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Get Your Priorities Straight!



This is a variation of the activity Priorities from my book (P. 279, Experiential Activities for Enhancing Emotional Intelligence: A Group Counseling Guide to the Keys to Success, Research Press 2014). It helps participants figure out what their priorities are.  It’s great for teens through adult (though, for adults, you may need to adapt the list below). Through the activity, participants will also examine:

  • whether their actions match up with their stated priorities

  • consider what priorities should be higher and lower

  • contemplate how their priorities may change in the future



Index cards and writing utensils (I like to use various colored markers)


The Action:

I begin the activity by having a brief discussion about what priorities are.  Once the group has defined this term, review the terms below and have participants write the words on index cards (1 word per card):

  • Family

  • Social

  • School

  • Money

  • Love Life

  • Physical

  • Spiritual


I offer participants an extra index card in case they would like to list something that is not already there (such as Video Games, Shopping, etc…). Once everyone has written the words on their index cards, ask the participants to put them in order.  The first one would represent their top priority and the last would be their lowest priority of the choices. This is to be done in silence.  Once they are done, have the participants lay out their priorities in order in columns (see picture below).  Once everyone has done this, ask for some observations.  The pictures here are from a recent group of 12 students.  Some initial observations were:

  • Most people had School and Spiritual either very high or very low

  • Most people had Money in the middle

  • The most common top priority was Family



I then asked for a volunteer to share why they placed their priorities as they did. Here are some other follow up questions that generate great discussions:

  • Do your actions show that the way you placed your priorities here is accurate? Would your parent/guardian agree? Change the order of your priorites based on your actions and behaviors.

  • Are there any priorities that you feel you should make higher or lower than they are now? Go ahead and move those to where you feel they should be.

  • How do you think your priorities will change as you get older?


Team Building

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