My Goals, My Path

Family Modules

Middle School Module 1 Part 3



Objective: The student will list at least 3 life-goal options and describe the steps that he or she will need to take during and after high school to accomplish those goals.

Estimated time 30-45 minutes

Materials needed:

Classroom curriculum Link:

This section corresponds with middle school classroom materials Module 1 Lesson 3.

Parents Chime In

Take a few minutes to tell your child about your high school memories. How did you feel on your first day of high school? What were you the most surprised about by high school. What are some of your strongest memories? Ask your child these questions before you begin the lesson:

  • What do you already know about high school?
  • What do you want to know about high school?
  • As you progress through the lesson, you will be able to get rid of any false assumptions your child might hold and clear up potential misunderstandings.

Learn About It

You hear teachers, parents, coaches, and other people talk to you about setting goals all of the time. You probably set goals on January 1st, at the beginning of each school year, and many times in between. Most of the time, these are short-term goals that you may achieve or you may forget about. As you stand prepared to enter high school, you need to take a good hard look at the things you want to do with your life. These are called long-term goals. In looking at your long-term goals, you have a short-term choice each day to think about how you are going to act or react to the things that come your way. What will you do to prepare yourself for your long-term goals? The little boy in the video has got a pretty good handle on what’s important. Let’s focus for a moment on what he really says!

Parents Chime In

Watch the short video above with your child, then talk to him or her about the discussion points below. Much of what the little boy says can apply to you as an adult as well. Talk openly with your child about the areas where you may need to improve. Talk about holding each other accountable for changing things in your lives that need to be improved. Middle school students don’t always want to talk to their parents, so take this opportunity to talk about the boy in the video, then apply the lessons to your own lives!

Words of Wisdom from the Future Kid President

Video Discussion Points

The little boy in the video is definitely cute, but there’s much more to him than that. What is it that makes him likeable? How is his attitude different from many attitudes that you may be around at school or at home? Read the following quotes from the video and discuss them with your parent or guardian.

  • “We need people like you to change some stuff.”
  • “Throw kindness around like it’s confetti.”
  • “When life gives you lemons, you’ve got to make lemonade, and drink it, and then you dance.”
  • “There’s the way things are, and the way things could be, and there’s you.”
  • “Believing in people is contagious.”
  • “Change a little and then you can change a lot.”
  • “What does the future look like? Will there be flying cars? Will there be jet packs? Will there be hover boards? I don’t know! If you build them, there will be.”
  • “What does the future look like for you?”
  • “You can be ANYTHING you want today.”
  • “One of the super powers that we all have is the ability of changing the future.”
  • “You have the ability to change the world.”
  • “You might not feel like you have that much, but you have right now and that’s a lot!”
  • “Tomorrow will be better because of how awesome you’re going to make today!”
  • “We always believe in you!”

Options after High School

You may finish watching that video feeling like you can conquer the world! It should make you feel that way, but now you’ve got to figure out what to do with those feelings and how to put them into action.

As you enter high school, you don’t have to have your future set in stone, but it is a good idea to have a vision for where you want to go. When you graduate from high school, you have 4 basic options.

  • School to work
  • School to military
  • School to technical school or community college
  • School to university.

Which of those interest you? Is there more than one that you might want to try? The best thing to do now, as a rising freshman, is to aim high. Even if you don’t know how you’d pay for college, if you’d be accepted, or where you’d live, get on that track when you start high school. You have plenty of time to work out the details over the next 4 years. It’s much harder to change to a more rigorous academic track than it is to drop to a less rigorous one.

Not everything is in your control, but choosing a path that aligns with your career or post high school goals is in your control! Don’t give up on your goals too quickly just because you think something will be too hard, too expensive, or too far away. Some of those issues can be worked out, and you never know what opportunities will be around the corner if you are diligent about preparing to reach your goals.

How do you decide what to do?

You’ve seen the 4 options, but that doesn’t necessarily tell you exactly what to do. You may want to do what your parents or older siblings have done, or you may think one of them sounds interesting, but you don’t have all of the necessary information about it. Take a good long look at yourself and get to know yourself! Use this web of reflective questions as a guide to learn more about who you are

Decision Making and Goal Setting

Setting goals is essential to long-term success. You need to know where you are going in order to get there! In addition to the questions from the bubble map, consider these questions as you begin planning your future.

  • What careers interest you? What would you like to accomplish as an adult?
  • What field of study are you considering?
    • What are your interests?
    • What are your values?
    • What are your strengths?
    • Do these fields of study align with your career and long-term life goals?
  • What level of education are you considering?
    • Does this level of education align with your career or long-term life goals?
    • What steps will you take to reach your education goals?
    • What research do you need to do in order to know what steps to take?

Types of Goals

Many times when you’ve been asked to set goals, they have been focused on academic choices, decisions about your future, or behavioral goals. Believe it or not, there are many different types of goals. You may be surprised by some of the types of goals that you have never thought about before. Look at this list to prepare for the next topic, setting short-term and long-term goals.

Let's Talk about Long-Term Goals

now, graduating from high school can seem like a long-term goal, much less knowing what you want to do after high school. The thing about long-term goals is that they can be changed along the way, but you need to have a vision for where you are going and not just leave it to chance. Long-term goals require time and planning. First, create a clear picture of what you think you want to do. From there, work backwards. Think about what you want to achieve, then plan steps going back to what you can do right now. This will give you a series of short-term goals that will lead you to your long-term goals.

Let's Talk about Short-Term goals

Long term, short term…you might not see the value in both yet, so let’s drill down a little and take a good look at short-term goals. Short-term goals are goals that can be accomplished in less than 6 months. Long-term goals are often large and vague. Thinking about them can be exciting, but also overwhelming. While long-term goals help you set your vision for the future, they are just that: “long-term.” If you plan some short-term steps that will enable you to get closer and closer to these large goals, you’ll realize that reaching these goals consists of a series of manageable (even if not easy) smaller steps.

Short-term goals

  • Are often created with a long-term goal in mind.
  • Create momentum and keep motivation high.
  • Are like a pulse check on the way to your long-term goal.
  • Keep you on track.
  • Can boost your self-confidence.
  • Can help you identify areas that need more attention.
  • Measure performance and progress.

As you achieve some of your short-term goals, reexamine your other short-term goals and adjust them as needed. You may have to adjust multiple times to reach your ultimate long-term goal. Short-term goals are part of a natural process that help you along the way to achieving your long-term goals.

Parents Chime In

Your child will have time at the end of the lesson to set some long- and short-term goals, but take a few minutes to check their understanding of goal setting. Discuss a couple examples of things that your child has wanted to do in the past and the steps they took to get there.

For example, if your child wanted to play basketball for a team, what did he or she have to do to prepare? Perhaps he or she had to learn to dribble, pass, and shoot short and long shots, and also learn the rules of the game. Each of these things would have been a short-term goal.

Let's Talk about Salary

Before you take the time to set your goals, it’s important to get a good picture of the different jobs that are available. In today’s world, there are jobs that you might not even know about. You’ll find some of the more common jobs listed here, but take a few minutes to search for careers in fields that interest you. Ask your parent or guardian for help if you need it!

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

People have been asking you this question since you were a toddler. In fact, you probably said it or wrote it when you graduated from preschool. Your answer was probably along the lines of a teacher, firefighter, or police officer. Those 3 things are great ambitions, but they are not the only 3 careers available. As you begin to seriously consider what you want to do one day, watch this video of Sandra Bullock giving a graduation speech to high school graduates. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting in that seat. It’s better to go into high school prepared than just to hope someone will tell you what to do. Enjoy the video, and start getting those wheels turning: what do you want to be when you grow up?

Try it out

You’ve learned a lot about goals and careers; now it’s your turn to write your own goals. You can use this sheet as a guide for your planning. The most important part is to set 3 long-term goals for yourself from the different categories discussed earlier in the lesson. Think of it as giving your future self good advice!

In addition to setting those goals, you also need to have realistic short-term goals that will help you reach your long-term goals. Remember that these aren’t set in stone; you can change them as you go along.

If setting 3 at one time is too much to handle, set one and then come back to it later. Just don’t forget to come back to it! This is exciting; have fun!

Click here to download the "Advice to your future self" worksheet.


Additional Activity

Goals are important for everyone, but they can also serve to bond an organization, a group, or even a family. To take this activity one step further, challenge your family to set one long-term goal and then the short-term goals needed to get to that long-term goal.

For example, you may want to take a big trip together as a family. If that is your long-term goal, then what would the short-term goals be? Or, you might want to help a family in need. If that is your long-term goal, then what would the short-term goals be? Be creative and think outside of the box. Your family could make a big difference!

Parents Chime In

Parents, you might want to give your child some independence in creating short- and long-term goals, but you’ll definitely want to review them together. Make sure that your child has realistic short-term goals that will give him or her a sense of accomplishment.

Follow Up

Congratulations, you have a plan for your future! How does it feel? Remember: just because it’s a plan doesn’t mean that it is set in stone for the rest of your life. A lot of things will change over the next 4 years, but now you are prepared for the next step. Take the time to talk to someone and review your goals. Make sure that you can tell him or her the following things:

  • What type of goal did you set?
  • What short-term steps you will take to reach your long-term goal?
  • How do your interests and strengths line up with the careers that interest you?

Digging Deeper

Objective Check

Have you accomplished today's objective?

Objective: The student will list at least 3 life-goal options and describe the steps that he or she will need to take during and after high school to accomplish those goals.

If so, congratulations!

If not, review the Setting Goals and Career Options Resources again and discuss the questions at the end of this lesson with your parent.