Purpose: Students identify goals as short term, medium range, and long term.
1. Students recognize that long-term goals can be broken down into short-term and medium-range goals.
On the board, write the following: “Eat a good meal. Concentrate on math homework. Pass tests. Graduate. Study for math tests. Pass classes.” Explain to students that the goal here is to graduate from high school. Challenge students to order the events so that this goal can be achieved. Ask students to suggest an order.
Summarize the process:
- You had to eat a good meal in order to concentrate on your homework and study for your tests effectively. These are examples of short-term goals.
- By studying effectively, you were able to pass your tests and therefore pass your classes. These are examples of medium-range goals.
- Achieving those short-term goals and medium-range goals allowed you to graduate. That is a long-term goal.
2. Students examine stepping-stone goals.
Tell students that the things you have to do now or soon in order to accomplish your goals are stepping-stone goals.
Explain stepping-stone goals as the following:
- Short-term goals are objectives that you want to achieve in a short time frame—an hour from now, today, or as far as a month away. Short-term goals can also be things you have to do along the way to reach your medium-range or long-term goals.
- Medium-range goals are objectives that you want to achieve that will take more time, between a month or so and a year. Medium-range goals can be achieved on the way to reaching long-term goals.
- Long-term goals are objectives that you want to achieve in the future, whether you hope to accomplish them a few years from now or when you are much older.
Explain to students that stepping-stone goals help us to achieve realistic goals in realistic periods of time.
3. Students set stepping-stone goals for themselves.
Distribute the “On Your Way” activity sheet. Tell students to choose one of the long-term goals that they identified on the “My Goals” activity sheet and write it in the top box on the “On Your Way” activity sheet.
Allow students to choose a realistic goal for themselves. Circulate the room and ensure that students have chosen appropriate long-term goals. Say to students, “Backtrack, and decide what goal you need to accomplish just before you achieve your long-term goal. Put that in the second box from the top. Continue backtracking until you identify all of the short-term goals necessary to reach the long-term goal.”
Have students complete the activity sheet. Work with students to fill in the entire staircase so that it begins with a simple, easily attainable task.
4. Students add deadlines to their action plan.
Point out to students that what they have developed is only the start of an action plan. Most complete action plans include some kind of time line. Tell students that they are now going to revisit their stepping-stone goals and set deadlines. Remind students to be realistic and to work backward, using their time frames for their long-term goals.
Have students add deadlines to their stepping-stone goals. Then, review with students the following steps of an action plan:
- Determine your long-term goal.
- Establish stepping-stone goals (which include short-term and medium-range goals).
- Set deadlines for completing each goal.
- Complete each step on time.
- Continue until you attain your goal.