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June 26, 2017
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Have a better year!

Use this scenario to help young people to learn how to establish their annual objectives and priorities.


When to use it:

  • For personal planning (best to use at the end of the year, for the next year plan or at the beginning of the new year, no later than February).

Size of the group: 5 to 15 people

Age of the group: over 14 years old


Preparation: 60 minutes

Presentation: 60 minutes


  • 4 flipchart papers
  • sticky notes, 3 colours
  • 8 markers, 4 colours
  • A4 white papers, 5-15
  • 5-15 pens
  • 5-15 flavored lollipops



  • Prepare a written text describing a relaxing context in which the participants have the opportunity to think at their plans and objectives. For example: “Imagine that it’s the last day of the year 2017 and you are at home, relaxed, lying in bed in your own room, with your eyes shut and you are thinking: It has been a great year, I have made the most of it. What was happened during the year?”
  • Print the text in as many copies as the number of the participants at the workshop and cut the text for each participant with a scissor (one or two sheets of coloured paper where you could print the text in several copies is enough). 
  • Prepare three flipchart papers and write on each of them one of these three questions:  1. What does it take you to really take action on something? 2. Which are your habits for effectiveness? 3. Which are the Not Urgent – Not Important things for you?;
  • Read the summary of the Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People here:;
  • Read inspirational thoughts about planning from Examples: “To achieve a goal or a vision you must plan how to make it happen.”; “You cannot ‘do’ a goal or a vision. Instead you must do the things that enable it – usually several things, in several steps”; “A goal without a plan remains just a goal – many people have visions, intentions, ideas, dreams which never happen, because they are not planned.”; “A plan makes things happen.”; “Goal planning can be especially helpful in advancing your career and job hunting, or starting your own business, or becoming self-employed or freelance”.


  1. The participants are asked to imagine that they are in a relaxing context and mood to think at the achievements they managed to obtain until the end of the year that just passed.
  2. The participants are asked to take a piece of white paper and fold it in order to obtain six equal boxes. Firstly, they should fold it in half on the long edge and then to fold the paper in three parts. Then, using the story-board technique, the participants are required to represent in the first square, in a creative way, the situation in which they are in the present moment and describe their feelings related to that particular part of the story with one word. Then, they have to do the same for the end of the year. After that, they have to fill the other four squares with the most important events, activities and to detail the progress made during the year using drawing. During this exercise, hang up the three flip chart papers on the wall, in the workshop room.
  3. Each participant has to present in two minutes his/her drawing and their plans to the others. Give feedback/offer comments on each plan and help the participants to make sense of the story. Assist the participants to confront issues. Express your gratitude/joy that the participants were able to plan most of the year and now it is the time to give them some recommendations/guidelines to help them be able to implement them.
  4. Give each participant three pieces of different colours sticky notes and ask them to answer the questions written on each flipchart paper. Read each answer on each flipchart and encourage participants to take ideas that suit them to implement their plans.
  5. Present and explain each of the Stephen Covey’s 7 habits: be proactive (the ability to control one’s environment rather than have it control you, for example having a plan B), begin with the end in mind (leading yourself towards your aims, concentrating to relevant activities), put first things first (physical creation), think win-win (is plenty for everyone, cooperation is more natural than win-lose confrontation), seek first to understand and then to be understood (“diagnose before you prescribe”), synergize (the whole is more important than divided parts), and sharpen the saw (the habit of renewal). While presenting, make connections with the things written by the participants on the sticky notes.

Follow-up questions

  • What is the most important thing that you will take with you from the workshop today?

Possible variations

For step 1., sometimes is difficult to find a description that represents a relaxing context generally valid for all participants, so it could be easier to ask the participants to sit down on the floor, offer them a flavored lollipop and ask them to imagine their own place where they feel relaxed.

Other resources:

Read the 7 habits of highly effective people, by Stephen Covey here:

7 Reasons ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ Lives on 25 Years Later


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