Making New Year’s Resolutions With Kids

Goal-setting in the new year can be a great growth tool for kids of all ages. If your family is interested in setting resolutions together, keep in mind that pre-planning your approach can go a long way. Here are some tips:

Set the example. Bring your resolutions and process to the table. It’s hard to be vulnerable about things we want to change or improve in ourselves, and it’s hard to speak our goals out loud – what if we don’t reach them? But your kids are looking to you to set the tone about goals and resolutions. Is vulnerability ok? Is failure ok? You help them say yes. It’s helpful, too, to explain how you came up with your resolution. How did you examine your life and settle on this goal?

Create resolutions together. If you brainstorm and develop your goals as a family, you can manage barriers like feasibility, cost, and age-appropriateness.

Keep it simple. Especially if this is your first foray into resolutions as a family don’t try to climb the highest mountain. You want to create a direct connection from goal setting to goal achieving for your kids, not belabor or beleaguer them from ever setting a resolution again.

Keep it positive. Quitting a bad habit or losing weight might make sense as a resolution to an adult with a little more emotional capital and sense of self. With kids, brainstorm goals that are more positive or, at the very least, put a positive spin on the breaking-a-bad-habit resolution.

Break it down. How do you create success in twelve months? A little at a time. How can you help your kids break down their resolutions into manageable chunks? What kind of success would they like to see in three months? Six months?

Follow up with encouragement. Accountability is key, and doing it in a positive way will result in more success and less guilt. Plan fun family resolution check-ins – maybe over pizza at home before a movie night. See how everyone is doing, and encourage each other. Be willing to go back to the drawing board if something isn’t working.

Celebrate successes – small and large. Make sure your year-end celebrations include a look back at where you were twelve months ago. Dig deep into the resolution-making experience: How did we succeed? How did we fail? What roadblocks did we encounter? What did we learn? Would we do this again?

Happy New Year from all of us at Youth Resources. We’ve got some big goals set for our agency and our student leaders in 2018, and we’re excited to check back in next December!

Laura Ferguson is the executive director at Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana.