Turn Your Kids' New Year's Resolutions into Successful Goals

As this year comes to a close, the promise of a new one encourages many of us to create New Year’s Resolutions.  Let’s show our kids how to make this tradition more than just a fleeting wish or dream!  

When it comes to goal setting, the most common and widely known version of this is the yearly setting of a New Year’s Resolution.  Even if your family doesn’t participate in the tradition or in any active form of goal setting, it is likely that your kids have heard of it.  Did you know, though, that according to one study only 8% of New Year’s Resolutions are even considered partially successful?  Setting and checking in on goals one day a year is not a great way to create the things you want most in life!   Actually setting goals and not achieving them will set up a mindset that goals are dreams and not attainable.  That is not something we want our kids to have in their subconscious!  So, how can we make this something that encourages life long successful skills?

Here are some tips you can incorporate into your New Year’s Resolution goal setting that will create GREAT life long habits for your kids!

First, have two lists.  One is the bucket list.  Have your kids dream about everything and anything they would love to do or have in life!  This should be incredibly easy for them.  They don’t really need any help from us here.   The second one should be focused on what they want to make happen this year, this month, this week.  Encourage your kids to choose something they actually want to create this year for their New Year’s Resolution.

After they have this goal and they are really committed to making it happen, help them define it.  I want $300 for a blue bike on June 1st so I can ride it during the summer.  Or, I want to learn how to land a double salchow in figure skating before December 31.  Or, I want to write a book with 10 chapters by September 1st.  Have them add in the numbers.  Specific dates and dollar amounts are important here.  How much by when.  Be specific!

Visualize it.  This should be fun for them!  Have them create a vision board.  Cover a corkboard, a poster board, the glass part of a frame, or even an area of the wall with images of their goal.  Have them write their specific goal out and post it here.  Have them add to the board how they will feel when they achieve their goal, as well as photos of why they want to achieve the goal.  Going back to the bike as a goal, have them include photos of riding it with their friends or going to get ice cream.  They can pull photos out of magazines, print them off of the computer, or even draw things they cannot find.   Encourage them here, but less is more when it comes to giving them too many directions.

Next, brainstorm a list of ways they can achieve their goal!  Nothing is too outrageous and anyone they want can chip in ideas.  This is to get their creativity going!  Set a high number like 50 or 100 ideas to help them come up with the best variety.  All of this gives them ways to see that their goal is attainable.  After the “anything goes” session is finished, they can create a list of their favorites and post both of these lists to their boards.

Finally, and most importantly, set up a way to check in on the goal every week or even every day.  This is where most New Year’s Resolutions fall flat.  After a few days or weeks the resolutions are forgotten.  Link a resolution check-in with something they do regularly.  I now have a habit of setting up my week every Sunday night.  I look at my goals and write down the top 3 things that will get me closer to what I am working towards every week.  Teaching your kids to check in with their goal every Monday when they are prepping for their week of schoolwork will be the beginning of a fabulous, life-long habit.  Have them ask, “What can I do this week to get me closer to my goal?”  or “What 3 things can I do that would make all the difference in achieving this goal?”  Have them keep a journal where they can write down the answers to these questions every week.  Have them write down their progress and celebrate it no matter how small it is.  Help them see their progress and encourage them through their slow times.  One way to take it a step further is to have them write down their goals every day in their journal along with a description about why they want to achieve them.  This will keep their goals clearly in focus.

Whether it is something like getting a bike or writing a book or nailing that next athletic milestone, it will be amazing to see what these kids can achieve!  These steps should give them what they need to make their New Year’s Resolutions a reality!   

I would love to hear your kids' resolutions in the comments below!