How many times have you made a big New Year’s resolution and actually kept it?
Don’t feel ashamed if your answer is, “Never.” You’re in good company. Studies show that 91% of people who set New Year’s resolutions don’t keep them.
If even adults have difficulty following through, imagine how much harder it is for a teenager.
Are we suggesting that teenagers shouldn’t partake in the New Year’s tradition of making resolutions? Absolutely not! What we do want to propose, however, is that the best way for teens to make progress this year is to avoid setting wild and unrealistic goals for themselves.
As a parent, you can help your teen achieve reasonable goals by supporting them in establishing small habits that add up to BIG results.
Small Habits, Big Results
“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations,” begins the first chapter of Atomic Habits, an international bestseller by James Clear, an expert on habit formation.
Clear defines an atomic habit as “a regular practice or routine that is not only small and easy to do but is also the source of incredible power; a component of the system of compound growth.”
On average, students can develop habits and routines to strengthen 85-90% of the skills required to succeed in high school, such as:
- Organizing class materials
- Planning work in advance
- Breaking down large projects into smaller tasks
- Writing papers
- Managing their time wisely
- Using a calendar effectively
- Sleeping and waking at consistent times
- Managing their relationship with technology and the internet
Each of these skills contributes to a student’s overall success in high school, from performing well academically to juggling extracurriculars to navigating the college admissions process.
For example, if a student wants to work on becoming more organized, they may create a routine that involves taking out their planner at the beginning of every class, writing down assignments, and reviewing the planner at the end of each day. Over time, their organizational skills will likely improve.
Establishing Good Habits and Routines
Students tend to get intimidated by the idea of establishing a new habit or routine, so we like to remind them that they already follow many routines in their daily lives! Brushing their teeth before bed, taking a shower in the morning, and driving the same route to school every day are all examples of habits or routines that teenagers might have but not even think about.
As you talk to your teenager about their New Year’s resolutions, encourage them to set realistic goals (e.g., getting more sleep, improving their study skills, pacing themselves throughout the college admissions process to avoid scrambling at the last minute). Then, help them plan the small habits and routines that can lead them toward meeting their goals.
If a student resolves to improve their study skills, for instance, they’ll need to form good study habits, such as setting aside time to study at the same time every day. Reassure your student that implementing a new habit or routine is the most challenging in the first 21 days. They may encounter setbacks, but the important thing is that they push through and stick to their new routine.
Get Support from Signet’s Academic Coaches
Students who struggle with establishing good habits or routines to strengthen critical skills like organization, time management, and studying may benefit from outside support. At Signet, our academic coaches focus on the executive functions that most contribute to academic success, giving students the tools to meet not only their New Year’s goals but also the longer-term goals they have for the future.
Contact us today to schedule a free call, and let’s get your student’s year off to a great start!