We are in an era where New Year’s resolutions can sound like an unachievable, pointless exercise. Most resolutions are broken by February 1, so what’s the point?
The big, lofty goals – lose weight, find a new job, apply to graduate school, pay off student loans – are scary because they are so vague. By setting bite-size goals for yourself, or your family, you can see quicker results which can motivate you to continue beyond the first month.
If you want to start exercising, joining a gym for the first time can be intimidating. To stay on track to reach your goal, you can ask a friend to meet you at the gym three days a week. Alternatively, you can take your dogs on a walk around the neighborhood or start using an online yoga app from home. Something small yet satisfying can encourage you to continue the journey.
Encourage your kids to set goals too. Start by talking with your kids about your goals, to set a good example, and see what goals they may want to set. Ask your children what they want to learn or achieve in the new year and help them find ways to reach that goal. Do they want to learn how to ride their bike, tie their sneakers or hit a free throw? Support their efforts by breaking into bite-size goals like you would for yourself. Celebrate the small successes too! Hitting the rim is a big deal for a younger child who previously couldn’t get the basketball up high enough and riding the bike on the driveway or in the yard counts too!
Keeping the goals age-appropriate is important as well. Your five-year-old probably isn’t going to hit a three-pointer on the basketball court, and that is okay! You know your children better than anyone so you know what will upset them when the goals seem too difficult. By reassessing and setting up steps to hit that bigger goal, you are encouraging them to evaluate their efforts and keeping them motivated.
Developing goal-setting skills and accountability are important steps in childhood. By teaching these lessons early, you are helping to set your children up for success.
Youth Villages is one of the largest providers of services to children in Tennessee and a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health. The organization has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at www.youthvillages.org.
Crisis services are available 24/7 if your child needs support. Call 855-CRISIS-1 or text CONNECT to 741741. If you have thoughts of suicide, contact 988 to be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.