Originally published: January 2023


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It’s a new year—a time for new beginnings—the perfect time to bring the whole family together to set resolutions and goals for the year to come. Even young children can take part in this bonding experience! Making resolutions is easy but sticking to them can be hard. How can your family make healthy resolutions that lead to positive change?

It's all about our mindset

Our mindset is how we view success, failure, wins, and setbacks. People tend to have two types of mindsets:

A growth mindset helps people view setbacks and failures as an opportunity to grow, learn and improve. They believe they can make positive changes, even if it takes many tries. This way of thinking can lead to more overall satisfaction and happiness.

A fixed mindset leads people to view setbacks and failures as proof they are never going to change or aren’t good enough, which can cause them to lose motivation to keep trying. This way of thinking can decrease a person’s self-esteem, satisfaction, and happiness. 

Do you tend to have more of a growth or fixed mindset? How about your child? The good news is that all people can learn to have a growth mindset more often because our brains can change!

How to set goals with a growth mindset

Learning to set goals and make positive changes as a family can help your child develop lifelong habits that support wellness. Parents and caregivers play a key role in supporting this—here are some tips to get you started:

  • Work together – Kids are often being told by adults what they have to do or should do. When it comes to goal-setting, internal motivation is key. Work together with your child to brainstorm goals they want to reach and then support them in their journey to make the change.
  • Make goals realistic – You’ve probably heard the saying, “biting off more than you can chew?” While setting big goals can lead to big successes, these can also lead to big setbacks. These experiences can cause kids to fall back into a fixed mindset. Help your child set small goals they can achieve. One small success can help your child feel satisfied and proud of their efforts. Small setbacks can also help them learn to accept and move forward from failure.
  • Add the word ‘yet’ to your family’s vocabulary – A fixed mindset can lead kids and adults to think or say things like “I’ll never be good at this” or “I can’t do it.” The word yet is small but mighty! Let’s see it in action with these same statements: “I’m not good at this yet” or “I can’t do it yet”. Can you feel the powerful shift in mindset? Try adding it to your everyday conversations!
  • Teach your child how change happens – Help your child set goals with the understanding that setbacks are normal. Change is messy. When your family sets goals with this in mind, your child is more likely to accept and move forward from setbacks and failures.  
  • Practice self-compassion – When setbacks happen, it’s easy to be hard on ourselves. Both kids and adults can benefit from learning to be more kind to themselves. Here’s something you and your child can both try: when you make mistakes, ask yourself, “how would I treat a friend in this situation?” You’d probably give them reassurance, kind words, and a hug. Try to do the same for yourself.

Words matter

The way we praise our children has a huge impact on the way they view themselves. Praise the effort, not the outcome! This encourages a growth mindset. Let's see it in action:

Stop saying

Start saying

You're so smart.

I can see you worked hard on this.

Wow! You find math really easy!

Wow! You're learning so much, let's try something new to challenge your brain to grow!

That was really tough, I'm glad it's over!

That was really tough, but you made it through. Look at what challenges you can overcome!


From growth mindset to resilience

Building a growth mindset in your child can help them succeed in keeping resolutions and making positive changes. A growth mindset can also lead to resilience! Resiliency means being able to recover, or ‘bounce back,’ from struggles. What happens when you combine a growth mindset with resiliency? The ability to bounce forward! As we kick off this new year, strive to support your child’s efforts to set goals using a growth mindset. Together you can bounce forward through the joys and challenges of 2023!

To learn more about growth mindset, see these resources:

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