Many girls struggle to see the connection between their long-term goals and their day-to-day choices. In the ‘Goals and aspirations’ module of the Building Resilience programme I support teenage girls to define their own goal, make a plan to achieve it – and then reflect on what they are doing on a daily basis to make progress on their plan. This is an effective way to raise aspiration, and contribute to increasing motivation in class.

The starting point is to support students to develop their own goal – one that matters to them. It’s empowering for students to have the time and support to really think about where they want to go in life.

The crucial next step is to then create a plan to achieve this goal.

As Stephen Covey says, we “Start with the end in mind” and then work back, to the day-to-day.

For example, in one workshop Chloe* shared that she’d like to be a vet. But being in Year 7 she couldn’t see how what she was doing now, day to day at school, was relevant to this long-term goal of becoming a vet.  I supported Chloe to break the job of being a vet down, and think about how she could develop skills for this career. What hobbies did she have now (or could she develop) to show an aptitude to caring for animals?

Turning to her school work, how’s was her maths currently? She admitted it was a subject she found difficult. I supported Chloe to understand why maths matters – because it was crucial for her goal of becoming a vet. What could she do on a day-to-day basis to make progress in her maths, so it became a strong subject for her? What new attitude or approach could she bring her to maths classes, to improve her concentration, engagement, and ultimately her grades?

I asked “So Chloe, knowing your goal is to become a vet, what will you do differently in Tuesday’s maths lesson?”

The key to taking this coaching approach with Chloe is that she developed her own strategies and ways that she could work towards her own goal, by making progress in her maths.

Goal setting is effective – but goals need a plan to make them a reality.  What’s key is to support teenage girls to find the goal that motivates them, and then support them to build their own plan to work towards that goal, step by achievable step.

At the end of the session, girls completed their workshop feedback forms, their comments included:

“I’ve learnt what my goals are and how I can achieve them by planning them out”

If you’re looking for a programme that builds resilience and personal skills, enabling teen girls to progress both personally and academically, find out about the availability of the Building resilience programme for your school by contacting Caroline Walker, founder of Confident Teens, on

(* name changed)