How to Help Your Teen Create (And Keep) a New Year's Resolution

New Year's Resolutions for Teens
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New Year’s is an excellent time to teach young people how to set goals for themselves. While some teens struggle to identify realistic objectives, others lack the self-discipline necessary to reach their goals independently.

Supporting your teen in creating and maintaining a New Year’s resolution can be an instrumental learning tool. Discovering the ability to create positive change at a young age can help teens begin to understand how much they can accomplish in life, if they set their minds to it.


Discuss Resolution Ideas

Discuss potential goals for next year with your teen. Share any of your own New Year’s resolutions. Talk about past resolutions and whether you kept them or not.

Show curiosity for your teen’s goals and ambitions for next year. See if your teen has any ideas in mind. If not, encourage her to begin thinking about what she may want to do differently next year.

Often, teenage resolutions are similar to adult resolutions. Many teens have a desire to better their lives in the following areas:

  • Academic – Educational goals may include getting better grades or gaining college credits before graduating from high school.
  • Social – Social goals may range from resolving to make more friends to wanting to get involved in a romantic relationship.
  • Financial – Many teens want to earn money. Their goals may include things such as getting a job or saving for a car.
  • Health – Teens may want to lose weight, exercise more, or get into better shape during the New Year as well.

    It’s important that your teen establish her own goals. Suggesting she lose weight or do better in math isn’t likely going to be helpful. Resolutions will only work if your teen is truly motivated to keep them. If she agrees to create a change simply because you suggested it, you’ll likely set her up for failure.

    Create Measurable Goals

    Once your teen has a few resolution ideas, help her create specific goals.Resolving to be healthier, for example, isn’t specific enough. Help your teen turn a broad resolution into a measurable goal. Here are a few examples:

    • “I want to lose 20 pounds.”
    • “I want to increase my math grade from a C to a B.”
    • “I want to join two new clubs so I can meet new people.”
    • “I want to save $100 a month.”
    • “I want to volunteer once a week.”

    Establish Action Steps

    Once your teen has established a clear resolution, it’s important to talk about how to reach that goal. If she wants to lose 20 pounds, discuss specific strategies she is willing to employ – like going to the gym 3 times per week or packing a healthy lunch every day. Get as specific as possible about the steps that will help your teen reach her goals.

    Also, discuss how she will keep herself accountable. Unfortunately, most New Year’s resolutions begin to fade by mid-January. Establishing accountability can help her stay on track, even on the days where she lacks motivation.


    Accountability comes in many forms. A teen who wants to lose weight may keep herself accountable by writing down the days she goes to the gym on a calendar. A visual reminder of her behavior may help her go to the gym on the days where she lacks motivation.

    Similarly, a teen who wants to save money for college may benefit from setting up a weekly budgeting meeting. Sitting down once a month to discuss her finances with you could help your teen stick to a budget

    Provide lots of support for your teen's attempts to reach her goals. Praise your teen's efforts and role model strategies that can help her become better.

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