Quotes for teens on life lessons

Quote for teens on making healthy choices even when its not fun- empowered choice

"Sometimes you need to choose to do things you don’t want to do. Just remember your reasons for choosing."

-- Truth Be Told Quotes

Here’s a wonderfully liberating secret… you don’t “have to” do anything. Even though you may not enjoy some of the stuff you choose to do, you still get to make the choice.

Take homework—you do it because you want grades that will lead to future opportunities. Job starts at 6am? You choose to get up early so you can keep your job. You may want to blow off your responsibilities to create an obstacle course for your pet llama. But instead, you choose to prioritize the tasks that help you get other things you want.

Feeling like a victim of all the things you think you “have to” do will really drag you down. Instead, consider what benefit you are giving yourself—opportunity, approval, money. The choices and the rewards are yours.

Teaching resources

Bring this quote into your classroom with a lesson guide and activities that are ready to use.

Quote Overview / Description

Quote about empowerment, goal setting, and choice

This quote helps kids see that to be successful, they may have to do things that aren't fun. But if they view doing their responsibilities as a choice, with a benefit to them personally, they'll feel better about meeting their responsibilities.

Changing "have to" into empowered choices

Young people can feel like they “have to do homework” or they “have to help around the house” or they “have to” do lots of boring, everyday kinds of things. It can be easy to turn this into a sense of being the victim of others’ demands. However, to have a sense of control over your own life (to feel personally empowered), it’s important to recognize that these boring everyday things that we may not enjoy doing, are things we actually choose to do because they help us get something else that we want. When we choose to be personally responsible, we also get to feel personally empowered.

Focus on Goals

If kids can stay focused on the goals they have set for themselves, it can be easier to recognize that doing things that aren’t fun are a still a personal choice. When they are finding it hard to persevere through challenges, or they are being negatively influenced by friends or their own lack of desire, they can look to the internal driver that says “I want Goal B enough that I’m willing to do Task A, even if I don’t enjoy it right now.”

How to Change Perspective

Taking responsibility for and gaining control over your own life starts with recognizing the little everyday choices that are helping you reach your goals. Sometimes a change in attitude changes your perception of empowerment.

For example:

  • "My teacher is making me write a 5 page paper." can instead be "My goal is to have opportunities in my future. So I’m choosing to write a quality 5-page paper because good grades will help me reach my goal."
  • "My boss made me take the trash out three times last night in the rain! He’s so mean." can instead be "My boss needed the trash taken out three times and I chose to do my job so I’d get paid, even though doing it in the rain was not fun."
  • "I have to watch my little sister on Saturday night and can’t go out." Instead can be "Even though I’d rather be out with my friends, I’m choosing to help my family because they do a lot for me and I want to have a good relationship with them."
  • "I have to go to this party even though it's risky because if I don't my friends will be mad." can instead be, "I'm going to choose not to go to this party because even though my friends will be mad, if bad stuff happens, the consequence will be way worse than my friends being mad."

See the activities section for more scenarios.

Note:This quote also comes into play when teens face peer pressure or other risky situations. Teens get to own their choices and they also get to own their consequences. Good choices = good consequences. Bad choices = bad consequences. With more freedom and responsibility, teens will be faced with situations in which they can choose to make a bad decision... but they also get to deal with the bad consequences that follow. For more on actions and consequences, see this quote and accompanying teaching resources: "The great thing about growing up is you get to manage your own life. The bad thing about growing up is you need to manage your own life."

Discussion questions / Writing Prompts

Questions to prompt discussion, journaling, essays for high school health class and social emotional development lessons:

  1. In the paragraph about this quote, what does it mean to “feel like a victim”? How is it different to “choose to do things you don’t want to do”.
  2. What are some things you don’t like doing, but you choose to do them anyway? Why do you do them?
  3. Do you know anyone who usually blames someone else for the troubles in their life? Are they right?
  4. When in your life has a good choice resulted in a good consequence? How about a bad choice and bad consequence? How did each situation feel in the end?
  5. What is a situation in your life that didn’t go well? What aspects of it were in your control? Which parts of the issue were someone else’s fault?
  6. List some things you feel like you have to do but don’t want to. Think of a benefit for each one that makes it worth doing.
  7. What are some situations in which someone does things they don’t “want to” do that are actually harmful to them? How can they know when they should choose to do the action or seek help to change the situation? (Discuss the difference between choosing to do homework, chores, getting up early for a job against being pressured into uncomfortable or dangerous situations.)



Activities and worksheets for teen SEL / high school health and wellness lessons:

  1. Empowered Choices Journaling Prompt- Printable, or online fillable, journaling page with writing prompts about the connection between choices and consequences.
  2. Choices and Benefits Worksheet- In this activity,students see that making good choices helps them reach goals, have better relationships, improve self esteem.
  3. Connecting Choices and Consequences Worksheet- Through discussion and a worksheet, teens see how making healthy choices feels better than making unhealthy choices
  4. Choices and Consequences Movie Scene Worksheet- In this activity, teens write a movie scene showing the connection between choices and consequences.

Coloring Pages

Download printable coloring pages for a mindfulness activity that features this quote.

  1. Classic coloring page
  2. The Power to Choose coloring page

Curriculum Topics

High School Health Class / Social Emotional Development Core Curriculum Alignment:

  • Personal choices and decision making
  • Carry out social and personal responsibility appropriately
  • Recognize internal and external influences on behavior
  • Reducing risky behaviors


  • Take responsibility for your own life, actions, and consequences
  • Enjoy the benefits of your own effort
  • Recognize the control you have over your own life

Character Traits/Values

  • Responsibility
  • Self respect
  • Perseverance
  • Self control

The quote and opening paragraph of this page are an excerpt from the Book, Truth Be Told Quotes: Teen Edition. Presented with permission from the author, Colleen Doyle Bryant. ©LoveWell Press. Find the print and ebook versions of Truth Be Told Quotes on the Shop page.

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Colleen Doyle Bryant

Colleen Doyle Bryant is the author of five books and more than 50 learning resources about making good choices for the right reasons. Her Talking with Trees series for elementary students and Truth Be Told Quotes series for teens are used in curriculums around the world. Rooted in Decency, Colleen's latest release for an adult audience, explores what happened to common decency and how we can get to a place of more cooperation and kindness. Learn more at ColleenDoyleBryant.com.

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