Teen Tips

Setting Goals to Meet Success Not Failure

Sometimes we get in a rut. It seems no matter how much we try, we cannot accomplish success. It may be at home, school, or playing sports. To find success, you may need to set a goal for that particular need. First you need to consider the five principles of effective goal setting that Locke & Latham proposed are as follows…


Clarity: The goal needs to be straightforward, clear, and obvious to even outsiders.

Challenge: Easy goals don’t provide enough motivation to work hard. Design a challenging goal, but one that is still attainable. It’s a fine balance!

Commitment: Are you (and anyone else involved in achieving the goal) convinced that achieving this goal is important?

Feedback: An effective goal is a goal in which you can assess your progress along the way, give feedback, and change course if need be.

Task complexity: Highly complex goals can be overwhelming, often goals within goals within goals. Your goal should be manageable, without too many things going on within it.


After you answer the 5 principles, use the WOOP model to help you. WOOP goals are generally smaller goals with a timeframe of 1 day or 30 days that can be combined to achieve larger goals, so we will adjust our goal accordingly. Look at the WOOP model example below. See if you can connect it to your needs.


W (Wish) “What is your wish, a wish that is challenging, but feasible?” – I want to start an environmental club at my school and recruit 20 students to join.

O (Outcome) “What would be the best outcome of fulfilling your wish?” – That others discover a passion for the environment too.

O (Obstacle) “What is your main INNER obstacle that stands in the way of you fulfilling your wish?” – My concern that no one will care about the cause enough to join.

P (Plan) “What can you do to overcome your obstacle?” – I can make posters illustrating the environmental impact of the school (overflowing garbage bins, cars idling during pick-up time, …) to convince students to want to make a difference.