New Year Resolutions for Students: Strategies for Success

Making New Year Resolutions for Students

Every New Year, I resolve to be perfect! Can you relate to helping set New Year resolutions for students that fall apart pretty quickly—sometimes in just a few minutes?

However, this resolution usually falls apart pretty quickly—sometimes in just a few minutes.

Clearly, setting attainable goals is crucial for both children and adults. Learning to set effective goals is a valuable skill that children can use throughout their lives. Here are some tips for writing goals and resolutions with students.

Making New Year Resolutions for Students

Guiding children in setting New Year resolutions for students can be challenging. Here’s how to help them create resolutions that they can take ownership of and feel accountable for.

Ownership in New Year Resolutions for Students

As parents and teachers, we often have many goals for our kids. However, for resolutions to be successful, they need to belong to the child.

A resolution imposed by an adult is just another command. Suggestions are fine, but there’s more empowerment when the child creates their own resolution and is fully invested in the process and outcome.

Attainability in New Year Resolutions for Students

Resolutions should be attainable, unlike my unrealistic goal of being perfect. At the same time, they should be challenging. A goal that’s too easy isn’t very motivating. Aim for a balance between challenge and attainability.

Be Specific with New Year Resolutions for Students

My resolution to be perfect is too vague. Help your child refine their resolution into a specific goal. Here are some examples:

  • Instead of “I will be more polite,” try “I will remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.'”
  • Instead of “I will keep my room neat,” try “I will make my bed and pick up my clothes and toys each day.”
  • Instead of “I will get better at playing the piano,” try “I will practice for one hour each day.”

Make a Plan

Brainstorm ideas for success. For instance, if the goal is to pick up clothes and toys each evening, a reminder sign on the door or a chart for marking off tasks might help. For bigger resolutions, create a list of steps to follow.

SVG Image Map Example

Celebrate Success

Ensure there are markers for success. Some resolutions are easy to measure. For example, if your daughter resolves to stop biting her nails, longer nails are a clear sign of success, which could be celebrated with a new bottle of nail polish or a manicure. For ongoing goals like practicing piano, the results might be evident in teacher feedback or a recital performance. A little extra encouragement, such as going out for ice cream after a piano lesson, can also be a nice way to celebrate.

New Year Resolutions for Students with Adjectives

Setting New Year resolutions for students is inspiring, but sometimes we don’t meet those goals.

I love this idea of making New Year resolutions with adjectives to help make them more attainable and achievable. Try this method when setting them with your students after the new year!

Author Martha Beck suggests focusing on the adjectives that describe how you would feel if you achieved the goal (e.g., healthy, strong, attractive) instead of the nouns and verbs (e.g., I will lose 25 pounds). Brainstorm a list of adjectives and choose the three best ones on which to focus. This method can refine your goal and keep you motivated.

Consider applying this idea to students. Ask them to write three goals: one academic, one behavioral, and one personal. Then, have them write adjectives to describe how they would feel if they achieved those goals. They can brainstorm activities that make them feel that way now.

Example Adjectives for Upper Elementary Students:

  • Confident
  • Proud
  • Happy
  • Brave
  • Kind
  • Strong
  • Smart
  • Creative
  • Responsible
  • Helpful

Encourage students to think about how they want to feel and choose adjectives that resonate with them. This approach helps make their resolutions more personal and motivating.

For additional support and resources, you can download our New Year Resolutions worksheet on Minds in Bloom Unlimited (MIBU) for free. Get a guest pass to access this and many other valuable tools to help your students succeed in setting and achieving their goals.

3 New Year Resolutions for Teachers (That will be great for your students!)

Resolution #1: Try Something New at Least Once a Week

It doesn’t have to be a big change. Here are some small but impactful ideas to get you started:

  • Introduce a new attention signal.
  • Rearrange the classroom seating.
  • Try a different classroom management strategy.
  • Integrate a new educational game or activity.
  • Use a new technology tool or app.
  • Revamp your spelling or reading program.
  • Experiment with a new teaching strategy or method.

Novelty keeps things interesting and can lead to positive changes in your classroom.

Resolution #2: Say “Yes” as Often as You Can

Creativity and engagement often bloom from a positive response. Consider these scenarios:

  • Allow students to choose their project topics.
  • Say “yes” to more collaborative group work.
  • Approve a student-led activity or presentation.
  • Agree to try out a student’s idea for a class activity.
  • Find ways to incorporate student interests into lessons.

Sometimes, we are so used to saying “no” that we don’t stop to consider what “yes” could bring.

Resolution #3: Let Go

It’s easy to get caught up in classroom drama. To maintain your peace, try these tips:

  • Focus on solutions rather than conflicts.
  • Avoid getting involved in school politics.
  • Set boundaries with unreasonable demands from parents.
  • Practice leaving work at school when you go home.
  • Find your personal stress relief activity: hot bath, coffee, a hug from a loved one, or relaxing in front of the TV.

Indulge without guilt—you deserve it.

Free Goal-Setting Worksheet for Students

Here is a free goal-setting worksheet I’ve used with my students. It includes space for academic, behavioral/social, and personal goals. Feel free to download and use it with your students!

Learn More

Edutopia: Teaching Students to Set Goals
Teaching Students to Set Goals – This article provides insights and strategies for teaching students the importance of goal setting and how to do it effectively.

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