The same thing happens every year. December rolls around, Christmas passes, and we see the influx of #NewYearNewMe promises. While new year’s resolutions can feel trite and redundant, they help us ring in the new year with positive habits.
Kids can also learn to be their best selves at the start of the year, and as mentors, we’re in the position to help guide them through it. Here are some tips to talk about and create new year’s resolutions with your Little Brother or Sister. What starts out as an activity this year, might just become an insightful, annual tradition for you both!
Since creating goals for the new year can focus on things in your Little’s life that could use improvement, it’s a slippery slope to go from talking about resolutions to preaching about your Little’s bad grades. If you know your Little hates talking about school, it might not be the best time to steer the conversation down the road of “stop failing in school,” which they likely hear all the time at home.
Instead, start the conversation off by focusing on your Little’s accomplishments this past year. Maybe they became a little more adventurous with their taste in food, or they learned a new skill. This sets the foundation for looking ahead. Remind your Little that they tried hard to overcome challenges this year, and now they can apply that same initiative toward new things next year.
Similarly, once the goals are already set for the year, it’s important not to get naggy. Re-frame your “how’s it going?” when you know there’s been some slack in improvement. Revisit why your Little came up with their resolution in the first place, to help reinvigorate them.
Guide Instead of Direct
These are your Little’s goals, not yours; it’s important for you, as a Big, to take a step back and listen to what your Little wants for themselves.
If your Little could use some help with brainstorming, feel free to provide some general categories for them to start thinking about, like family, friends, school, personal, or your match relationship. They can focus on areas they see could be improved within these categories. Be open to and accepting of your Little’s ideas- even if they don’t seem like “good goals” to you, it can help open up a dialogue to understand what’s going on in their mind.
Make SMART Goals
Once your Little has a general idea of their resolution, help them brainstorm their idea into action by creating a resolution plan using the SMART system.
Specific: define what the goal is and how it will be achieved
Measurable: track how the goal is progressing
Attainable: make sure the goal is realistic
Results-Oriented: focus on what accomplishing the goal will mean
Time-Bound: create a time frame to complete the goal
It can help to break big goals down into mini-goals using this system, too. If it turns out down the line that the goals need some adjusting, that’s okay.
If your Little has a flair for the creative, consider creating a vision board or drawing with them to help document their resolutions. If your Little prefers the technical side of things, consider creating a New Years Resolution blog or website with them, where they can chronicle their progress. Or, if your Little enjoys writing, they can keep a journal to keep themselves accountable. Work off of your Little’s interests and strengths to help them visualize their new year’s resolutions.
Be a Role Model
This part might come easier to us, as Big Brothers and Sisters. As with all interactions with your Little, bring your own experiences into the picture by talking about resolutions you’ve made, and plan to make in the new year. Keep yourself accountable, which can help motivate your Little to do the same. It can also be inspiring to talk about goals pertaining to your match relationship. You both can share ideas related to improving your match or outings, and keep each other on track throughout the year.