Making New Year's resolutions with the family
By Elizabeth Holtom, author of Study Skills
09 Jan

The new year is the perfect time to review your goals and make resolutions in order to achieve them.
I’ve turned this into a family activity to encourage open, positive and stress free discussion. Check out chapter 2 of my book Study Skills which discusses what kinds of goals your children should be focussing on. 

I have written about the 3Rs of learning in my December blogResponsibility, Resourcefulness and Resilience. Now I’ve added Resolutions and included the whole family, we can call them the 4Rs of lifelong learning!


What do I need? 

 - Lined flashcards or index cards
- Fineliners, gel pens or glitter pens
- Sticky notes 

Using lots of colour will make this more fun.
Perhaps have a particular colour of sticky notes and flashcards for each family member.

What now?

1. Everyone takes a card and writes either My Study Resolutions, My Work Resolutions or My Home Resolutions at the top. Children could start with their study resolutions and maybe follow this up with their home resolutions afterwards.

2. Put numbers 1 – 3 down the left hand side of the card and write Responsibility, Resourcefulness and Resilience.

3. Everyone to write a Responsibility goal on a sticky note. This is to encourage creative brainstorming. Encourage everyone to think of at least one goal they think is important for another member of the family. This could be revealing, even amusing. Hurtful suggestions are banned! Put all the sticky notes on a piece of A4 paper in the middle of the table. Pass this round the group.  Everyone chooses something for their flashcard.

Here are a few examples. They can be very specific and should be of personal importance.

- Go to bed earlier
- Tidy up my room/the kitchen/the hallway
- Cut down my time on my smartphone

- Eat more fruit and vegetables
Drink more water
- File my work using ring binders and subject dividers
- Get to the gym more often

4. Continue with Resourcefulness goals. Put the sticky notes on a new sheet of A4, pass it round and choose a goal for your flashcard.

For example:
- Try out mind mapping

- Use a flashcard app
- Use a planner/memo board to help with organisation
- Try out new recipes
- Eat as a family more often
- Start a new hobby/ pick up an old one
- Join an evening class for ….

5. Finish with Resilience goals. Put the sticky notes on a new sheet of A4, pass it round and choose a goal for your flashcard.

For example:
- Use the think positive routine in Study Skills

- Use the breathing exercises before a test or presentation
- Smile more!
- Choose up to 3 great things about yourself and write them down. Call this 3 great me things to keep it brief.
- Choose up to 3 great things that have happened each day and tell someone about them. They can be really small – the sun shining on a tree/a smile from a school friend. Call this 3 great day things.

Now your flashcard should be complete!

Choose somewhere to pin your flashcards up - perhaps all together on a memo board.  Remember you have a much better chance of keeping the resolutions now they’ve been written down!

Have a family discussion about once a week, perhaps during a meal, and discuss how everyone is getting on. Tick next to a choice you are doing well on. Put a smiley face next to a goal achieved. Feel free to add a new goal and keep the additional sticky notes filed away so you can use them again the next time you want to think about goals as a family.
Good luck with your resolutions and Happy New Year!

Looking for more invaluable study tips?

Elizabeth Holtom's new Study Skills book is out soon!

- Help children identify their most effective learning style, enabling them to retain and recall information much more easily
- Includes revision guidance which can be implemented right away
Revision planners and engaging interactive activities to save you time and encourage self-reflection

Pre-order here

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