Listening & Speaking Lesson Plan: New Year’s Resolutions & New Habits

Listening & Speaking Lesson Plan: New Year’s Resolutions & New Habits

Level: advanced

Note: the lesson plan is designed for online English classes. The idea is the teacher sharing their screen with the student(s) and using the plan for class work (alternatively, the teacher can share the link with the student(s), and the webpage would be opened on two (or more) different computers). This should be pretty much like a textbook page.

1. Warm-up

Answer the questions:

  1. What is a New Year’s resolution? Choose the best definition: a serious decision to do something; the action of solving a problem; a formal proposal.
  2. Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Why/why not?
  3. Are there any habits you’d like to break or develop? How do you do that?

Look at the pictures below. Which of the habits are good and which are bad? Why? Do you have any of the habits?


2. New Vocabulary

You are going to watch a video on setting smart goals. Before you do, choose the right definition for the words/phrases in bold:

  1. You will fail to follow through on countless resolutions. (to continue doing something until it has been completed; to stop doing something until it has been completed)
  2. Your odds will be much improved. (difficulties; chances)
  3. Many of us get a jolt of inspiration for the new year. (a sudden strong feeling that doesn’t last for long; a sudden strong feeling that lasts for long) 
  4. It’s a clean slate, a chance to redefine yourself. (a fresh start; a great career opportunity)
  5. You set off on creating a list of things you want to do differently. (to start moving in a particular direction; to stop)
  6. You rely on bursts of motivation to carry your behavior changes. (a sudden strong emotion that you feel for a short time; a sudden strong emotion that you feel for a long time)
  7. As I’ve spoken about at length (for a long time; in detail; for a long time and in detail), that doesn’t sustain you. (to give someone strength, energy, or hope; to make someone happy)
  8. Most of us suck at creating goals. (to be very good at something; to be very bad at something)
  9. You’ve set out to read more books. (to start reading a book; to start doing or working on something in order to achieve an aim)
  10. In short, it’s unsustainable and doomed to fail. (crazy; not possible to be continued at the same rate)
  11. Goals should be time-bound. (subject to time limits; subject to no time limits)
  12. Track your food intake and eat at a caloric deficit of 400 calories. (the amount of food you should eat; the amount of food you eat)
  13. Improve your one rep max by 10%. (the maximum amount of weight that a person can possibly lift for one repetition; the maximum amount of weight that a person should aim to lift for one repetition)
  14. Double your bench press. (an upper body strength training exercise; an aerobic exercise)
  15. Your goals are rock solid (firm; not likely to change; firm and not likely to change) and you’re ready to take on (to accept; to implement; to perfect) all those New Year’s resolutions.
  16. You’re likely to face some roadblocks. (something that stops someone from making progress; something that helps someone to make progress)
  17. Small incremental improvements are more likely than dramatic shifts to result in the outcome you desire. (increasingly rapidly; increasing gradually)
  18. Going to the gym 6 days per week was my keystone habit. (important to a plan; impossible to make a plan without)
  19. Those outcomes would fall in line if you managed to be consistent. (to adhere to a specific plan or directions; to start acting the way someone expects you to)
  20. I’ve come a long way. (to improve a lot; to travel a lot)

The answers are here.

Complete the sentences with the appropriate prepositions: 

  1. Lifting regularly contributed ___ an increase ___ appetite.
  2. Figure ___ what your own keystone habit is and drive your energy there.
  3. Whether one week or one month ___ the new year, you are going to slip up.
  4. The fact that you slipped ___ a moment of weakness isn’t the important part.
  5. If you revert back ___ your old ways, you’ve failed.
  6. If you know you’re going to have bumps ___ the way, you’ll get back up and brush it off.
  7. Don’t feel pressured ___ making New Year’s resolutions.
  8. Now, I haven’t made resolutions ___ years. It just doesn’t appeal ___ my personality.
  9. You should know productivity habits that cater ___ your personality type.
  10. I’m no longer ___ a plant-based diet.
  11. Focus ___ implementing the systems that, ___ the long term, will deliver the results that you seek.

3. Watching the video

Watch the video and be ready to answer the questions:

  • Why do most people fail to follow through on their New Year’s resolutions?
  • Which goals are S.M.A.R.T.?
  • What was the speaker’s goal and how did he achieve it?
  • Does the speaker make New Year’s resolutions? Why/why not?

4. Post-watching discussion

  • Do you agree with the speaker’s conclusions on how to set goals?
  • Does New Year give you a jolt of excitement and inspiration? Do you see it as a clean slate?
  • What goal/goals are you pursuing? What have you set out to do?
  • What roadblocks are you likely to face pursuing your goal/goals? Have you come a long way?

5. Homework: Write a 200-250 word essay about a goal you have achieved. Use as many new words and expressions as possible and explain what the goal was and how you managed to reach it.


Answer key

Prepositions: contributed to an increase in appetite; figure out; one month into the new year; in a moment of weakness; revert back to your old ways; bumps along the way; pressured into making; I haven’t made resolutions in years; appeal to; cater to your personality type; on a diet; focus on; over the long term.

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