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Unleash Your Awesomeness: Goal Setting & Getting for Youth Workers and Orgs

Think back to when you were younger and when how you'd want to land that perfect ollie at the skatepark, catch the green wave out the back, or learn how to ride a bike without holding on to the handlebars. You worked hard, focused, and determined until you could do it with your eyes closed. The power of goal setting is just as potent for us as youth workers and organisations as it is when we're young.


Youth workers sitting around a table setting goals

Let's not let those childhood dreams become a hazy memory - distant and out of reach. With the right tools in the kete, goal setting and goal getting can feel as easy and fun as those days back in the park. By using a SWOT analysis and SMART goals, you and your team can transform your aspirations into achievable action plans.



Successful SWOT'ing: Understanding your internal and external environment can help navigate the direction of your focus by leveraging your strengths, overcoming weaknesses, taking advantage of opportunities, and avoiding potential threats. Think of this exercise like building the ultimate superhero costume, but for your goals.

  • Strengths - What are you and/or your organisation doing really well? (Workshops, strong community links, passionate teammates)

  • Weaknesses - What areas might need a little extra TLC? (Funding, technology challenges, inconsistent communication)

  • Opportunities - What's going on in your community and sector that you and or your organisation could benefit from? (New grant funding, partnering with local school clubs)

  • Threats - Be prepared for challenges you might face. (Budget cuts affecting staffing, social media fatigue)


Get Goal SMART: Once you have your analysis sorted, and a few goal aspirations, get SMART to get them out of planning and into doing.

  • Specific - Get into the details. What do you want to achieve? Ex. Increase social media = improve engagement with young people

  • Measurable - Track progress. How will you know you've hit your goal? Ex. In 3 months, increase engagement by 20%

  • Attainable - Be realistic, but challenge yourself. Ex. Instead of producing daily content, create meaningful stories that are relevant to the challenges of your young people.

  • Relevant - Align your goals with your vision and values. Ex. Make content that is positive and gets young people excited to communicate and engage.

  • Time-bound - Set deadlines for milestones. Ex. Post a new story every Friday and check-in at the end of the month to see how engagement has improved.


Remember: You don't have to do this alone. Host a creative goal setting workshop. Get visual, use a mind map and vision boards! Plan how you're going to celebrate milestones and what you'll do if you find you're getting off-track. Achieving goals will not happen overnight, so enjoy the journey and make the most of the lessons you learn along the way. Now let's go out there and show the incredible power of youth work, fueled by purpose, passion, and SMARTitude. Resources:


Te Kete Ipurangi has this great resource on their website: Refine and support goal setting | Inclusive Education (tki.org.nz) Download this free goal setting packet for you and your teammates.

SMART Goal Setting
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