New Year Resolutions and goal setting is an excellent way to foster executive functioning skills because it requires planning, organizing, managing time, and self reflection. What better time to set meaningful goals than the start of a new year?
5 steps to creating New Year Resolutions that also promote executive functioning skills:
- Set the foundation of the activity by reflecting on favorite moments or proud accomplishments of the previous year. Help your child think about and identify at least 3 milestones they achieved.
- Identify key areas that the child would like to improve upon in the upcoming year. Include both personal goals of the child as well as family goals. Goals should be specific, measurable, and attainable. For example, “I will complete a month-to-month 2014 family scrapbook by June 1, 2015.”
- Break down each of these goals into smaller, more achievable parts. (i.e., if a goal is to keep a scrapbook of the year, you’ll want to identify steps to achieve that goal such as creating an outline for the organization of the scrapbook, buying the supplies, keeping a memory box for pictures or other memorabilia, a schedule or timeline to create sections of the scrapbook, etc.)
- Make a plan to achieve each step! What do we need to do? When does it need to be done? Who will help and what is everyone’s responsibility?
- Celebrate accomplishments! Provide reinforcement with a progress chart, journal, or checklist. Discuss what will happen when a goal is achieved (small gift, family night out, trip to a favorite store, etc.)
Don’t stop setting goals! This is a great habit to keep year round. As goals are met, continue to create new ones!