A new year, a new start. Each year 62 percent of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions hoping to make positive and healthy changes. Statistics show that within the first two weeks 25 percent of those same Americans have given up on their goals and only 8 percent reach their ultimate goal by the end of the year (www.statisticbrain.com). 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?
Set realistic and reachable goals
If 36 percent 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.
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.
Don’t overdo it
Many people make the mistake of setting too many goals or goals that are not attainable, setting themselves up for failure. When you are creating your resolutions, list all the areas that you would like to work on. Once you have a list, narrow it down to the items that are realistic, measurable, and come with a reward. Prioritize and categorize your goals. Can you consolidate any? Do you see a theme? Which goals are you most excited about? Make your list again and try to be as specific as possible in order to give yourself and your children the best chance of success. If you have several that you would like to achieve, keep your list around so that you can move onto another goal after you complete one of your resolutions.
While coming up with a list of goals for the year, keep them positive. Give yourself permission to create resolutions that are fun rather than a punishment or chore. When we create resolutions that are actually accomplishable and set rewards for our completion of them, we are much more likely to be successful.