New Year Resolutions For Students? Nope! Goal Setting Is More Effective


New Year Resolution for student

Another New Year. Another set of New Year Resolutions with your students.

But wait...do you know that 80% of New Year's Resolutions fail?! Want a more effective way to guide your students to proactive growth? The answer is SMART Goal Setting!

New Year Resolution for student

So why do we keep this January tradition of New Year resolutions with students going? As educators, you would not be happy with a 20% success rate (an F!) on any assignment, project, or quiz. You know it would be time for a change. No more New Year Resolutions with students!


It is time to switch our mindset from resolutions to goal setting. By teaching goal setting to your students, you will provide them with the knowledge on how to create realistic goals instead of ambiguous resolutions! The benefits of shifting to this mindset will be life-long!

New Year Resolution for student

Many children view learning skills as a passive activity that just happens with no effort or plan. This is a fixed mindset. Reflection and SMART goal setting are essential skills to promote and develop a growth mindset as your children mature. The New Year is the perfect time to cultivate a growth mindset!


With guidance from you, your children can develop a growth mindset and be actively engaged in learning a variety of academic, social, emotional, and physical skills!


Why Setting Goals Is Important


Reflection and goal setting are essential skills for students to develop as they grow. The importance of goal setting for students has been documented time and time again. A few of the more prominent benefits that goal-setting provides include:


  • Promoting brain development by recalling situations, emotions, and facts

  • Developing analyzation skills

  • Fostering a growth mindset

  • Encouraging active participation in academic, social, and emotional growth

  • Promoting effort, practice, hard work, persistence, and self-confidence

New Year Resolution for student

What Are SMART Goals?


A SMART goal is an acronym that leads your students through a step-by-step process of creating achievable goals. If a goal is too involved or unrealistic, your students will become discouraged. SMART goals break down the goal-setting process into easy, manageable pieces that provide a scaffold to success! Download this FREE SMART Goal Setting Poster to hang as a reference.

New Year Resolution for student
SMART Goal Questions

S - Specific

M - Measurable

A - Action Plan

R - Realistic

T - Time Frame






How To Set SMART Goals


In the beginning, you will guide your students through the SMART goal process by helping them answer the questions on the poster. It will take time to figure out what "little" steps will assist them in reaching their "big" goal. As they become more familiar with the process, they will become more confident and successful in developing, measuring, and achieving their own individualized SMART goals.


Examples of Student SMART Goals


In the following example, you can see how a student uses the step-by-step process to create an action plan to move them towards learning their x7’s multiplication facts. A student would create the specific and measurable goal of achieving a 90% on a x7 timed test of 25 problems in 3 weeks.

Next, he would break down that goal into smaller steps.

New Year Resolution for student
  1. First, a student would plan to practice their x7's flashcards for 5 minutes every day.

  2. He next plans to play an online multiplication game 3 times every week focusing on x7 facts.

  3. Finally, this student would take a x7 timed test twice a week.


Each week he would record and monitor his progress. At the end of the 3 weeks, he will either accomplish his goal or adjust the steps as needed to continue working towards meeting his goal!

New Year Resolution for student
Student SMART Goal Example

The final piece of implementing SMART goals is checking in on your students’ progress frequently and offering your enthusiasm and encouragement for their hard work! You are an integral part of teaching your students how to create and develop a growth mindset; you will be providing them with a skill that encourages life-long learning!



Are you ready to have your students actively engage in working towards their goals? We have resources that will make it easy!




Beginning The New Year with 3rd-9th grade students?

Encourage student goal setting and promote a growth mindset by guiding your students through this Reflection & SMART Goal Setting Mini-Unit.

New Year Resolution for student

This resource will:

  • Teach them how to reflect on the previous year

  • Explain what SMART goals include

  • Guide them through goal-setting activities that will allow them to develop, measure, and ACHIEVE their own individualized SMART goals!




Working with Pre-K-3rd graders?

Looking for a FUN & EASY print-and-go New Year's project? "My New Year" PreK-3rd Grade Tab Book is the perfect activity to have your students reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming new year!

new year resolution for student

This printable project:

  • Contains a simple 6-page seasonal tab book for younger elementary students to complete.

  • Has students describe 3 of their favorite things from the previous year (people, places, and memories).

  • Has students set 3 goals (for school, home, and personal) for the upcoming year.

  • Each page includes coloring, drawing, and writing sections(with 4 options for different writing abilities).



You've Got This!


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-Sacha & Wendy