Keep a Positive Approach to Resolutions
There's a celebratory feeling to setting goals on New Year's that doesn't exist at other times of the year. "It's about happiness!" says Meg Cox, author of The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Everyday. "Present it optimistically: Every day's a new day, and you have a chance to reinvent yourself. A lot comes from your tone. If you're putting it in a punishing, preachy way, they'll be turned off."
Start by going over the positive things your kids accomplished last year. "Instead of pointing out shortcomings, be the historian of their previous successes," Dr. Carter says. "Point to the bright spot where they're doing something well."
Have them think of things they can do now that they couldn't do last year. Say your 10-year-old taught himself to play a difficult song on the piano. Did that success come about because he pushed himself a little harder? Remind him how far that little bit of extra effort took him. Ask your child, "How can you transfer your success on the piano to something else?"
You've set the stage. Next, look ahead and ask, "What are some of the great things you want to do this year? What do you want to improve? What will make your life better and happier?"