Having independence means having the freedom to be yourself.  You will become more independent as you grow older.  You will be allowed to make more choices for yourself.  The amount of independence you will be given is directly related to how responsible you are with the freedoms you already have.

Do you know what it means to be independent in a good and responsible way?  Independent people have meaning in their lives.  Decide what you want out of life and what makes you feel good as a person.  Set goals and work towards them.  Independent people believe in themselves.  Have confidence in yourself, and in your own values and decisions.  If you believe you can't, you're right.  If you believe you can, you're right!

Independent people learn new skills.  Learn how to do new things, and you will be able to enjoy life more.  You will achieve a sense of accomplishment that will give you even more confidence in yourself and your abilities.  Independent people are in control of themselves.  Be in control.  Understand that you have the right to stand up for what you believe in, and for what is right.  You do not want to hurt yourself, your family or others.  Be proud to be the person you know you should be.  A person who is independent will be able to deal with every area of their life.  You should be able to take care of your responsibilities without being reminded by others.  You will be able to make responsible choices regarding your actions.  The more responsible choices that you make, the more freedom you will have to make more choices!

  • How do you feel about yourself now?
  • When do you feel good about yourself?
  • Finish this sentence:  If I could change one thing about myself to be a better person, it would be...
  • What do you think is the best thing you’ve ever
  • Do you think you make good decisions?
  • Finish this sentence: I am really proud of my ability to:
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What new skills would you like to learn?
  • Finish this sentence:  Within the next year I am planning to learn how to...
  • What was your most fun time?
  • What was your most difficult time?
  • What was your most embarrassing time?
  • Do you think you are more responsible now than you were a year ago?
  • Do you think you will be more responsible next year than you are now?
  • Finish this sentence:  The one responsibility that I would like to be given that I don’t have now is...

The more responsible choices that you make, the more freedom you will have to make more choices!

Because you are a responsible, independent person, you will behave in a responsible way in the use of drugs and alcohol.

Setting goals, working towards and achieving them gives you the confidence to make good choices in all parts of your life.

Setting goals is one of the first things a maturing individual should do.  Goals give you a direction in your life.  They give you something to aim for and work towards.  All successful people know that setting goals is the first step in sending your life in the direction you want it to go.

Goals are plans you make for yourself.  They are usually things that you really would like to have or do, that you must spend some time working towards to get.  Bringing your school marks up from a C to a B would be a goal.  Saving enough money to buy a new ipod would also be a goal.  You might set a goal of earning 5 different kinds of badges this year in your youth group.  There are three kinds of goals you should set.  Short-range goals, which you hope to accomplish in the very near future, mid-range goals which you hope to achieve in the foreseeable future, and long range goals which could be a year or years in the future.  Choose your goals realistically.  For instance, learning a new language within 3 months would not be practical.

After you have set your goals, write them down.  Divide them into the three different categories.  You will probably have many more short term goals than anything else.  That is normal and actually better because you won't have to wait as long to start seeing results.  Now that you've written them down, decide how you are going to go about achieving each goal.  For example, if your goal was to get your allowance increased, you might first of all talk to your parents about your need for a larger allowance and explain the extra chores you would be willing to take on to get it.  You might offer to do the extra chores for 2 weeks without pay to show you have the ability and responsibility to take on the extra duties without complaining, or letting your other work slide.

Say you want to pull up your science grade sufficiently to qualify for the science fair team.  First of all, you would need to talk to your teacher and let him or her know what you wanted.  You might ask for extra work that would give you more credits.  Maybe you would slot an extra 15 minutes a day after the supper dishes, devoted just to science study.  You might also resolve to make a better effort towards paying more attention during your regular science classes, and keeping your notebook neater.

Put your list of goals in a place where you will see it every day.  Read it over often to see how you are progressing.  If you think you are not accomplishing anything towards achieving a goal, perhaps you will have to sit down and figure out a new strategy.  Specific goals can be written down and put close to the place where you will be working on them.

For example, you could tape a sign to your piano that says, "6 new songs by the end of the month".  Or you could paste a picture of the new bike you want to your piggy bank to remind you of why you want to save your allowance.

Finally, as you achieve your goals, set new ones in their place.  Periodically review your list and add new goals as you think of them.  Remove goals that are no longer important to you.  Transfer your achieved goals to a new list that you can take out and look at when you get discouraged.  You may change your goals, but never give up having goals.  Remember, nothing happens without effort.

Goal-setting is an organized and deliberate plan of action for getting the things you really want out of life.  If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there.

Setting goals, working towards and finally achieving them gives you a feeling of confidence and self-worth.  With this confidence you will be better able to make responsible choices in all areas of your life.

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