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Teaching Kids About the Value of New Years Resolutions

Teaching Kids About the Value of New Years Resolutions

At the beginning of every new year, many people use the time as a chance to start fresh. To strive to improve the way they live and inspire positive change in their lives. A common way to make these changes is by making a New Year's Resolution, which is really just a fancy name for a goal. Setting goals gives us a better sense of the things in our lives we actually have control over. That’s an important lesson, and one that can empower us to take pride in and ownership for our choices and start making some big changes.

New Year goal-setting as a family is a wonderful way to become healthier and happier together, while strengthening your family's bond.

"But New Year's Resolutions Never Last!"

We give up on our resolutions because they do not include the most important qualities of a goal. To set yourself up for success, be sure to set a goal that meets these 5 attributes.

You can remember these by the acronym "SMART"
Specific - Be very specific about what you want to accomplish. Not vague or broad.
Measurable - You must be able to measure your success and track your progress. This gives you the ability to clearly define if the goal has been achieved.
Achievable - A goal must be realistic and possible to accomplish in your situation. If it isn't, it is destined to fail!
Relevant - Decide if the goal is worthwhile, beneficial or appropriate.
Time Bound - When? Set a clear time frame to start working on the goal and when it should be completed.

To Start

Start by going over the positive things your family has accomplished last year. Perhaps ask: "What are some of the great things you want to do this year? What do you want to improve? What will make your life better and happier?"

As adults, we can guide them, but children should make resolutions on their own. This is how they take ownership of their goals and learn to plan and execute those ideas.


Spend some time as a family brainstorming different kinds of resolutions. This is a great way to expose each other to a broad range of possibilities. You might brainstorm a list of possible resolutions, then divide that list into categories.

The list could include categories and examples like these:

Health Resolutions: eat less processed food, be more active, go to bed earlier

Academic Resolutions: Spend more time reading

Relationship Resolutions: be a better listener, practice patience

Personal Growth Resolutions: learn a new hobby or skill, spend less time on devices

Choosing Goals

Once everyone has explored many possibilities, choose at least one resolution each for the new year.

You can choose Family Goals, Individual Goals or both.

Model Good Behavior

When setting goals as parents, it is important to model good behavior. This is an effective way to help kids adopt good habits. For instance, you might set a goal to do sit ups every night before bed. Your kids will see you doing your sit ups regularly and start modeling your behavior. They will also see your consistency and dedication and be more apt to adopt those qualities into their own daily life! 

Turning a positive idea or life improvement into a habit is one of the most important skills we can teach our kids. Some say it is "the key to happiness!"

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