The Importance of Goal Setting

When I decided to pursue a certification as a health and wellness coach it was primarily to work with divorced or single parents with kids. Having gone through a very difficult time as a single divorced parent, it took me years just to make my way back to normalcy and even longer to land at a place where I was satisfied with my situation and proud of my accomplishments. 

I was confident I could use my own experiences along with the skills I developed as a coach to assist other divorced or single parents to get back to a place of normalcy and stability. Most of my focus is to help single parents keep their priorities in order, which should almost always include being a good parent to their child or children.

I started working with teenagers at 22 years old as a youth minister in my church. By the time I was 35 I had worked in multiple churches in a variety of different capacities as a volunteer primarily with high school teens. Since then, I have worked with children, strictly as a volunteer, who live in urban, rural and unfortunately, destitute communities.

I have also taught part time at a small Christian college for five years and was a licensed foster parent in the state of North Carolina for about 2 years.  I thought it would be logical and beneficial to offer my services as a coach to teenagers, in addition to single parents. Properly instructing teenagers how to use goal setting to achieve short and long term objectives will teach them how to manage their lives and reduce risk while becoming more independent.

What is Goal Setting:

At its core, goal setting is the process of defining specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives that one aims to accomplish. Goals can be short-term or long-term, spanning various facets of life, including career, education, health, personal growth, and relationships. These objectives act as a roadmap, guiding individuals towards their desired destinations.

The most important aspect of goal setting is to start small. It doesn’t matter how much experience you may have in your area of focus. Starting small allows a person experience gradual improvement, stay motivated, build momentum and allow your brain adapt to and register positive, habit forming experiences.

My Personal Experience with Goal Setting

Allow me to provide a little more context prior to the discussion and importance of goal setting.

I got my first job in 1982. I was 22 years old, and it was a sales position. I sold printing products, forms and catalogues for the largest printer in the world and my territory was Brooklyn, NY. My sales manager and the first boss I ever had introduced me to goal setting. Today, most people understand the concept of goal setting. In 1982, it was novel.

Here is a synopsis; I developed daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Since it was a sales job, my goals were 10-15 cold calls per day, 2 scheduled appointments per day, which should yield 3 sales per week and 12 per month, which would generate $15K per month in revenue and between $180K and $200K annually. That’s not my commission, just the gross sales volume for the year.

Those numbers would also make me the top salesperson in the region among all the first-tier salespeople. I followed the plan and it worked. First year on the job, tops in my region, salary plus commission $ 30k.

If you go back and look at what jobs were paying in the early 80’s, $30k wasn’t bad. I soon applied that philosophy to all aspects of my life. By the time I was 30 years old, I had a very significant net worth, had run 5 miles in under 30 minutes, run a marathon, competed in a triathlon and got my black belt in Jui Jitsu. It also allowed me to donate money to some of the causes and charities I supported, which included the youth group in my church.

I remember thinking to myself; what if I had known about this in high school? How much easier life would have been and how I could have excelled in subjects I struggled by just by applying the principles of goal setting. Could I have earned an A in chemistry instead of a C even though science wasn’t a subject I was particularly good at?

To be honest, I can’t guarantee I would have gotten an A in chemistry. Most of us avoid what we aren’t good at. So we might study with friends, or cram the day or two before an exam. Perhaps, I may have hired a tutor or asked my chemistry teacher for extra help. I could have created daily and weekly goals which might include committing to studying  to 20-30 minutes per night, five days per week and take the weekends off. I would want short, small assignments and gradually build on my knowledge base. The idea was to take baby-steps.

The term baby-steps when applied to my chemistry class was something I could get used to. From a coaching perspective, goal setting involves an understanding of the student, their strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, what motivates them and what may cause avoidance behaviors. Taking all of this into account, short and long-term goals are established that are Specific, Measurable. Action Oriented, Realistic and Timed. This is known as the SMART model.

The Benefits of Goal Setting

Goal setting offers numerous benefits that have a profound impact on one’s life and well-being. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to learn, implement and practice goal setting. Below are just some of the benefits.

  1. Clarity and Direction: Setting clear goals provides a sense of purpose and direction. It helps individuals understand what they want to achieve and how to get there.
  2. Motivation: Goals act as a powerful motivator. They create a sense of purpose and drive individuals to work harder and smarter to attain their aspirations.
  3. Measurable Progress: Goals enable individuals to measure their progress. This quantifiable feedback can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment.
  4. Time Management: By setting deadlines and prioritizing tasks, goal setting improves time management skills. It encourages individuals to make efficient use of their time.
  5. Enhanced Focus: Goals help filter out distractions and irrelevant activities. They encourage individuals to concentrate on what truly matters and avoid wasting time on unproductive pursuits.
  6. Resilience: Setting and working toward goals fosters resilience. It teaches individuals to persevere in the face of setbacks and obstacles, ultimately making them more resilient and determined.
  7. Success and Achievement: Achieving one’s goals leads to a sense of achievement and fulfillment. This sense of success can improve self-esteem and overall happiness.
  8. Accountability: Goal setting creates a sense of personal responsibility. Individuals become accountable for their own progress, fostering a proactive approach to life.


Goal setting for teenagers plays a vital role in their development. It enables them to navigate challenges, experience success which builds motivation and provides clear direction. It also teaches them to plan, prioritize, execute and build a foundation for future success which contributes to building resiliency. The previous blog discussed the importance of knowing your talents. If you are a teenager, regardless of your grade, and you were to further develop your talents by setting goals and using the smart model, you would have started a roadmap to success and personal fulfillment.

The term Executive Function is becoming more common among people who do research on how to plan and organize their lives by developing problem solving skills and regulating behaviors to achieve goals. It is a cognitive function that is considered the Command Center of the brain. My plan is to provide a lot more information about executive function for my website. However, the first step in improving a person’s executive function is to understand the importance of goal setting. I would encourage you to research Executive Function if the concept of goal setting interests you.