If your teen is a practical, black-and-white  thinker (let’s be real – they want no part of a vision board), then a “bucket list” is their ticket to goal setting. 

Confession: I LOVE lists! That feeling of accomplishment when I cross something off my list makes my day (even if it’s just “make the bed”).

Benefits of Lists

A bucket list of their wants and desires is not a someday list – it’s a group of goals they’ll pursue within one year. People are best motivated when they have a deadline! 

Lists are definitive and easy to process, which helps teens feel in control. And, that is good for their well-being.

Listing their wants and desires helps them envision their future — what they want to do, what they want to experience.

And, that vision helps them live their life more intentionally. They know what they want, and they’re more prepared to achieve it — like learning sign language and swimming with turtles. They come up with some pretty unique and creative ideas!

You’d be amazed at the wisdom and inspiration in your teen’s list.  All it takes is some key categories, thought-starter questions, and basic guidelines to draw your teen’s magic to the surface.

How to Help Your Teen Brainstorm Their Ultimate Bucket List

Give them a piece of paper or two. Then, make columns for each area of life they want to improve. (You can printout these handy Bucket List Brainstorm sheets for help.)

Areas of life that teens most enjoy brainstorming about are: 

  • Adventure
  • Charity or Kindness to Others
  • Creativity
  • School
  • Entertainment & Events
  • Family and Friends
  • Foods
  • Just for Fun
  • Local Experiences
  • Personal Growth
  • Nature + Wildlife
  • Sports + Activities
  • Travel

In each column, brainstorm a “bucket list” of goals with these thought-starters:

  • Are there any activities or sports that your teen wants to try?
  • What events do they want to attend?
  • What classes have they always thought about taking?
  • What would they like to do with family and friends?
  • How do they want to  improve physically, mentally or spiritually?
  • What skills do they want to learn?
  • Is there a charity they’ve always wanted to support?
  • What was their childhood dream — is it still relevant today?
  • Is there someplace they’ve always wanted to take their best friend or parent?

Encourage them to write down every idea that comes to mind without holding back. Let the ideas flow!  

Now that your teen has written everything down, ask them to review their ideas. What’s most important to them? What help might they need? How many goals can they realistically achieve in a year? Use this second phase of questioning to refine the list.

Then, take what’s left, and turn it into stretch goals they can truly achieve in one year. 

My goal for 2021 is to take my kids on a beach vacation and read 5 books for pleasure.

Let me know what you come up with in the Life Success for Teens community on Facebook and Instagram. And, if you need some help, you can always reach out for a free 30-minute strategy call