It is the season for New Year’s resolutions and this year you might want to consider getting your teen involved! Research shows that the development of positive future orientation through goal setting among teens is linked to improved school performance, motivation, self-confidence, self-esteem, and decreased risk of engagement in harmful behaviors (Forneries, Danish, & Scott, 2007). By supporting your teen with their own New Year’s resolutions, you are assisting them in developing important skills that will benefit them throughout their life and increase their likelihood of positive health outcomes.
Tips on Getting Started
- Identify Goals
Have your teen identify 1-2 broad goals they have for themselves for the year. Make sure they are positive, attainable goals. For example, “Improve grade in math” or “Make new friends”.
- Establish Objectives
Help your teen identify objectives for each of the goals they have made. Objectives are specific action steps that can be taken towards a goal. Objectives help you measure whether you are making progress towards your goal or not. The best objectives usually include something that can be counted, such as the number of times you plan to do an activity, and a start and/or end date. Good examples of objectives for the above goals are, “Stay afterschool for tutoring in math at least 2 times per week starting next week” or “Join at least 1 new club or social activity at school by the end of the semester”.
- Discuss Possible Obstacles
Discuss with your teen possible challenges or limitations in accomplishing their goals. It might be helpful for your teen to think about what has prevented them from accomplishing their goals already. For example, maybe your teen gets nervous being in new environments or has trouble both listening and taking notes during Math class.
- Ask for Help
Have your teen identify a friend or adult who they can share their goal with and who can help them if they face any of the obstacles previously discussed. For example, your teen can ask a current friend to attend a new club with them or ask their teacher for permission to audio record their Math class.
Make sure to regularly check-in with your teen on how they are progressing. Celebrate accomplishments! Every step towards their goals, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction! Be sure to check-in about whether they need support or additional help. Remember to remind your teen that every new day and every New Year is an opportunity to try again!
- Make it a family activity! Come up with a goal together or as a whole family. Click here to learn more about the importance of working as a family!
- Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics list for age-appropriate resolution suggestions!