How to Set Goals in English: Guide and Examples


Setting Goals in English and make plans in English is something that we commonly to communicate our expectations and desires.

To talk about goals English, you need these three structures:

  1. Future with Going to
  2. Future with Will
  3. Present Continuous to talk about the future

Future with Going To

We use going to to talk about plans decided before the moment of speaking.

These are some statements we can make with the future with going to

  1. I am going to do exercises every day
  2. I am going to buy a new house
  3. I am going to buy a new car
  4. She is going to get a new job
  5. He is gonna start a new major

These are some examples of questions with the future with going to

  1. Are you going to do exercises next year?
  2. Are you going to get  a new job in 2018?
  3. Is she going to start med school?

These are some examples of questions using the future with going to

  • Where are you spending your next vacations?
  • What are you doing on your next vacations?
  • What car are you going to buy?
  • How many children are you going to have?
  • Are you buying a house near the city?
  • Where are you going to move?

These are some example of questions and answers using the future with going to

  • Are you guys going to getting married?
  • I think we are going to get married next year
  • Where are you going to move?
  • I am going to move to Norway
  • What car are you going to buy?
  • I am going to buy a Toyota

Future with Will

We use will to talk about plans decided at the moment of speaking. We can also make affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences with this tense.

These are some example of affirmative statements with the Future with Will

will buy a new houseI won’t buy a house
She will start her own businessShe won’t start her own business
He will move to another countryHe won’t move to another country
We will get marriedWe won’t get married
They will fix their old carThey won’t fix their old car

These are some examples of questions of questions using future with will

  1. I will not fix my old car
  2. I will not have any children
  3. She won’t get married
  4. She won’t travel this year

These are some example of questions using the future with will

  1. Will you buy a new house?
  2. Will you get married in  2020?
  3. Will you go abroad?
  4. Will you move to another country?
  5. Will you fix your old car?

Present Continuous to Talk about the Future

We can also use the present continuous to talk about future plans. This is not very common among Spanish native speakers since it creates a bit of confusion

These are some example of affirmative Sentences.

  1. I am teaching a class next week in England.
  2. I am leaving tomorrow, I am going to start my major.
  3. I am playing soccer professional next year
  4. I am buying a car next week
  5. We are having a baby next month
  6. I am taking a trip to Europe
  7. They are making a business move

Type of Goals and Plans

These are some types of goals in English, can you think of examples that belong to each of those types?

Financial GoalsLove Goals 
Academic GoalsCareer Goals
Personal Development GoalsFitness Goals
Health GoalsRelationship Goals
Spiritual GoalsTravel Goals

These are some examples of goals in English about different types of goals

change careerGet a promotion
retirebuy a house
pay off loanssave enough money
learn another languageread more books
go to church  regularlyget more free time
get marriedhave children
stay fit  and activebuy a car

The most common method to  teach people to set goals and make plans in English is the Acronym “SMART!

  • S:  Specific
  • M: Measurable
  • A: Achievable
  • R: Realistic
  • T: Timely

Example: I am going to run twice a week in 2020

  1. Is it specific?  Yes
  2. is it measurable? Yes
  3. Is it achievable? Yes
  4. Is it realistic? Yes
  5. is it timely? Yes

Let’s Talk about Goals and Plans


I want to lose some weight and that’s why I want to start doing exercises,  I will start going to the Gym and running  in the morning.


I will spend more time with my family, specially with my daughters, I will stop working too much and I will dedicate more time to my daughters and I will spend less time on social media.


I will try to travel more, There are many beaches in Costa Rica  that I would like to visit,  I am thinking about visiting beaches in Guanascaste First and then Puntarenas and move on from there.


I really want to stop working too much, I would like to  have my own company  and work from home, an online store can help me do that.


I really need to buy a house, I am tired of renting an small apartment. I would like to buy a house near the beach. A car is not  bad idea, I would like to buy  a Toyota Rush. I have to start saving some money though.


My Goals are professional goals, mostly academic goals, I want to learn a new language, Portuguese and English. I am planning to start the university next semester.

Lesson Plan – How to Set Goals and Make Plans in English


Level: Intermediate

Grammar Focus: Simple Future + Future with “Going”

Objective: To set and  talk about smart goals in different contexts of Life

Schema Activation

Task#1 (10 Mins)
  1. You must
    1. Create a Powerpoint Presentation  with images of people doing something.
    2. Cut parts of the picture so people don’t know what the person is doing.
    3. Ask the students to guess what the person is doing.

For example: You can show this image and ask students what’s she doing?

Let student’s guess what the picture is all about and then show the whole picture

Since the topic is about how to set goals and plan, this activity can help review and introduce some vocabulary

Pre-Task (40 Mins)

Task #1
  1. Introduces key vocabulary about example of goals, type of goals and examples of smart goals using a Powerpoint Presentation and this video
  2. Students are sent this youtube video or this video in pairs, they have to: identify the top ten resolutions that are talked about in the video.
  3. Students write down 5 goals that they have and they share with their classmates.
Task #2
  1.  Half of the students are given a reading and the other half is  given a set of questions. They have to complete the task by communicating to each other.
Task #3

Have students sit in pairs so they interview their classmates using a powerpoint presentation that can be seen on their smartphones, computer or tablets. That Powerpoint might include the same visual that you used in the prior presentation.

Would you like to give up smoking in 2018?

Would you like to exercise more?

Extra Task

  1. You can create a quizlet set  with the target grammar and ask students  to classify the goals into different categories:
    • Health and Fitness Life
    • Intellectual Life
    • Spiritual Life
    • Family and Love Relationship
    • Social Life
    • Financial Life
    • Academic and Professional Life

Main-Task (30 Mins)

  1. When students are finished, they would work with their classmates creating Smart Goals, they make sure the goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.
  2. Students rehearse telling their smart goals to their classmates.
  3. Students talk about their goals to their classmates

Post- Task ( 30 Mins)

  1. Teacher makes three groups, then students are given a sheet with sentences, those sentences have mistakes that students need to correct as a group. When students finish fixing the sentences.  They share their results with the group.

Learn More

If you want more lesson plans based on Task-Based Learning Approach, this is the page where you need to go right away: Task-Based Language Learning

More English Lessons

These are some other English lessons that you might find helpful

  1. How to Talk About my Soft Skills
  2. How to Make Requests in English
  3. How to Talk about The Daily Routine in English
  4. Likes and Dislikes at Work: Guide & Examples
  5. How to Give Personal Information in English
  6. How to Talk about Family Members in English
Jose Manuel Campos N - English Professor

About manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English