plan ahead

Having a goal in mind is great, but without planning how you’ll do it, you’re unlikely to achieve your goal. Using this action plan template, can help you break down a goal into actionable steps that are easier to complete and make the goal seem more manageable. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Action Plan Annie is a character from the Centervention social skills game Adventures Aboard the SS GRIN. Annie teachers players in the game to break down their goal into small steps that can be completed one at a time. Using her action plan template, you start by writing your goal at the top. Then, write each step that will help you reach your goal in the order you need to complete the steps.

This activity will help students practice making an action plan by giving them different example goals, then having them put the actionable steps to reach the goal in order. Here’s an example:

Scenario: You would like to play on the basketball team at your school this year.

Actionable steps and goal (out of order)

  • Practice basketball drills
  • Make the basketball team
  • Sign up for tryouts for the basketball team
  • Play your best and hardest at tryouts

And here’s the actionable steps and goal in order this time:

Goal: Make the basketball team

Actionable steps:

  1. Practice basketball drills
  2. Sign up for tryouts for the basketball team
  3. Play your best and hardest at tryouts

Here’s another example that many adults could benefit from, too: saving money. While adults might want to buy a new washer/dryer or go on a vacation rather than buying a new video game, they could still benefit from thinking about actionable ways to save up rather than impulse buying on a credit card.

Scenario: A new video game you want is coming out soon, but your parents said you need to pay for it with your own money:

Actionable steps and goal (out of order)

  • Complete the jobs you thought of that will earn you money
  • Think of some ways you can make money
  • Buy the new video game
  • Save the amount of money the game costs

And here’s the actionable steps and goal in order this time:

Goal: Buy the new video game

  1. Think of some ways you can make money
  2. Complete the jobs you thought of that will earn you money
  3. Save the amount of money the game costs

After students have practiced with the sample goals in this activity, use the action plan template to help them create action plans for real life goals. Maybe a student wants to improve their reading level, or improve their behavior in class, or finally beat that video game they’ve been playing for a while. Use this to show your students that any goal can be reached if you focus on achieving the smaller steps it takes to get there.

Download the action plan activity here.