Help Your Teenage Son Start the New Year on the Right Foot

One of the best gifts you can give your teenage son is the knowledge that he can start each year, each month and even each day anew. There are consequences for past actions, but everyone has the ability to move on and resolve to do better.

With 2019 is in its infancy and Chinese New Year—another celebration of fresh starts—approaching, it’s a great chance for your troubled teenage son to set some New Year’s resolutions. Join him in this activity, and consider setting some of your own goals. Your participation will emphasize that you can change at any time and any age.

Your Son’s Resolutions Should Be Specific

It’s important to be specific when setting goals. Let’s say your son, the champion gamer, wants to exercise more. His resolution is heartening, but it needs to be more specific. Determine why he wants to exercise. Does he hope to lose weight, gain muscle or combat moodiness?

Resolution Should Be Measurable And Achievable

Resolutions should be measurable, so if your son wants to lose weight it’s time to settle on a number.

Resolutions should also be achievable by healthy means. Rather than saying he wants to drop 30 pounds in two months, your teen would do better to say, “I’d like to lose 15 pounds by June.” Have him write down his goal, because research has shown people are more likely to follow through when they put pen to paper.

Resolutions Should Include A Plan

Once your son has settled on a goal, it’s time to figure out how he can achieve it. As author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Brainstorm with your teen on ways he can reach his fitness goals. He might resolve to:

  • Take regular runs, jogs or walks
  • Use the family’s exercise bike
  • Get a gym membership
  • Join a school or club sport
  • Take a martial arts class
  • Invest in a set of weights or kettlebells

Start Small

Now it’s time to get even more specific by planning a regimen to help your son reach his aims.
Let’s say your son has decided to shed some pounds by running. If he vows to get up before the sun every day and go for a jog, he’s probably setting himself up for failure. He needs to work up his physical stamina and his determination. Willpower is a muscle that needs to be exercised too!

We’re more likely to keep up with incremental lifestyle changes than a drastic reboot. Your son should start with a smaller goal, like starting two mornings during the school week with a jog.

Encourage Accountability, Support and Balance

If your son has a friend with similar fitness goals they can team up, keeping one another motivated and accountable. Your teen can share his progress with a fitness partner or keep a journal detailing his progress.

Focus On Quality Rather Than Quantity

While your son may be eager to set multiple resolutions, he ought to limit his goals to four or less. With too much on his plate, he’s liable to get distracted or give up. You might suggest your son set a goal in a few important areas, such as physical, academic, social and mental fitness. A preliminary list might look like this:

  • I want to lose weight.
  • I want to get better grades.
  • I want to become more comfortable around girls.
  • I want to become less depressed.

Then it’s onto crafting small, realistic goals and planning to achieve them.

Once your son understands how to set goals, he can choose from any number of resolutions. He might want to:

  • Improve his math grade through tutoring
  • Increase his fruit and vegetable intake
  • Get a part-time job
  • Learn a skill, like coding or car repair
  • Quit smoking
  • Read more books
  • Try relaxation exercises before blowing up

Sometimes, a teen’s problems are so acute, no amount of resolutions can turn his life around. If your son is struggling with problems like mental illness, substance abuse or anger management, you may want to consider sending him to a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teens.

At Help Your Teen Now, we’re dedicated to helping families in crisis find the ideal placement for their troubled teens. Our advice is always free, because we’re parents as well as professionals. Please contact us if you have any questions.

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