Life Goals


As we enter our teenage years we start to mature physically mentally and emotionally. We begin to think beyond just tomorrow, have hopes, aspirations and begin planning for the future.


We face choices in life everyday. Making choices and decisions are part of growing up. We have to make our choices and decisions wisely. We ought to consider advice given by our parents, families and the people who care about us. Finally, we have to take responsibility for our decisions.


Life goals would be:

  • To set what we want in life
  • Plan on how to achieve it
  • Decide what we do when we get there

The process of setting goals helps us choose and decide where we want to go in life. We are the navigator of the path we want to lead in our lives.

Setting goals in life

The first step in setting goals is to consider what we would like to achieve during our lifetime. One may ask:

What would I like to obtain?

  • To get excellent results in our PMR or SPM?

What job would I like to do?

  • What is my ambition: to be a lawyer, engineer, pilot, accountant, own my own business etc?

What sort of person would I like to become?

  • A polite, law abiding, religious person, a person of integrity, a person with dignity, etc?

What kind of relationships we would like to build?

  • Have a happy married ife, be a good father/ mother, a loyal friend, etc?

Once we have built the overall picture, we could then break it up into smaller parts with a specific time line, with the goals we have set as the ultimate aim. However we may need to revisit our goals from time to time to make sure that we still want the same goals as before. As we grow we may discover new things or have different perspectives in life. For e.g. a person who during his youth wants to become a millionaire might later decide that having a satisfying career is more important than just having lot of money. Any change in our goals would then need appropriate changes in our plans. There are many ways to set goals in life. Many books are available to help you in this process. You could also get guidance from your parents and teachers.

Goal setting tips

The following broad guidelines will help you set effective goals: State each goal as a positive statement:

Express your goals positively

  • Use this technique well’ is a much better strategy than ‘Don’t make this stupid mistake’

Be precise:

  • Set a precise goal, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you will know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it

Set priorities:

  • When you have several goals, prioritise. Begin with the top most priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important first

Write goals down:

  • This crystallizes your goals and gives them more focus

Keep operational goals small:

  • Initially, keep the you are working towards something small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward. Derive today’s goals from larger ones.

Set performance goals, not outcome goals:

  • You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. There is nothing more dispiriting than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control. If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them

Set realistic goals:

  • It is important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (media, society, parents) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions. Alternatively you may set goals that are too high, because you may not appreciate either the obstacles in the way or understand quite how much skill you need to develop to achieve a particular level of performance

Advice to parents

It’s Your Teen’s Life

When the subject concerns the future, some teens may try to shrug it off. Here are some tips to get the ball rolling and keep communication going. Really listen to your teen and resist the temptation to provide unsolicited advice.

  • If your teen is struggling to make a decision, a story or two about how hard it was for you or someone you know to make decisions could go a long way in reassuring your teen that he or she isn’t the only one

Trying to direct and control your teen’s future probably will not benefit them in the long run.

  • This is the time to let your teens develop decision-making and problem-solving skills. Provide your teen with respect and support while giving up some of your control

Prepare your teen to take care of himself or herself away from home.

  • This includes making major decisions regarding relationships as well as day-to-day living skills such an cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, writing cheques, and managing a budget which are all important and necessary part of growing up

Don’t be afraid to set limits on how much you can financially support your teen if he or she decides to take time off and be on his/her own.

  • It is important for teens to learn independence
Last Reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Nazrila Hairizan binti Nasir
Reviewer : Dr. Selva Ratnasingam