As the third week of the New Year ends, so do many of our flashy, high-intentioned resolutions. At least that’s my experience, especially when they are unattainable and unsuitable for my lifestyle. It doesn’t help too, that all of a sudden it will be the end of January and our 2016 goal will be filed away as another failed attempt at a New Year’s Resolution. This year though, I’m not filing it away on the fourth week of January, I’m starting it over, and adjusting.

Reflecting on the past is how we know what to fix. Something didn’t work right, someone didn’t react appropriately or people couldn’t work together. We learn to better ourselves through the reflection process, but it is a learned skill, and one that can be modeled for our youth.

Children create habits just as adults do, although sometimes very different. Using this time of year as an opportunity to include your children in making a past behavior, routine or challenge into a positive change, invites them to practice reflection and goal setting.

The New Year is a time to restart any pattern that may have gone array in the past year. Children create habits just as adults do, although sometimes very different. Using this time of year as an opportunity to include your children in making a past behavior, routine or challenge into a positive change, invites them to practice reflection and goal setting.  You can work as a family on individual or group goals, and track progress and celebrate achievements. Teachers have a similar opportunity, as students return from winter break with renewed spirits and a clean slate. Reflecting on the first half of the year, classrooms can create or adjust mission statements, goals and rules.

Here’s a hint on how to make your, let’s call it, self-improvement goal, a success. Make it a SMART goal!

  • Specific- Answer the questions: Who? What? Where? When? Which? Why?
  • Measurable- Answer the questions: How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
  • Attainable- Choose something that is important to you
  • Realistic- Your goal must something you are able and willing to work towards
  • Timely- Set a timeline with specific dates

Rather than saying “I will stay organized with my paperwork,” phrase it as “I will file the utility bills, CCAP paperwork and receipts on the first of every month in the filing cabinet.”

Adjust this for children by aiming them to pick age-appropriate tasks:
“I will eat fruit as my dessert every other day, instead of ice cream every night,” or “I will make my bed and put away my dirty clothes in the hamper every school morning before eating breakfast.”

Interested in more ideas for age-appropriate goals for your children? Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics who is dedicated to the health of all children, for a list of Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Kids.