We all want certain things in life for our young people. We want to help them make and achieve their goals and thrive while exploring their many interests and curiosities. So how do we help them get there? What tools of the trade can we share with them that will help them find success? Here are three quick tips to help your young person develop a healthy habit.
First things first
What does your young person want to do? Do they want to develop healthy habits of physical activity? Is hanging out with friends more of their priority? Do they want to consider reading a print copy of a book instead of looking at a bright screen before bedtime?
Although we can suggest things that we think might interest or help our young people, only they can truly decide what motivates them enough to create a new healthy habit for themselves. It can be the consequence of a bad habit or the result of forming a good habit that gives them the intrinsic motivation for change. As long as their focus will bring about a positive outcome in their life, there are so many possibilities of what habit(s) they may want to continue with and which ones they would like to begin or stop.
Some common examples of desirable habits your young person may be interested in pursuing are: developing a certain skill in a sport, improving in a musical instrument, getting better at a creative outlet (e.g., writing, drawing, or technology), and of course keeping in touch with friends and family. Help them learn to examine their life as a triangle of physical, mental, and social well-being. They can make a decision about new habits or old habits based on if one of these areas are lacking — and why that might be.
Nothing says that a new focus needs to be permanent, so remind them not to worry that they have made a wrong choice. They can reassess their focus points throughout the year to see if their priorities still align with their life goals. A great time for this is the first of the month. On the first of every month, help or remind them to do a personal check-in with themselves. They can ask themselves questions like, “Are my behaviors truly driving me towards the life I want to live?” and “Have any of my goals or aspirations changed?”
Also, keep in mind that while it’s true that your young person can have multiple new habits going at the same time, it really doesn’t need to be a huge life shift all at once. In fact, that leads us to tip number two.