Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Mindful New Year's Resolutions

In just a few short days, we’ll be celebrating the beginning of a new year and, with that celebration, many of us will be making New Year’s Resolutions.  There are always the old fallback resolutions for adults – the ones that are typically forgotten by the first week of February.  But for kids, the options are endless; they can use the resolution framework to reflect on 2016 and mindfully prepare for 2017.  New Year’s resolutions are an opportunity to practice those meta-cognitive and self-regulatory skills, which we know are important for both academic and personal achievement.
 As you gear up for your family’s celebrations, it may be a good time to guide your children or students in personal reflection.  This is a conversation that could happen around the dinner table, while wrapping presents, as your youngster is gearing up for bedtime, or whenever you all can find a quiet moment together.  It may be helpful to start by helping children and teens recall all that went right in their lives this year, how they’ve grown, and how they have contributed to their own successes.  What went really well for them in 2016?  How did I achieve that success?  What did I improve upon in 2016?  How can I keep up the good work next year?

Once you’ve worked together to find all the successes of the past year, it’s time to brainstorm what might be different in 2017, and how you and your child can prepare for what’s coming next in their personal lives.  Think about what worked, and what didn’t, in 2016 to make a plan for continued success.  What do I want to achieve in 2017?  What tools do I already have to achieve those goals?  What might I need help with to reach those goals?  What’s my contingency plan if I feel like I’m struggling – who are my support system?  

Whatever your goals are for 2017, we hope you have a wonderful holiday and a happy New Year. Our resolution for 2017 is to continue to bring you information that can improve your lives and those of your children, students, and colleagues. We’ve got one more blog for 2016 (our 955th, not that we’re counting) and thank you, our readers, for giving us a reason to read, research, and write for you.

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