Setting New Year’s Resolutions with Your Students

With the start of a new year, now it is the perfect time for new resolutions. As teachers, we have the opportunity to help set the stage for our students to create or refine their New Year’s resolutions. Some of your students may already have certain resolutions in mind, while others may need some guidance to  set goals that they can connect with.

You Can Start Any Time

While it’s ideal that “New Year’s Resolutions” start on New Year’s Day, there’s nothing wrong with starting today, or this week, or whenever you (or your students) decide to start fresh and recalibrate your goals. In any case, better to start today than wait until next year!

Allow Class Time for Students to Analyze Past Goals

Schedule time in class for students to review the previous year. What worked well? What didn’t go as planned? What needs improvement?

This is also a great time to share your own New Year’s resolutions with your class to help students recognize that you’re just as invested in your resolutions as you want them to be in theirs. Giving students time to reflect allows them to dig deep as they consider new goals for the year.

Help Students Find Resolutions That They Connect With

Anybody can tell their student the academic goals they should aim for, but students typically perform much better when they feel responsible for their resolutions. Academic goals are great, but resolutions should also provide a balance with hobbies and sports they might also want to explore.

When students feel that their resolutions are formed from their own priorities, rather than forced upon them, they’ll be more likely to take ownership of their progress.

Make sure to let your students know that you are willing to guide them. Some students may have great ideas, but don’t know how to translate it into a tangible and actionable resolution that will help them stay on course throughout the year.

Refine Resolutions into Goals with Metrics

It’s not uncommon for most New Year’s resolutions to fizzle out after a month or two. This is often because the resolution wasn’t well defined. Below are a few examples that model how you and your students can turn an unrefined resolution into a trackable goal.

  • “Exercise more.” → “Exercise for 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”
  • “Get better grades.” → “Establish a study/homework routine and stick to it every weekday. If there’s no homework, spend at least 30 minutes reviewing notes.”
  • “Be more social.” → “Say hello to at least three people every day.”
  • “Get better at a new hobby.” → “Spend at least two hours every week practicing this new hobby.”

By setting goals with specific limits, you and your classroom will be able to more accurately track progress on your resolutions and stick to your goals.

Remember that you and your students can get started with new resolutions at any time throughout the year, so never feel like you’ve “missed the boat” simply because it’s not January 1st. Plan a time to check in on resolutions to create a sense of accountability, and let the class discuss their goals together and the methods they used to overcome obstacles (like changing a workout day from Monday to Tuesday during a particularly busy week). This is a great opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the school year, so set your class up for success with some resolutions!

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