6, 7, 8

In this lesson the learners will discuss why some people are able to meet goals and some are not able to do so. They will also use a survey to determine a personal self-discipline score.

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PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • discuss why some people are able to keep resolutions and some aren't able to keep them.
  • complete a survey to determine personal level of self-discipline.

Student copies of Handout One: Personal Self-Discipline Survey


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Teacher: Did you know that each year more than half of all people living in the U.S. (more than 150,000,000 people) make New Year Resolutions? The Top Ten resolutions are:

    1. Spend more time with family and friends
    2. Exercise
    3. Lose weight
    4. Quit smoking
    5. Enjoy life more
    6. Quit drinking
    7. Get out of debt
    8. Learn something new
    9. Help others
    10. Get organized

    How many of you have made a New Year resolution? (Ask for a show of hands.)

    Ask: Of those who make resolutions,what percentage of people do you think report that they are successful in keeping their resolution? (allow time for a few guesses)

    Twelve percent of those who make resolutions report that they have met their goal or kept their resolution. Does that surprise you? Why or why not? In general, resolutions are for self-improvement purposes. Do you think it might benefit the common good, as well as the individuals, if more people were able to keep their resolutions? How?

    In the next few days we are going to talk about a life management trait that is critical to becoming a successful adult: self-discipline [acting according to how you think rather than how you feel in the moment].

  2. Tell the students that the first thing they will be doing is an assessment of their current level of self-discipline. Distribute Handout One: Personal Self-Discipline Survey.

  3. Teacher: This survey is for your information only. You will not be asked to share any of your answers or your score. Please read the instructions. Are there any questions? Please complete the survey and compute your personal score.

  4. When all the students are finished, ask for their reflections on taking the survey.

  5. Ask the students to keep their self-discipline survey for use in future lessons.

Cross Curriculum 

This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills. For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.