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How you can make New Year's resolutions as a family

Leah Richardson, a licensed professional counselor, thinks it’s the perfect time for a family to set goals together.

DALLAS — When it comes to New Years resolutions, many parents make the mistake of forgetting that their kids can be part of the process as well.

Leah Richardson, a licensed professional counselor, thinks it’s the perfect time for a family to set goals together. 

“It’s the beginning of a new year,” she says. “Whether you’re 6 or 16, you understand that. And there’s excitement around the new year.”

The same reasons mom and dad want to take advantage of an opportunity for a fresh start can help kids do the same. That could mean focusing on building better eating habits or getting more exercise. Or perhaps it’s an opportunity to work on something specific to kids, like setting better study habits for school. But no matter what, Richardson says kids need to be a part of the process.

“The first step is kids need to know why they need goals. Many kids don’t,” she says. 

Richardson recommends sitting with kids and going over the benefits of goal setting. Secondly, she says it’s important to be realistic. “Goals have to be smart. They have to be specific. They have to be measurable. That have to be attainable.”

Third, Richardson says families need to figure out how to best track how they’re doing. 

“They have to have a timeline attached to them,” she says. “How do you measure your progress?” 

Richardson recommends breaking goals down into bite-size bits that keep little ones from getting overwhelmed.

So what happens when there’s the inevitable struggle in keeping a family resolution? Richardson says that can be a positive.

“I think it’s great to see mom and dad struggle with hitting a goal. We’re all going to struggle at some point,” she says. “There can be a whole learning experience attached with the goal setting.”