Lesson Title: A Lesson on How to Develop Good Habits, Reach Your Goals, and Improve Your Life: For Teens and Young & New Adults (preview)
Published on 10/30/17 by Carlos Salinas
*Lesson Preview only – complete lesson available here*
*All lessons are designed to be engaging, student-centered, and include Marzano’s learning strategies.
*Lesson contents are only suggestions. Teachers are encouraged to make necessary changes to meet their students’ needs and interests.
*Documents attached at bottom
*All BLUE text is internet links for resources outside of this lesson.
*More inspirational, motivational, quotes, fiction, and educational materials by Carlos Salinas at www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Carlos-Salinas & www.carlossalinaswriting.com
This lesson was born out of my personal improvement journey to become a better teacher, friend, brother, entrepreneur, and overall person. I studied books by Tony Robbins, Napoleon Hill, Jim Rohn, Sean Covey, John C. Maxwell, Martin Seligman, and countless other successful mentors and coaches and concentrated the strategies, wisdom, and steps needed for effective change for teens and young adults. Some topics discussed and aimed for improvement are:
· Psychology (Positive, Cognitive, Social, Behavioral, Industrial, and others)
· Psychosomatic Illness
· Positive & Negative Reinforcement and Punishment
· Behavior Modification
Everything in this lesson is worded in teen-friendly language with relatable ideas and situations adolescents would find themselves in.
Some notable Daily Thought titles are:
- The Beauty and Struggle of Self-Transformation
- Attitude is 99% of Success...and Write it Down!
- Hard Truths in Life We Must All Accept...But There’s Good Ones, Too!
- It’s not your potential that matters - it’s what you actually do! (And Ways to Stay Motivated)
- Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude!
- Patience, Small Grasshopper (Instant Gratification VS Delayed Gratification)
- Time Management (Don’t Spend Your Time...Invest it!)
- Handling Failure...Because Everyone Fails at Some Point
- Shifting from the Subconscious to the Conscious
- Happiness is a Muscle...so Work it Out!
A special note to teachers:
This is only Part I of this lesson. I expect the complete lesson to end up being around 45-60 days long and I would very much appreciate any constructive feedback and suggestions from you! Please send to me personally at email@example.com. I can also add you to my educational materials e-mail newsletter list if you would like to be notified when the complete lesson is available (as well as getting my other lessons for free). I would also love to connect with each and every one of you on my social networks linked below. Thank you in advance!
Objectives/US Standards (SUGGESTED)
● Students will take ownership of their own personal growth through reflection, self-analysis, and intrapersonal & interpersonal problem- solving
● Students will become more aware of their role and responsibility in their personal lives (school, work, relationships, and future goals)
● Students will have a heightened sense of awareness, self-determination, and self-reliance by the end of the lesson
● Students will have clear goals with clear, actionable daily steps to monitor and adjust their progress
This lesson plan (one copy per person)
- Show a clip of Kid President's Pep Talk to Teachers and Students! To get students motivated and excited to begin the journey of self-improvement.
Lesson Activities (SUGGESTED):
- I recommend having students sit in a circle with you (after video) to ensure participation and equality of status. They can take something to write with but must turn their phones and devices off and leave them in their backpacks at their desks or in front of the room. You could say something like, “You can give yourself 45 minutes of undivided attention to improve your future.Please be physically and mentally present with us. We are all in this together, myself included.”
- Pass out copies of Day One Thought.
- Read together as a class, small group, or individually as you see fit.
- Discuss Daily Thought as a class. Teacher is encouraged to share how they plan to use the Daily Thought in their life (modeling). This also shows students that personal growth never stops.
- Write alongside your students in the reflection section of the Daily Thought and share aloud (if appropriate and time permits).
- Close with showing enthusiasm and genuine buy-in to being on this rewarding personal journey alongside your students.
Helpful Internet Links:
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens FREE PDF Book
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People FREE PDF Book
Attitude PowerPoint Presentation
Join TeachersPayTeachers today and start earning passive income for your lessons!
Annotation Handout from ReadWriteThink.org
Brainstorming for Stories Video
More affordable teacher supplies on Amazon
The New Taxonomy (Marzano and Kendall, 2007)
Effective Questioning and Handouts
Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy
Teach Like a Champion Book on Amazon
Edutopia’s Classroom Management Article
25 Sure-Fire Strategies for Handling Difficult Students More of my original, engaging lessons on TPT
*It is recommended that teachers preview each resource (including videos) for appropriate audiences*
*All images used are in the public domain and/or a creative commons license with no attribution required, unless otherwise noted.
Hello! I am a passionate teacher and writer that loves to create lessons that are interactive, student-centered, original, and truly help teachers & students. I make custom lesson plans and materials that engage students and help them take ownership of their learning. I have 10 years of teaching experience in upper grades across all subjects (including teaching abroad in Costa Rica!). I have published three books, The Little Book of Big Quotes Vol. I , The Poems Vol. I, and Got the Flow: The Hip-Hop Diary of a Young Rapper on Amazon. I am currently working on a collection of short stories (excerpts available soon). I hope you find these materials helpful! Please consider signing up for my educational email newsletter for new, exclusive, and free materials including getting a free eBook copy of each of my books!
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You are about to start a journey that almost everyone wants to begin but very, very few people actually do! Throughout this lesson and life-improving process you will be on your way to a happier, more-fulfilling life as well as reaching your goals (and perhaps even goals you didn’t know you had!). Here in your hands you hold some priceless life lessons that other people had to learn the hard way.
Your success relies on your dedication to work hard and honestly on this lesson. You must also be consistent and work on it every day. It's not a one-time lesson you can get done in a week, or even a month. It's a continuous build-up of principles and requires you to track your progress and growth over the time it takes to fully complete this lesson … and then it continues some more. If change for the better was easy, everyone would be doing it. Yet, how many people do we know that have desired change but have not made any notable progress as long as they have been talking about it? Imagine if people spent that time actually practicing change instead of just talking about it!
Permanent and continuous change only comes from:
● daily awareness of where we are
● where we want to be
● how to get there
● and taking action immediately.
This lesson is by no means everything you will need, but it is certainly a great starting point!
What to Expect
This lesson is not intended to be a “My way or the highway” ultimatum. Instead, it should be taken apart and analyzed critically by thinking it through and accepted only if it makes sense to you and proves itself effective in helping you reach your goals.
“Use what helps you and throw away the rest” is my personal philosophy and was constantly on my mind when I wrote this lesson. That’s how I personally approach any self-help book and advice from other people, too.
I also love bulleted lists because it removes clutter on the page and helps break long text into more manageable chunks. Feel free to use your device to snap a picture of any list, section, or image that you particularly liked and share it on social media. I humbly request that you tag me! I’m on Instagram as “Learningisawesomewithmrsalinas” and Facebook as “Carlos Salinas Author”. I look forward to connecting with you!
We are human. That is a wonderful thing, but it comes with being patient and understanding ourselves. We will inevitably go back to our old ways at times but do not mistake this temporary regression for lack of growth! Part of doing something new is failing at first and regressing to our old ways. DO NOT LET THIS FACT DISCOURAGE YOU OR MAKE YOU GIVE UP. Old habits are hard to break, but it is possible through focused dedication and action. Acknowledge your mistake(s) for the day, promise yourself that you will do better the next day, and then call it a day. Hold yourself accountable by keeping track of all your back steps in your progress but do not focus on them and let them trick you into thinking that you’ll never change and then give up. Most people think success looks like a straight line and only like that. In reality, success looks like a dance: one step forward and two steps back, two steps forward and one step back, and so on. It changes depending on the dancer and the music but the show must go on! Remember that you cannot be defeated if you never give up.
The picture above shows what the path to success really looks like. There will be several distractions along the way (friends, parties, etc.) and there is a time and place for fun and relaxation, remember that. Relationships, having fun, and having a social life are all important factors in growing up. But when it’s critical for you to show up and put in all the hard work and time, remember that you’re main focus is your goal.
“Do not sacrifice what you want now for what you really want in the future.”
● You are on your way to making yourself the best you can be...so be proud!
● Success is like a dance with steps forward and a few steps backwards and that is OK
● Work hard so you can play hard later
● Stay focused on your long-term goals
● Don’t give up on this lesson or yourself!
What you will need for this lesson:
● This lesson
● Pencil or pen (different colors help a lot)
● A journal and folder/binder to keep your personal notes and entries in
Fill in the table based on what you just read.
Things that surprised me
Things I knew and were confirmed
Things I’m looking forward to in this lesson
1. Where I am today compared to yesterday. Make sure to include even the “smallest” improvements because small changes made over time add up to big changes with big results! For example, you’re working on this lesson and writing down your reflection which is something you weren’t doing yesterday.
*Remember, you are not limited to these reflection questions. You can always write about anything you choose in your personal journal!
Day 1 Thought: The Beauty and Struggle of Self-Transformation
Change is never easy. Change may not be permanent. For the purpose of this lesson we will define change as movement and progress towards a positive goal. Too often we do not take action because of fear or negative emotions. We then tell ourselves that we will act on our goals when we feel better. The irony is that acting on our goals will actually make us feel better!
A lot of people seem to think that life is all about working hard. Others seem to think that it’s all about emotions and just being happy. I would suggest that there is a fine balance for both of these to lead a happy, fulfilling life. Of course there will be slight differences in how much of each thing each person prefers in their life, but the average will be similar for most humans. If you are in school an average of eight hours a day, that’s one-third of your day dedicated to working! Problems start when people try to play when it’s time to work and also when they try to work when it’s time to play. For example, if you have a paper due next Monday but you skipped class and didn’t take notes because you were texting, sleeping, or whatever. It’s now Friday morning, leaving three days to complete the assignment, and you find out that your friends are going on a trip and you really want to go. Now you are faced with working when you should be playing because you spent your time playing when you should’ve been working.
Of course, there are extenuating circumstances, such as:
● death in the family
● car troubles
Even with these extenuating circumstances, people that are truly hungry for success show extra effort in making up for lost time. Teachers will bend over backwards when they see a student so hungry for success. Do not try to pass off something that is in your control as something you can’t control. Some examples of playing instead of working are:
● hitting the snooze button too many times
● not being fully present during work time (texting, daydreaming, socializing, doodling, etc.)
● not working to the best of your ability (doing the bare minimum)
So show up on time, try your (honest) best, and do what you have to do when you have to do it. Also be respectful of others’ time; especially your time, because you can never get it back!
Staying busy and productive will also keep your emotions in check in a healthy way. For example, while forgetting your lunch or getting caught in the rain is never a good thing, the positive vibes you get from learning something new or working on a passion project is a very powerful force to help keep the minor inconveniences in perspective. One personal example I can share from my life was after my first book-signing event. I remember specifically that after leaving the bookstore that day it started raining and I didn’t mind that my stuff and clothes were getting wet because I was so positively-charged from all of the great interactions I had that day. I actually thought it was funny! It was all about perception.
Do not think that positive and productive people do not experience negative emotions and events in their lives, because they do. Their lives may just be more balanced than others and they may have more tools (more self-awareness, self-confidence, self-reliance) to help them cope and recover more efficiently and in a healthier manner. Sadness, anger, grief, and other unpleasant emotions have a purpose...but it’s not to run or ruin your life.
The Comfort Zone
“You must be willing to sacrifice what you are for what you will become.”
Your comfort zone is a convenient thing and often saves time from having to learn too many new things when it just isn’t practical. It makes it easier to order food (we tend to order the same things every time and that’s why they call it “The usual”), pick out our clothes, or listen to the same music over and over. Humans are creatures of habit. If it ain’t broke, we don’t fix it. Many times in our lives the only times we are pushed out of our comfort zones, it is not by our own choices. Often it’s a teacher, or trusted adult, and we often learn something and grow in the process.
The Function of Fear
Of course there are limits and realistic expectations when going outside your comfort zone, specifically, when it comes to survival. Fear is sometimes the only thing that keeps us alive in a world full of possible dangers. For example, if you are trained snake-handler with the knowledge of the different types of snakes and their venom, you can do just fine when you’re faced with a big snake in your back yard. There is still risk, of course, but it can be somewhat minimized with those skills and experience. If you do not know anything about snakes, you will definitely be out of your comfort zone...and for good reason! The fear you would feel is your mind telling you to avoid unnecessary danger. When we perceive something as dangerous or scary but it is good for us, our body can react in the same way and confuse us. If you are ever in doubt ask yourself these questions to help you figure out if it is good for you:
- What do I have to gain?
- What do I have to lose?
- Could it kill me?
When in doubt it always helps to talk to a trusted adult or parent that can give you good advice!
● Act on your goals today and that will make you feel better about yourself
● Stepping out of our comfort zone in safe way leads to personal growth
● Not all fear is equal; sometimes fear saves your life!
For further research:
The Psychology of Self-Transformation (YouTube Video)
1. Think about something you could do that is outside your comfort zone but not dangerous to yourself or anyone else. Is it saying “Hi” to someone you have a crush on? Is it trying out for a sport at your school? Are you hiding a talent you have because you’re worried about what people will say or think? Write down something you could do today or tomorrow that will push you out of your comfort zone and will you make proud of yourself.
2. Now think about what you will gain from this experience. Making new friends, being more comfortable being who you are, getting better at something, etc.
3. Draw a picture of yourself going outside your comfort zone and doing the thing that will make you grow. Be creative!
Day 2 Thought: Attitude is 99% of Success...and Write it Down!
Several psychologists have done experiments where they concluded that actions can (and do) change attitudes. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Fake it ‘til you make it”? In a way, that statement is very true and I can testify to its effectiveness from a personal example. For years, from around the time I was seventeen, I had always wanted to write. I would scribble down lyrics, story ideas, quotes, and other stuff on scraps of paper. I even used napkins sometimes before the idea left my brain forever. It wasn’t until I was twenty-six that I read a quote by a famous writer that said, “Writers don’t just sit around dreaming and talking about writing; writers write.” The sound logic in this quote suddenly sparked an inspiration inside me that I quickly began writing my first book of quotes. I was determined to write, even when I didn’t feel like it, because I decided to finally accept that I was going to be a writer. Money, fame, and success didn’t matter. I had one goal: to write all the stories and ideas I had in my head and share them with the world. I stopped talking about writing and dreaming of being a writer and actually became a writer that was writing. I’m not telling you this story to impress you; I’m sharing it because I have seen the power that action has on changing attitudes. My internal thoughts of “I’d like to be a writer someday”, “What if they don’t like my work?”, and “What if I never make it as a successful writer?” were changed to “I am going to write a complete short story, I don’t know how long it will take me or if it will be any good, but I will write it” and “Stop thinking about this idea and write it down!”.
There’s something powerful about writing a goal and committing it down on paper; it solidifies your goal consciously and subconsciously. It helps guide your future choices to make sure that they are aligned with what your end-goal is. I hand-wrote my goals on some paper and taped them on my walls. I also found some inspirational quotes on writing and did the same. They were also in my journal where I dog-eared the page for easy reference in the future.
Write yours down and review them in your journal or on your phone every morning. Too busy to do that? Record them as audio and listen to it as you’re getting ready in the morning. Use headphones if you have to. Find some inspirational and motivational quotes and add them next to your goals everywhere you post them. Remember, “Get up get it done. No excuses. None.”
I started acting like a writer (by writing, journaling, making plot outlines, and studying the craft through books and videos, and then applying what I learned right away.) This is key: learn just enough of what you need to get started and then get started! You don’t have to learn everything at once. In fact, you can’t, and that’s okay! When you learn how to do something, it helps to learn a little part and practice that first because it gives you confidence and momentum to then learn the next part, then the next, and so on. For example if you’re learning to drive, you can first learn how to inspect the tires, fasten your seat belt, adjust your mirrors, and turn on the car correctly before ever actually moving the car. If you were very anxious about it and would never want to actually drive on the first few lessons, this would be a great way to start. It familiarizes you with the idea and process of driving and you begin to see yourself as an actual driver. Then you can move on to using the pedals and practicing driving slowly.
How often do we know we need to do something but delay and procrastinate those things we need to be done? One of the most empowering things we can do for ourselves is doing things we need to do especially when we do not want to them. Not only will that check it off your to-do list but it will show you that you are more disciplined than before and that boosts your self-confidence and self-image overall. You start to see yourself as a productive person because that is what you are becoming. This then makes you want to do more things you have to do, bringing you more success. I personally have experienced this with a box of papers that I needed to shred in my home office. I would just shuffle them around from shelf to shelf, under my desk, in a closet. I ended spending more time (overall) looking for new places to store it than it would’ve taken me to have just shred them! One day, I was moving it again and finally told myself:
“Get up get it done, no excuses, none.”
And I sat down to shred them. It took me about an hour and two trips to my trash can outside my house but when it was done, it was done. I felt more productive and then got back to writing with a renewed sense of accomplishment, and therefore, enthusiasm. While I realize that it took an hour of my writing time, it was more than worth it because I worked better and more efficiently than if I would’ve still had that hour. Sometimes sacrifices are necessary for the long run. Like the lesson from Aesop’s Fable “The Dove and the Ant” where they help each other out, one good turn deserves another, meaning that doing something that’s good for you will make it more likely that you will do another thing that’s good for you.
Remember that procrastination is often a mask that fear wears. We may fear failing and we may fear success. Just do something, any little action, that brings you closer to your end-goal. Want to start working out more? Clear out an area for your workouts or call a gym and just get prices. Better yet, sign up already! Want to start eating healthier? Give away that soda you brought for lunch today and get a bottle of water instead. If you have to, spill the soda out and fill it up with water from the water fountain! By doing that you just transformed from being a person that wanted to eat healthier to someone that is actually eating healthier! Do what you need to do… by any means necessary.
● Act on your goals today.
● Try to catch yourself when you’re about to procrastinate and do what you need to do!
● Write down your goal somewhere (notebook, phone, wall, palm, etc.) and review every morning. No excuses.
● Reflect on what your goals are in the morning before you get up. Reflect on how you made progress or achieved them before you go to sleep.
For further research:
This is the first step towards positive change in your life. Remember this moment; it will one day be a memory of the day that you took control of your destiny!
1. I want to be _______________________________________________________________.
2. I want this because _________________________________________________________.
3. I know I can achieve this because __________________________________________.
4. What goal, no matter how small, can you accomplish today to help you get closer to your bigger goal?
5. People that can help me are ____________________ and they can help me in the following ways: ____________________________________________________.
6. Visualize your success; because it will motivate you. Imagine yourself accomplishing the goal you wrote above, then the next goal, and then the next. How do you feel? Where are you? What are you wearing? Who is there with you? Where do you go to celebrate? What do you do there?
7. Where will you put your goals to make sure you see them every day?
*Lesson Preview only – complete lesson available here*