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”). Lists are also definitive and easy to process, which helps us feel in control. And, that is good for our well-being.

So, helping teen clients create a bucket list of their ‘wants’ and desires is a no-brainer. 

This is not a someday list – it’s a group of goals they’ll pursue within one year. Because people are best motivated when they have a deadline. 

Bucket lists also help our teens envision their future — what they want to do and what they want to experience. They come up with some pretty unique and creative ideas! Like learning sign language and swimming with turtles. I’ve learned that when teens have a vision or a goal, they live their life more intentionally. They know what they want, and they’re more prepared to achieve it. 

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 some basic guidelines to draw the 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 aspect of life they want to think about. (Or you can printout these handy Bucket List Brainstorm sheets.)

Teens enjoy brainstorming about: 

  • 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

Once your teen’s categories are decided, they can use these questions to brainstorm a “bucket list” of ideas for each one.

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

Encourage them to write down every idea that comes to mind without holding back. And, let the ideas flow – don’t overthink it. 

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

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