their ability to achieve success. This time of year, teenagers across the country are graduating high school and are about to make several very important decisions that will determine their future. The college they attend, the career path they will take and even the people they choose to associate with are all important factors. Teach your teen how to set goals so they are properly equipped when they are faced with those types of decisions. The book SUCCESS for Teens® lays out some effective and simple steps to help your teen get started in reaching any dream.

First, help your teen identify a few short-term and long-term goals. These could be related to school, relationships, a career, money, fitness—the important thing is to come up with specific goals. Write them down. Help him think about where he is in his life right now, where he wants to be and what changes he needs to make to help him get there.

Here are four steps to help your teen’s goals become reality:

1. Envision your dreams. Having a vivid, specific picture of your dream is vital in beginning a plan to get there. Tell your teen to make his dream as specific a goal as possible. The more specific and detailed it is, the more real it becomes. Write it down in the present tense. For example, “I graduate college with honors in four years.” Setting a timeline to accomplish a goal is also important and gives your teen an even more specific target.

2. Look at it every day. When you’re driving a car, it’s necessary to constantly make small adjustments to stay on the road. It’s the same when achieving your goals. It’s not about making giant leaps, but making small, positive choices every day that will keep you on the path to achieving your dreams. Have your teen post his written dream in a place where he can easily see it every day.

3. Start with a game plan. Every goal has to start somewhere. Help your teen realize that everyone starts in a different place and that, as far away as a goal may seem, where he starts from doesn’t really matter. Staying on course by making positive, daily decisions is what’s important. And having a plan will help him do that. A plan maps out the small steps needed to stay on course. It also lets him set smaller, more attainable goals along the way to reaching his bigger goal. Help your teen write out a game plan for reaching his goal, breaking it down into smaller milestones along the way.

4. Never quit. If achieving your dream was easy, your dream wouldn’t be worth achieving. Make sure your teen understands that there will be setbacks along the journey to success. But, just like the principle in physics, an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Momentum is the key. When you stop, it’s really hard to get going again. But when you maintain momentum, it’s much easier to take the next step. Teach your teen to never quit on his dreams.

For more from SUCCESS for Teens, visit the SUCCESSFoundation.org.

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