Making Empowered Choices

High School Social Emotional Learning Activity

Teen SEL activity on choices and goal setting

Choices and Benefits- "I Choose" Worksheet


See the connection between making responsible choices and reaching your goals. Help teens create a positive attitude about doing the right thing by phrasing tasks or choices in terms of the benefit they get from making good choices.

Grade Level

High School

Health / Social Emotional Topics

  • Responsibility
  • Making healthy choices
  • Reducing risk
  • Goal setting
  • Health strategies for managing emotions
  • Self-awareness


Quotes and Teaching Notes



1. Review the full teaching resources for the quote “Sometimes you need to choose to do things you don’t want to do, but at least it’s your choice”.
2. Discussion:
- Discuss with students how, as we grow up, there are plenty of responsibilities that may feel like 'have to' tasks. While this may feel like a lack of control over one's life, changing one's attitude toward responsibilities can be empowering.

Being responsible is a choice that pays you back by helping you reach goals, reduce risk, maintain positive relationships, etc. We choose to do daily tasks and to act responsibly because there is a benefit to each of us personally. Seeing the daily chores as burdens and "have tos" can feel disempowering. Seeing responsible acts as choices one makes for their own benefit is empowering.

- Discuss some of the types of tasks that can feel like “have to” tasks (homework, boring tasks at work, chores around the house, waking up early, etc.)

- Identify reasons people do these tasks or act responsibly even if it's not fun. Find the “what’s in it for me” in being responsible.

- Consider a scenario in which the student doesn’t doesn't act responsibly from the previous step. What is the impact of not doing what needs to be done?

Choices and Benefits Examples:

  • Do homework = get better grades = have more opportunity in life
  • Clean my room = if I don’t mom will get mad = I care about my relationship with my mom and I feel better not getting in trouble
  • Take out the trash at work = do my job and keep boss happy = keep my job and get paid
  • Wear my seatbelt = I’m less likely to be hurt
  • Don’t go to a sketchy party = protect myself and choose to value my own personal safety over peer pressure

3. Emphasize that a change in one's perspective can make it easier to make responsible choices. When you recognize that you are choosing to be responsible because ultimately it’s for your own benefit, safety, or long term success, being responsible is easier. This may seem obvious to an adult, but teens tend to live in the moment. Learning to make the connection between actions and consequences is an important part of growing up.

4. Students can complete the Empowered Choices Worksheet:
Download the PDF Worksheet