Creative Child

New Year’s Resolutions: Help Your Kids (And Yourself) Set Reasonable Goals

by Sarah Lyons

A new year, a new start. Each year 62% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions hoping to make positive and healthy changes. Statistics show that within the first two weeks 25% of those same Americans have given up on their goals and only 8% reach their ultimate goal by the end of the year. ( These numbers are not encouraging. How do parents help their kids set resolutions they can follow through on while also setting their own reachable and realistic goals for 2017? 

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Set realistic and reachable goals

If 36% of people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions by February, it is likely they are not setting goals that are realistic or reachable. When setting resolutions, choose goals that make sense. Resolutions that are interesting, fun, and that you and your children are motivated to keep are more likely to end in success. If your child loves to read, set a goal of reading a certain number of books or completing a challenging but interesting book series. If weight loss is a goal, choose a fun way to reach your goal weight. If you despise running, don’t plan to shed pounds on the treadmill. Pick an activity you love and incorporate it into your exercise routine.

Set measurable and specific goals

How will you know if you have reached your goals? Many people give up on their resolutions because they don’t know how to achieve them or when they have been completed. Examples of immeasurable goals include “Get healthy”, “Become more organized” or “Save money”. Be specific when setting your goals. How would you become healthier? Does that include changing your eating habits? Incorporating exercise? What type of exercise and how often? Your goals need to be both measurable and specific so that you know how to achieve them. Resolutions such as “Raise my grade in science class from a B to an A”, “Read one book a month” or “Save x amount of dollars for a family vacation” are all goals that are both specific and measurable. These type of goals are great because you know exactly how to reach them, when you have reached them, and when to celebrate your success.

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Reward yourself

Speaking of celebrating, don’t forget to set some rewards for yourself as you are choosing your New Year’s resolutions. This will help motivate you to follow through when things get challenging. Some ideas could include - “If I lose 15 pounds, I will buy three new outfits.” or “If your child completes their reading goals, they will get to pick a special toy”. Pick a reward that is enough to motivate you or your child and work together towards your goal.


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