Do you know what you want to achieve?

Episode 7 of Part 1 of our Introduction series: Setting the stage for success.

Habits:  Know thyself | Scheduling

Skills:  Goals |  Plans

Description:  This episode introduces the value of setting goals. We begin by outlining the importance of writing your goals down, and then cover the value of different levels of goals – in particular creating big picture goals and progress goals to help you achieve. 


How this lesson might be applied in the classroom

The aim of this episode is to impress upon students the benefits of setting goals, particularly in the sense of achieving big picture outcomes in their lives. We first begin my suggesting that students not only create goals, but write them down. Research by Dr Gail Matthews at Dominican University of California suggests that there is a clear link to writing down goals and the achievement of them. See 'Further information on this topic' below for a summary of the research.

From here, the focus of this episode rests on defining the type of goals to set, which we've explained as:

  1. Big Picture Goals – bigger goals that you might look to achieve over 10 or more years.

  2. Progress Goals – the smaller goals that you'll need to meet along the way to achieve a Big Picture Goal.

Possible classroom discussion questions include:

  • Do you know what your Big Picture Goals are?

  • Does it matter if you can't think of a Big Picture Goal?

  • What actions could you take to discover a Big Picture Goal for yourself? (Note: this Introduction Series will begin to answer that question and support the actions needed, starting from the next episode)

  • Do you think your Big Picture Goal needs to be huge, or impressive? Why/Why not?

  • If you do have a Big Picture Goal, how easily could you come up with Progress Goals?

  • Who do you think could help you to think of Progress Goals?

  • Do you think having smaller Progress Goals will make achieving a Big Picture Goal seem easier, or more achievable? Why/Why not?

Some specific discussion points

Discussion of any literary works, historical figures, or current events featuring prominent individuals offers an opportunity to discuss individual goals, along with breaking Big Picture Goals down into possible Progress Goals as a form of practice. For example, if studying say Napoleon Bonaparte, a class could discuss what Napoleon's Big Picture Goal (or Goals) might have been, and what Progress Goals he might have needed to meet in order to achieve his bigger goal.

Some possible questions may include:

  • Do you think that goals can really make a difference? Why/Why not?

  • Do you think most successful people have written goals?

  • If successful people don't have written goals, how do they know what they want to achieve?

  • How do they know the steps to take in order to achieve what they want?

  • Which well known people in history or from today do you know of who have set and achieved Big Picture Goals?

  • Can you identify possible Progress Goals they had to meet along the way?

  • Is there someone you know of who has achieved a similar Big Picture Goal to your own?

  • Can you identify some of their Progress Goals, that might be good for you to also achieve?

  • Are there other things you can learn from their route to success to help you (e.g. what not to do)?

  • If you write down your goals, where can you put them so that you see them regularly as a reminder?

Discussing the quote from this episode:

"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible." — Anthony Robbins

Possible areas of discussion may include:

  • Do you think this comment is accurate? Why/Why not?

  • What does Robbins mean by 'turning the invisible into the visible"?

  • Do you believe that setting goals is a necessary first step to achieving anything?

  • If setting goals is the first step, what do think some important next steps might be?

Further information on this topic

If you'd like to dive a bit deeper on this topic, you might be interested in watching:


Derek Sivers – Keep Your Goals to Yourself.


Or you might like to read:

Dr Gail Matthews - Goals Research Summary
Dr. Gail Matthews, Dominican University of California. (click title above to view)

Personal Goal Setting: Planning to Live Your Life Your Way
An article featured on (click title above to view)

Please let us know how we could improve this episode?

We're always keen to hear how our work can be improved. If you can think of anything we can do to improve either the delivery of our content, the content itself, the exercises, or our guides to how the lesson can be applied in the classroom, please let us know.