How to Help Tweens and Teens Set New Year’s Resolutions

At the end of every year, many of us take some time to reflect on the past year and prepare for the new. As parents, we need to take some time not only to do this for ourselves, but also to help our tweens and teens with evaluating, goal-setting, and developing good habits. Tweens and teens need guidance to learn how to set new year’s resolutions. Here are some tips to get you started!

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If you want to make this task really easy, head on over to Big Life Journal.

Big Life Journal is a company that helps kids become more resilient and improve their self-esteem. If you would like to purchase a kit to make your New Year’s Resolutions with your kids, they have some great products that make it super easy. Click here to see their goal-setting kit for tweens and teens. Just download and print it, and you have what you need to help tweens, teens, and adults get ready for the new year!

If you have younger kids, there is also a goal-setting kit for kids ages 4-10. Click here for a bundle of both versions.

If you’d prefer skipping the kit and handling it yourself, read on!

Fireworks on New Year's Eve - photo by Wan Chen on Unsplash

Reflect on the past year

If you want to start with yourself and do some soul-searching, I highly recommend Rachel Hollis’ podcast about how she wraps up her year.

Set aside some time to reflect on the past year. Give everyone in the family a piece of paper to write on, and grab the family calendar (you can also use each person’s own calendar/agenda/journal – both physical and/or digital).

Ask the following questions:

-What were your favorite things you did this year?

-What brought you joy?

-What was interesting to learn?

-What did you accomplish that made you proud?

-What did you work hard on, and how do you feel about that? Do you feel that the hard work helped you attain worthwhile goals, or did it feel like time wasted?

-What things were not that great, and you’d rather not repeat?

Look forward to the new year

After you’ve spent some time thinking about the past year and writing down your thoughts, you can start thinking about the new year.

Use your thoughts and experiences about the past to get ready for what’s new. Create some new year’s resolutions and goals. This is something a lot of tweens and teens might not be used to doing, so give them some guidance. Careful though – teens hate to be controlled. Make sure they are creating their own goals that they choose and not being forced to meet your expectations.

Each year, I love to make several new year’s resolutions. I like to do one about improving my health, one about growing in some other way, and one or two that are simply to increase joy. Thinking about it in categories like these can help make it easier and more fun. Here are some suggestions:

Ideas for New Year’s Resolutions for tweens and teens

Healthy New Year’s resolutions:

  • eat a veggie at each meal
  • exercise at least 30 minutes per day
  • work towards a certain physical goal, such as improving a sports skill or meeting a goal such as being able to do the splits or a double turn in dance class
  • learn how to do a new physical activity such as skating, skateboarding, rock climbing, or a new sport that they don’t know much about
  • eat a healthy breakfast every day
  • cut back on sugar – maybe choose a maximum number of treats to eat each week and stick to that. Don’t forget to reduce the number of sugary drinks, too!
  • walk the family dog a certain number of times each week

New Year’s Resolutions to help you improve yourself:

  • reduce screen time
  • choose a goal related to school, such as improving scores in a certain class, getting homework turned in on time, etc.
  • choose a place to volunteer such as peer tutoring, a senior living facility, or an animal shelter
  • help out with chores – perhaps keeping their room clean or vacuuming the house once a week to help the family
  • start a gratitude journal

New Year’s Resolutions to bring more joy:

In the past, I’ve chosen for myself painting my nails more often and reading more books for fun. Here are some other suggestions:

  • take up a new hobby – perhaps a craft or art skill
  • learn an instrument or take more time to play the one you already know
  • arrange for a game time each week with friends or family
  • make some time for a pen-and-paper activity such as coloring, sudoku, or journal writing
  • look at the notes you took about what were the best parts of last year, and think about how to get more of that into your life in the new year

Family New Year’s Resolutions

As a family, choose one or two resolutions for you to keep together. Planning for family togetherness is important, but can also be a big challenge with the busy schedules of tweens and teens. Consider using some of these ideas with one kid at a time if that’s what works best for your family. I already mentioned choosing a game night each week. Here are some more ideas:

  • Have a monthly adventure together, such as a hike and picnic, a visit to an amusement park, bowling alley, ice skating rink, arcade…whatever is new and fun for your family
  • Create a family movie night – as with the game night, you can take turns choosing what to watch. Since your kids are older and probably busier, this doesn’t need to be weekly. Maybe look at the calendar each month and choose one or two nights that work for everyone.
  • Pick a day or two a month to cook together. You can try new recipes, or just teach the kids how you make family favorites.
  • Make time to exercise together- family bike rides, hikes, dog walking, whatever!

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