New Year Resolutions FOR Teens
Rebecca Prengler, MD
Girls to Women Health and Wellness Physician
It's the start of a new year, and for many people, a time of reflection and self-improvement. As we think back upon the previous year and look forward to our hopes for the year to come, it is important to set realistic, healthy goals.
For teens, yearly self-reflection and goal-setting are unique opportunities for thoughtful discussion and personal growth.
We live in a busy, changing, and sometimes confusing world that is undoubtedly difficult to navigate. Sometimes we can lose our way. Let this new year provide time for you and your family to re-connect with what is important to you all.
nearly one-half of Americans make New Year's resolutions, but
just 8% follow-through
and achieve their goals.
The latest fads of 'top New Year's resolutions' may sound great on paper, but many times are intangible and lead to disappointment if not fulfilled.
So what are resolutions really about? The verb 'to resolve' actually has several interpretations. Depending on the context, it can mean to 'deal with successfully,' to 'clear up,' to 'find an answer to', or to 'reach a clear decision about', to name just a few. It sounds so definitive. Life is, however, just more complicated than that.
Perhaps it is more constructive to think of self-improvement and introspection each January in terms
f two fundamental themes- 1)
Taking care of our health- as in loving, protecting, and accepting oneself and 2)
Taking care of our world- as in giving back to the community, repairing our world in some way, feeling connected with others, and positively affecting others' lives.
Here are some ideas to discuss with teens for a fulfilling and healthy 2017. Happy New Year.
Sleep. We have busy lives. For teens, the recommended amount of sleep is 9-10 hours per night. Make it a point to shut off all screens one hour before bedtime and establish a low-key bedtime routine.
. It stimulates the imagination and takes us to another place for a little while.
Create. Give time to creative outlets and explore interests. They are worth your investment. Draw, paint, play an instrument, see a play, go to a concert, cook. Cultivate that part of your soul because it helps ground you and show you perspective.
Breathe. Make it a point to take a few deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps you feel calm.
5. Write. Make a list of the things that make you happy, fulfilled, and encouraged. Read it to yourself on the hard days to remember the joy in life. Try to journal each day- anything from writing 5 things you are grateful for to to keeping a diary of your thoughts and feelings.
6. Travel. Be curious about the world. Ask questions. Travel physically, emotionally, spiritually. Read about a different culture, watch a movie about someone's life that different from yours. Physically go to new places if you can. It humbles you.
7. Eat. Respect hunger and fill your body with good fuel. Make it a point to incorporate fruits, veggies, brown grains, and protein. Three meals and two snacks a day. Avoid the sodas and fried foods.
8. Exercise. Find a form of exercise to enjoy that gets your heartrate up. Start with 1-2 times a week, then work up to 5 times a week, 30 minutes at a time. It is a proven tool to alleviate stress and improve cardiovascular health.
9. Respect. Be kind to yourself and others. If you see something wrong or unfair, say something. Make it a point to stand up for what you know is right. Reach out to those who may be struggling.
10. Repair. There are so many ways to help others. Volunteer somewhere- a hospital, animal shelter, child care facility, nursing home. It helps people feel connected, builds confidence and competence, and establishes a sense of responsibility.