How to Use New Year's Resolutions to Teach Effective Goal Setting

teaching Dec 12, 2018

Effective goal setting is an important skill all students need to learn.

As adults, we set personal and professional goals all the time. Sometimes we even have goals set for us by our employers. New Year’s Resolutions are the perfect way to help your students learn how to set and accomplish their own goals.

I know what you’re thinking… most people don’t keep their New Year’s Resolutions. True. I believe a lot of that has to do with how we write our goals. More often than not, New Year’s Resolutions are written more as wishes then goals. A wish is a goal without a plan. That will get you straight into failure territory. In oder to accomplish our goals, we need to know how to write them with the plan embedded in them.

7 Easy Steps to Doable, Realistic Resolutions

  1. Teach students the difference between a wish and a goal. Give examples of accomplishable goals vs. wishes (goals without a plan).

  2. Have students choose something they want to get better at or accomplish in the new year. EXAMPLE: I want to get stronger.

  3. Add in specifics. How will they do this? EXAMPLE: I will to get stronger by doing 20 pushups and 20 sit-ups each day.

  4. Give it a time frame. This can be a “done by” date or a number of days to create a new habit students plan to continue long-term. EXAMPLE: This is a new habit, so I will mark my calendar to keep track of the days I do this for 90 days.

  5. What’s their motivation? EXAMPLE: I’m tired of getting beat at arm wrestling by my brother. I want to beat him!

  6. Students will review their resolution every day and decide on what step (or steps) they’ll take that day to move closer to their goal. EXAMPLE: I can’t do 20 all at once. So, I’ll break up the 20 pushups and sit-ups into groups of 5 the first week and groups of 10 the second week.

  7. Celebrate. How will students congratulate themselves when they accomplish their goal? EXAMPLE: I’m working on my happy dance for when I finally beat my brother.

There you have it. Simple and effective.

Happy goal setting,



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