Here’s some much needed guidance from Sensei Serge Sognonvi, owner and head instructor of Urban Martial Arts, a karate school in Brooklyn. For more information about their kids karate classes and karate after-school program, visit Urban Martial Arts. Because if you are going to take advice from anyone, don’t you want them to be a Sensei?
1. Set resolutions that are meaningful to your child
It’s tempting to let your own priorities dictate your child’s new year’s resolutions. (“Honey, why don’t you resolve to not put your sticky fingers all over mommy’s iPhone every single day?”) But it’s best if you can help your child tap into a reason that resolution would be important to them, not just to you.
2. Break big resolutions into smaller goals with specific time frames
Instead of a new year’s resolution of “I will read more,” try something like, “I will read for at least 15 minutes each day, Monday through Friday, for 2 weeks straight.” After the 2 weeks are over, set another small goal to keep the momentum going.
3. Don’t just talk about the resolutions; write them down
Seeing resolutions represented visually makes them more tangible. At Urban Martial Arts, for example, we have a large banner that says “This Is a Black Belt School.” Seeing that banner everyday helps make the long-term goal of achieving a black belt more real to our students. So ask your child to write down each of the resolutions they set.
4. Offer a reward to keep your child motivated
It’s important to celebrate when your child accomplishes a goal by giving them a reward. But don’t think these rewards have to be expensive. At Urban Martial Arts, for example, we recognize our student’s achievements by adding stripes to their belts. What are the stripes made of? Simple electrical tape! It’s not that the tape itself has any tangible value, it’s what the stripe represents that makes the student value it so much.
5. Lead by example
The best way to teach a child to set and stick to new year’s resolutions is by allowing them to watch you do it yourself. So write down your own resolutions and let your child know when you’ve accomplished them. There’s nothing more powerful than leading by example!