6 Ways to Help Students Keep their New Year's Resolutions


New Year

With 2017 just starting, New Year’s Resolutions are a hot topic of discussion. Many people set a resolution, but it usually falls to the wayside after a few weeks. People see it as too difficult, or too time consuming, and give up.

There are many tips and tricks to find success, specifically when it comes to different ways to help students keep their New Year’s Resolutions. These actionable tips will encourage and inspire!

Aim for Reasonable

Everyone has things they want to change in their lives, but it’s important to set realistic goals so that students expect changes to actually stick. For example, instead of them saying, “I want to get stronger,” encourage them to say something more like, “I want to run three miles.” Take this a step further to make sure that all goals you set are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (learn more about SMART Goals). And when they hit their first goal, encourage them to create a new one. This idea is all about creating a series of mini goals on the road to achieving one major goal.

Other great mini goal examples:

  • For a student aiming to eat healthier, have them cut out one junk food from their diet each month.
  • For a student who wants to commit to studying more, have them agree to clock in 30 minutes/day of studying.

Celebrate the “Small” Stuff

It’s okay to have multiple big goals going at the same time, but don’t let students get too caught up in the ultimate end on the way. It’s important to celebrate the small stuff on the way to a goal. A few examples:

  • If your student’s goal is to run further, give them a reward or heap on the praise for every 10 miles ran.
  • If your student’s goal is to get straight A’s, give them credit for raising grades from C’s to B’s.

Even actions as “small” as doing homework before it’s due should be rewarded to reinforce these positive actions that lead to big results for students. Encourage parents to assist with rewards, which may be things that help push students towards their next goal. Depending on the goal, these things might be new workout shoes or new school supplies. A reward doesn’t have to be big or expensive to be effective!

Make it a Friendly Competition

Making a goal with a friend who has a similar goal will help keep students on track. With a competitive aspect added to goal setting, students are more likely to work hard to achieve it. Motivation towards the desire to win or do better than the other person will fuel action, especially with kids.

Activity trackers allow you to track your fitness progress against other friends. The device lets you see how many steps a person has achieved in a day, and how you’re ranking against them. This can push users to be more active so they can “win.” Social activity trackers are a great way to motivate and create accountability between students.

Track Progress

One of the best ways to help students keep their New Year’s Resolution? Make sure that they write it down, and track it! By keeping a record of progress, it will help students see how far they’ve come over time. It will help students visualize their progress, instead of feeling like they’ve gotten nowhere. This is especially important when setting mini goals on the path to major goals.

To make this process easier, encourage students to use an app to track progress. After all, people are already glued to their smartphones – students might as well opt in for record keeping via an app.

One Goal at a Time

Most people’s New Year’s Resolutions are ambitious, and some people try to focus on more than one at a time. Oftentimes, this won’t end up working out, because people get overwhelmed and want to quit.

If a student has a few big goals (like eating less junk food, exercising more, getting better grades, etc.), they should pick one, and work towards that. Some goals will inevitably coincide, and students may achieve two goals while doing one, without realizing it. Also, encourage students to rethink their goals if they become something they hate. It’s okay to change a goal – it’s not failing, just rethinking.

Ask Someone for Help

It is okay to be struggling with a goal/resolution. Tell students that if they need a new way of approaching something, it’s 100% okay to ask for help from a friend, family member, or someone who has accomplished what they’re aiming for. By asking for help, it holds a person accountable to their goal. When someone has gone out of their way to help, it fuels the desire to do better.

It’s okay to slip up, we’re human! Tell students not to let that stop them from achieving their goals, even if they have to make adjustments. Keep at it, and ask for help if needed.

Keeping up with New Year’s Resolutions can be difficult, but not impossible. Helping students set realistic goals is a key to success, and holding them accountable is another. Finally, make sure students know to ask for help and adjust if necessary.

What would you add to this list of ways to help students keep their New Year’s Resolution?