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My Life. My plan: Teen

Take Charge of Your Life. Make a Life Plan.

It is never too early to start planning for the future. Take charge of your life! Now is the time to take better care of yourself, figure out what kind of person you want to be, set goals, and decide what things you want for your life. And most important, it’ll help you understand how a pregnancy will affect your goals — even if being a parent could be years away for you. Educate yourself so you can take the best care possible of your health — and stay true to living the life you want. That’s where a Life Plan comes in to help you make healthy decisions along the way. That way, when you are faced with many life choices, you’ll be ready.

Three teens smiling as they take charge of their lives with a Life Plan

Why do I need a life plan?

Teen life can be complicated. It is never too early to start planning for the future.

Educate yourself so you can take the best care possible of your health — and stay true to living the life you want. A Life Plan helps you make healthy decisions along the way. That way, when you are faced with many life choices, you’ll be ready.

There’s so much going on in your body and your mind. You want answers to some questions, maybe a lot of questions, especially when it comes to sex and your health. Do you want children some day? Are you continuing your education after high school or will you start working right away? There’s so much you want to do in the next few years. It can be so exciting to be thinking ahead to those things or to feel discouraged if those plans are changed in a significant way. So, it’s important to think about the future and have a life that you plan. In that plan, your health needs to come first.

Let’s start a life plan

Review the following information to decide what is most important to you in life.

Think about what kind of person you want to be. A leader, an influencer, an entrepreneur, a trailblazer, a spokesperson for your community, a volunteer, or being part of a team. What type of impact do you want to have on the world?

Teenage girl smiling thinking about her future career

Decide Your Career

Ask yourself:

  • Do you want to go to college or trade school, or start your own business?
  • What career are you interested in? What things are you good at?
  • What job will earn the amount of money that could make you financially independent?

Steps to achieve this:

  • Work hard in school and stay on track to receive your high school diploma.
  • Decide whether or not you want to go to college and talk to your school counselor for guidance and how to apply. DelawareStudentSuccess.org can help you prepare.
  • Talk to your school guidance counselor about the next steps with your education, scholarships for school, and how to apply for financial help to pay for tuition.
  • Be smart about your digital presence and social media use.

Helping teens be healthy and change behavior before pregnancy is part of the solution of lessening unplanned pregnancies.

Teen running track as part of taking care of his physical health

Physical Health

  • Aim to make healthier food choices whenever possible.
  • Be physically active for at least 60 minutes, 3–5 times a week.
  • Stay away from substances such as alcohol, tobacco, vaping, nicotine, marijuana, and illegal drugs. kbgde.org offers information on how to live tobacco- and nicotine-free lifestyles.
  • Schedule and attend your yearly regular check-ups with your health care provider and dentist.
  • Take care of your health now. Discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your health with your physician.
  • School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) are located in school settings offering physical, emotional, and preventative care. Check out locations.
  • Ask your parents and family members about their health — some health conditions run in families. They could affect the children you might have someday.
  • Make a promise to yourself to stay healthy. Talk to your health care provider about your sexual health — especially about using abstinence or birth control.

Abstinence. The only 100% effective way to not have a baby and to avoid STIs/STDs is to not have sex.

Teen girl stressed about a pregnancy test. What if I find out I'm pregnant?

What if I Find Out I’m Pregnant?

Make sure you and your baby have the best chance for a healthy life. Make sure you visit the doctor in your first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

There are many programs to help you.

Pregnancy Help
Teen friends taking a selfie

Develop Healthy Relationships

Ask yourself:

  • Do you want to be in a relationship?

Steps to achieve this:

  • Surround yourself with people who care, support, value, and respect you.
  • Think before you text, speak, or post something online. Be true to what you value and what kind of person you want to be. Don’t let other people influence you to do something that doesn’t match up with who you are.
  • Reach out to a trusted adult and get help if you are feeling bullied in any way such as verbally, physically, relationally, sexually, or cyberbullied.

Over 1 in 4 high school students report symptoms of depression.

Teens in a group talking about their emotional health

Emotional Health

Steps to achieve this:

  • Be in touch with your emotions and pay attention to what makes you happy, sad, or stressed.
  • Learning to be honest with yourself and find ways to calm yourself down in tough situations will make you a healthier person — mentally, spiritually, and physically.
  • You’re entitled to say “NO” now, even if you’ve said “yes” before.
  • Get help from a trusted adult or your health care provider if you feel you are being abused in any way.
  • Get help if you feel depressed, anxious, or sad for long periods of time or are thinking of hurting yourself. Dial 2-1-1, text your ZIP code to 898211, or ask your health care provider for help.

7 in 10 teens — both girls and boys — say they wish they had waited until they were older to have sex.

Teen dad with a child

Reproductive Life Plan

A Reproductive Life Plan is based on how you want to live your life. It’s a strategy you follow to prevent a teen pregnancy.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you want children someday? If so, when, and how many?
  • Do you have a plan to prevent a teen pregnancy? What is your strategy — abstinence or birth control?
  • How could a teen pregnancy affect your life and your goals? PowerToDecide.org can help.

Steps to achieve this:

  • Stay healthy now — it will give you the best chance of having a healthy baby when the time is right.
  • Take the time to learn the facts about sexual health and the reproductive cycle. Learning about your body at a young age can help you understand the changes that it will go through as you are growing through womanhood.
  • Wait until you are ready to have sex. Ask yourself, “Am I responsible and ready for a sexual relationship?” and stick to your decision.
  • Talk to your partner about how you feel being in a sexual relationship. Practice safe sex and protect yourself from STIs and STDs.
  • You’re entitled to say “NO” now, even if you’ve said “yes” before. And if your partner pressures you or doesn’t understand, you don’t have to be with them.
  • Discuss your Reproductive Life Plan strategy with your health care provider, counselor, or parent.
Image of the DE Thrives Teen Life Plan Checklist

Ready to make a plan?

Practice these lifestyle choices and you will become more satisfied of the choices that you are making for yourself. You will slowly begin to figure out what kind of person you want to be, and you can thank your Teen Life Plan for that!

Develop a plan for yourself.

Download Life plan PDF

Additional Resources

Below are resources and outside services that can help.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call or text 988 to be connected to a local Lifeline response center.

Delaware Student Success

Learn about preparing for life after high school.

Delaware Goes to College

Information about scholarships for school.

Examples of Delaware Thrives Teen Life Plan resources: posters, brochures, facts sheets

Order materials

Free resources

Need posters, brochures, fact sheets, and more? We have materials to help you share information for every life stage.

© 2024. Delaware Division of Public Health.