Some people embrace and others push away the thought of New Year’s resolutions, usually due to past experience of having met or fallen short of achieving them. No matter what time of the year they are made, resolutions are essentially goals. What tends to happen with resolutions is rather than focusing on the specific measures needed to achieve what is desired, resolutions put people in the mindset of focusing only on the outcome rather than the process. That is a set-up for failure.

Rather than repeat a practice that tends to fail, let’s start the new year by setting the stage for success. This process works for kids and adults and can be personal or related to school or work. Use the following tips as a recipe for setting the foundation for the desired outcome. With children, you will need to guide them through this process.


   1. Reflect

Get out a journal and write down the answers to the following questions:

   a) What went well last year that you would like to carry with you into the new year?
   b) What didn’t go well last year that you want to leave behind you as you go forward?

   2. Dream

Think and write about what makes you excited. What makes your heart beat faster? Describe what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning even on the most challenging of days.  Now ask how you would like to make your life better. Include in your list your personal, school and/or work experiences. Narrow in on what specifically you would need to improve.

   3. Set SMART Goals

SMART is acronym widely used in goal setting. It calls for goals to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

   4.  Show & Tell

Put your goals or resolutions in writing. Place reminders up around your personal and work/study space where you will see them daily. Tell at least one other person about your goals and how you plan on achieving them.

   5. Keep Track of Progress

Cross off each step you take in working toward your goals and reward yourself as you go. At times you may not enjoy working on specific steps. When it’s hard, remind yourself why you want to achieve the ultimate goal and why each step is important.

By using the above tips you will set yourself up for success. Stick with it.

Best wishes for the New Year.