With the new year on the horizon, we can’t help but think about making resolutions.
It’s a hard habit to break – at least the part that involves thinking about making a resolution. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 50 percent of the population makes resolutions each New Year. The top resolutions? Weight loss, exercise, quitting smoking, better money management and reducing debt.
It makes sense that we think this way. New year, new beginnings – we like the idea of changing something about our lives that we’re feeling less than great about. When we make a resolution, we’re all excited, pumped up for success on Jan. 1, 2, … maybe even on Jan. 23.
Unfortunately, the majority of us will abandon our resolutions by February. It’s estimated that only 10 percent of us will stick with our plan.
One of the main reasons we fail, say researchers, is because we set lofty goals without specific action steps. You can say you’re going to write a novel in the next year, but if you don’t schedule writing time into your day, it’s going to be hard to make your goal. And if you’ve written just three pages by the end of January, it’s easy to think about abandoning the project.
Another reason for failure is we go it alone. Sometimes partnering up with a buddy is the best way to keep your motivation high.
A Psychology Today piece suggests that, to optimize your chances of success focus on one resolution, rather than several. They also say to set realistic, special goals – such as “lose 10 pounds in three months,” rather than “lose weight.”
Whether or not you plan to make resolutions for the start of 2013, we think talking to kids about making resolutions is a good idea. We’ve got five suggestions for resolutions every kid should make. If you’ve got an idea for another one, please share! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Try something new. Whether it’s an activity, a genre of book or a type of food, step outside your comfort zone. Expand your horizons! Dare to be different! You never know what new interest you’ll discover along the way.
2. Say “thank you.” Manners matter, whether you’re 6, 27 or 82. Expressing appreciation can be powerful. It honors someone’s effort, creates positive energy – and it’s free.
3. Give of yourself. There are plenty of places kids can volunteer, whether it’s helping out at a local animal shelter, collecting canned goods in a food drive or shoveling an elderly neighbor’s walk. Check out ideas for family volunteering opportunities at www.greatschools.org
4. Study more. Grades really do matter. Studying that little bit extra can make a difference in your overall average – and ultimately can affect your future. Both need- and merit-based scholarships and grants take a number of factors, including Grade Point Average (GPA), into account. Financial awards are extremely competitive, and there are GPA cutoff points for various levels of awards. Think of studying as investing in your future – literally. A percentage point can make the difference in the amount of merit money you receive toward higher education.
5. Take care of yourself. The demands of education are greater than ever. State requirements such as the Common Core Learning Standards mean students need to be present both physically and mentally for the full day of school. Make sure to get to get adequate sleep and eat healthy food to keep your brain functioning at its optimum level. See Good nutrition is smart choice and Good, sound sleep for children for more information.
For tips on making your resolution stick, check out Psychology Today’s “Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail.”