New Year, New Goals


The start of a new year is an ideal time for students to set specific, achievable goals for their growth in speech and debate. This activity guides students in establishing clear, measurable objectives and developing a task-oriented action plan to reach these goals. It emphasizes the importance of thoughtful goal-setting as a foundation for success and improvement.


This activity is suitable for high school speech and debate teams or classes. It can be a powerful exercise at the beginning of a semester or after a break, helping students refocus and recommit to their personal and team development in speech and debate.

Learning Outcomes

  • Goal Setting Skills: Students will learn to set specific, achievable goals tailored to their individual speech and debate journey.
  • Strategic Planning: Develop the ability to create a detailed action plan with specific tasks that contribute to achieving their goals.
  • Self-Assessment: Encourage students to reflect on their strengths, areas for improvement, and personal ambitions in the field of speech and debate.


  1. Goal Identification:

    • Have students reflect on their past performances in speech and debate, identifying strengths and areas needing improvement.
    • Guide them to set specific, achievable goals for the new year. For example, improving argumentation clarity, enhancing research skills, or increasing confidence in public speaking.
    • It’s essential to set goals that are precise. If a number can be assigned to a goal, like average speaker points on ballots, that’s even more helpful.
    • Questions to Consider:
      • What specific aspects of speech and debate do I want to improve?
      • What are realistic goals I can set for myself this year?
  2. Developing an Action Plan:

    • Once goals are set, instruct students to create a list of tasks or actions that will help them achieve these goals.
    • Encourage them to be detailed and realistic in their planning. For example, if a goal is to improve public speaking, a task could be to practice a speech weekly.
    • Tasks should be specific. It’s not enough to say “I want to give more practice speeches,” instead a good plan would be “I want to give two practice speeches per week.”
    • Questions to Consider:
      • What specific steps can I take to achieve my goals?
      • How can I measure my progress?
  3. Sharing Goals and Plans:

    • Have students share their goals and action plans with the class or in small groups. This can foster a sense of accountability and community support.
    • Encourage constructive feedback and suggestions from peers.
  4. Regular Review and Adaptation:

    • Set periodic check-ins for students to review their progress towards their goals. This could be monthly or quarterly.
    • Encourage students to adapt their action plans as needed based on their progress and any new challenges they encounter.


Setting specific, achievable goals with a clear action plan is a vital step in personal growth and skill development in speech and debate. This activity not only sets a purposeful direction for students but also empowers them with the tools and mindset needed for continuous improvement. By regularly reviewing and adapting their goals and plans, students can maintain motivation and make significant strides in their speech and debate capabilities throughout the year.

Join Us

Want to receive free resources and discounts on our products? Sign up here!