The Aspirations component of Search Institute’s new REACH Framework introduces the importance of helping all young people develop a positive view of themselves in the future and connecting their ability to become that person to the actions they do—or do not—take every day.

The following discussion starters encourage youth to think about who they are becoming and how they can be intentional in working toward a positive future. They can be used with youth in your school, organization, home, or community, and in one-on-one or group settings. Adults and young people can all answer these questions. Use the opportunity to share a bit about yourself.

  1. Imagine yourself in ten years. If everything goes well, what would you be doing? Who would you be with?
  2. If you could do one thing better, what would it be? How would it make your life better if you could do that?
  3. Who in your family have had dreams or aspirations that changed the course of their lives? How might your life be different if they hadn’t reached for their goals?
  4. Have you ever encountered a key decision—a fork in the road—that set you in a new direction in some area of life? What happened? How did you make that decision?
  5. What have been major roadblocks that made it hard for you to become the best you could be? How have you coped with or overcome these obstacles?
  6. What is something you hope to be good at in five years? What is one thing you do now to help work toward being good at this?
  7. If you could study just one thing for three months, what would you study? Why?
  8. If you could do one thing to make the world a better place, what would you want to do? What steps could you take to make that kind of difference?
  9. Suppose someone asks you this question ten years from now: What have you most enjoyed doing over the past ten years? What do you hope you could tell them? What can you do now that will make it more possible that you’ll be able to give that answer?
  10. Imagine that you’re hanging out with some friends ten years from now. Who do you hope will be there? Where do you hope you will be? What would you be talking about?
  11. What really motivates you to work toward your dreams? What keeps you going?
  12. What obstacles or challenges do you see between you and your hopes for the future? What are things you can do now to make it more likely that you’ll overcome those challenges?

For more information on Search Institute’s REACH Framework, request “The REACH Resources Overview” White Paper or join us for a free webinar today at 12:00pm CDT and learn how schools can use REACH to strengthen students’ motivation to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

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