How to be More Responsible: 7 Tips for Teens and Young Adults

Do you ever look at someone and it seems like they’ve just got everything figured out? They always seem to know what to do, how to act, and how to take care of everything.

You’re probably picturing a very responsible person. They know what needs to be done, and how to do – and when they don’t know those things – they know the steps to find them out.

All in all, this type of person can be very comforting to be around since they just have an aura of being able to handle whatever comes your way whether it’s a group project, something at work, or an interpersonal situation.

The teenage and young adult years are when many people are still learning to be more responsible. It could be that they just haven’t really been challenged before, or haven’t had the freedom to really develop stronger levels of responsibility, or sometimes it just takes a little more effort for some folks.

Either way, here are some helpful tips to help you or someone you care about figure out how to be more responsible.

Tips for How to be More Responsible as a Teenager

How to be More Responsible as a Teenager

The tips that will help you be more responsible as a teenager are pretty much the same as the things that will help you be more responsible as an adult, too. If you’re wise enough as a teenager to work on these things, your adult self will thank you. If you’re an adult already, it’s never too late to start living a more responsible life.

Do you want to be more responsible with your health? You don’t need to follow all of the bodybuilding tips for teens, but some basic exercise and movement is crucial.

1. Keep Track Of Your Obligations and Responsibilities

It’s very irresponsible to forget about your responsibilities, your obligations, or things that you told people you would do.

You don’t need to have an incredible, perfect memory to stay on top of everything. You just need to develop a habit of writing things down, taking notes, and checking over your notes.

Whether you’re saving voice memos or text notes in your phone, or you actually keep a pen and paper with you, it’s important to write things down (you could even keep a journal for teens). If you tell a friend that you’ll look something up for them, and you actually do it and follow through, that goes a long way.

but more so, if you become someone who isn’t reliable, or you find yourself often telling people “Oh shoot, sorry, I forgot!” then it’s time to come up with a strategy to stop doing that and taking notes is the key.

2. Learn to Prioritize Things

prioritizing and being responsible for teens

One of the secrets you’ll learn as you get older is that there isn’t some magic way to balance absolutely everything in life – you have to learn to prioritize.

When you try to spin too many plates at once, some of them will inevitably fall, and being responsible means knowing which plates to keep spinning, and which ones to let fall.

It’s not always obvious at first to know which things to prioritize the most and which things to not worry about, but being mindful of this in the first place is a great start.

One pitfall that teenagers can fall into is to get a job and put all of their time and energy towards it, which can lead to their school becoming a lower priority.

Having a bit of extra cash in your teenage years can be a great feeling, but losing focus of your studies can also mean that you’ll earn less throughout the rest of your life. This is one of the disadvantages of after school jobs, for instance.

3. Take on the Characteristics of a Responsible Person

Think about somebody you know that you consider to be responsible, and think about why you view them in that way. Next, try to think about those characteristics and how you might be able to adapt them to your own life.

Another exercise you can do, instead of imagining a real person, is to create an imaginary person in your mind and imagine that they are as responsible as possible. Imagine they are the ideal version of responsibility that you would like to learn and adapt for yourself. Now, think about how you can adapt those same traits from this imaginary, ideal figure.

Being responsible doesn’t mean being perfect, though. You can set a high-standard, but at the end of the day, don’t beat yourself up for being human.

You aren’t irresponsible if you make a single mistake, it’s when there is a recurring pattern of aloofness and you aren’t taking steps to overcome it that the label might start to fit.

How to be More Responsible in School

How to be More Responsible in School

Do you want to take school more seriously, and take more responsibility for your success in school and ultimately in life?

Here are some tips that you can follow. Pick and choose the ones that hit you the best, don’t try to do absolutely everything at once, it’ll be overwhelming. If you consider yourself to be a 3/10 or a 4/10 student right now, don’t aim to suddenly become a 10/10 student overnight.

Work on a few of these points, and see if you can get yourself to a 5/10 or a 6/10, then from there the step to 7/10, 8/10, and finally to becoming a perfectly responsible student will be much smaller, more attainable goals.

Build these habits of responsible students gradually, and build one on top of the next as you progress.

4. Sit at the front of the class to be more responsible in your studies

You don’t have to be in the very front row, but sitting closer to the teacher means that you’re less likely to get distracted by kids nearby who are talking or not paying attention, just by virtue of the teacher being right there, the people near the front are generally going to be more focused on the schoolwork. You’ll also have a better view of the board, which can be helpful.

5. Overcome your excuses

Making excuses for yourself can be a defense mechanism, even if they are perfectly valid excuses and these reasons can perfectly justify why you’re falling behind in school.

Part of being responsible means taking responsibility for your path, even if your current situation isn’t your fault, you’re the one who can make it better, even if it’s gradual, you can take the steps to overcome whatever is holding you back in school and it’s on you to do that.

Take advantage of support and resources that exist, and just get it done. It’s okay to acknowledge barriers that aren’t your fault, in fact that’s a good first step towards overcoming them, but it’s that second step of doing so that will make all the difference.

6. Avoid procrastination to be more responsible at school

Whatever you need to get done for school is going to take the same amount of time whether you do it immediately, or you wait until right before it’s due. If you can get in the habit of doing things as soon as you can.

Instead of putting them off, you’ll enjoy your free time a whole lot more than if you “cash in” your free time first, with that shadow of your schoolwork looming over your shoulder the whole time until you finally cave and rush it at the last minute.

7. Be more responsible: Learn to keep a schedule

This goes hand in hand with our last point on how to be more responsible in school. Being able to stick to a schedule is like a superpower when it comes to getting things done throughout the rest of your life.

Being able to decide, hey, I need to do such and such things by such and such time, and then sticking to it, is very powerful. Of course, it’s easier said than done. If you’re new to scheduling, start with one or two things a day instead of trying to write your entire day in stone.

One of the most useful things you can accomplish during the high school years is to learn to keep a schedule.

Final Thoughts on How to be More Responsible for Teens

Whether you’re trying to be more responsible in general, or trying to learn how to be more responsible in school, there are some common steps you can take to get ahead.

Don’t try to go from 0 to 100 overnight, it takes time to build these habits and to find the approach that works best for you.

When you show that you can be more responsible, it’s more likely that your parents will feel more comfortable when you go to a high school party, or ask for extra freedoms that come with extra responsibilities.

Start by trying to do one or two things to be more responsible, and once they become second nature, build on top of that foundation and you’ll notice some incredible changes over the course of months and years. It’s about setting habits of responsibility that will stay with you for life, not just being super responsible for a week or two and then falling back into your old ways.

Mat Woods

Author Information

Mat Woods is the lead writer at He works tirelessly alongside the rest of the team to create useful, well-researched, trustworthy articles to help parents and their teens.