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How Teens Benefit by Reflecting on their Goal Pursuits (Step 8 of the Doable Process)

This is the last post in my ongoing series in which I offer parents, mentors, teachers, and people who work with teens an inside look at my new book Doable: The Girls’ Guide to Accomplishing Just About Anythingas well as share tips for supporting the girls in your life as they work towards their own goals.

My last post covered Step 7 of the Doable process: Deal with Setbacks. This post covers the eighth and final step of the Doable process, DELIVER THE GOODS.

This last step, which is devoted to acknowledging and reflecting on the outcome of any goal pursuit, is often overlooked. When one thing comes to a conclusion, many people tend to move on to whatever’s next without taking the time to pause. But because one of the primary goals of Doable is to help teens learn about themselves and discover how they can best create the life they want, this step is as critical as any other along the way.

No matter what type of goal or To Do is being pursued, at some point there will be a “result” or outcome for the goal:

  1. Achieve it: Accomplishing the goal as stated
  2. Almost achieve it: Accomplishing the goal but not in the exact way envisioned
  3. Change course: Deciding along the way that the goal isn’t a priority anymore
  4. Fail to achieve it: Being unsuccessful in reaching the goal

What I want teens to realize is that there is value in all four of these outcomes. The key to tapping into this value is REFLECTION.

In Doable, I encourage girls to reflect on their journey by journaling their answer to the following questions, depending on the outcome of their pursuit:

Achieving the Goal or Almost Achieving the Goal:

  • What am I most proud of about the way I pursued my goal?
  • If I could start over and try again, what would I do differently?
  • Is there any way I could have made my goal more doable?
  • What have I learned about my Doable style that I can use in the future?

Changing Course:

  • Why did I decide to change course before completing my goal?
  • How have I evolved since I first began pursuing this goal?
  • What did I discover about myself in the process?
  • How can I take what I’ve learned about myself and factor it in the next time I pursue a goal?
  • If I pursue this goal again in the future, what will I do differently?

Failing to Achieve the Goal:

  • Despite the fact that I didn’t achieve my goal, what part of my Doable process worked well for me?
  • If I could start over and try again, what would I do differently?
  • Is there anything I could have done differently that would have made me more likely to achieve my goal?
  • What did I learn about myself through this process?
  • What is perfect about the way this situation worked out?
  • Do I want to pursue this goal again?

The other part of this Step is about ACKNOWLEDGMENT and CELEBRATION. In Doable, I encourage teens to formally acknowledge their accomplishment—this helps shift one’s mindset into one more geared toward positivity and success. I provide suggestions for ways to do this—fun little rewards, making an accomplishment board, making a photo album or piece of commemorative art, sharing the good news on social media—but the sky’s the limit. Whatever feels like celebration to the reader, works.


Following are some tips for helping the teen girl in your life reap the benefits of completing her goal pursuit, no matter the outcome:

1. Notice and acknowledge the effort. When you focus on the effort your teen put into her pursuit instead of the result of that effort, you further motivate her to pursue future goals (I love the way you put in extra time doing your piano drills over the past month).

2. Be genuine and authentic in your acknowledgment of her accomplishment. Don’t go overboard with the praise, as your teen is likely to tune out or think you’re just full of hot air. Find an appropriate moment to acknowledge the completion of their goal pursuit (turning in a college application, finishing their research paper, trying out for the debate team), and let them know how proud you are of them for following through.

3. Model healthy reflection and acknowledgment regarding your own goal pursuits. Call attention to situations when you or others in your life and family complete a big goal or To Do. If it’s you, share what you learned through the process or what you might do differently in the future. And if it’s someone else, ask insightful questions to find out more about what worked for that person and why.

4. Share your own stories. Both changing course or failing to achieve a goal can leave the goal pursuer feeling frustrated and/or disappointed in themselves. Dig into your own past and share stories of times you missed reaching a big goal, and don’t forget to let them know how you got through the disappointment and what you learned about yourself through the process.

5. Help your teen celebrate. Brainstorm with your teen to find out how she’d most like to celebrate and acknowledge the end of a goal pursuit. Even if the celebration is a small, don’t miss an opportunity to reinforce her effort and what she’s learned about herself along the way.

Have you grabbed your free download of the DOABLE Workbook yet? Get that and a bunch of other free resources here on my free stuff page.

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