New Year, New You—A Checklist for Success

written by: Eagle Hill School
Every year we set resolutions for the new year. It’s not uncommon to see hordes of people hitting the gym, getting into the office early, or taking on other new challenges. Unfortunately, most of these bursts of action are short-lived, and this is mostly because people don’t have a solid plan in place to keep them on track.

Below is a checklist that won’t necessarily tell you how to create a plan for your child, but will offer a number of “to-do’s” to get the planning started.
  • Start with a few achievable goals. Biting off more than you can chew by setting a ton of huge goals can actually hurt your child’s chance of success. Encourage your kid to find a few things they really want to improve upon: bringing up their GPA to a certain percentage point, joining a new sports team, etc. They will feel great when they hit their concrete goals.
  • Focus on the personal achievements. While we all do it sometimes, it isn’t healthy or productive to constantly compare ourselves to others and their achievements. Instead, help your child think about how their progress stacks up against their own set of goals. This sort of intrinsic motivation will be valuable throughout life, as the race to be “the best” never goes away. Having a strong foundation of personal growth and goal setting will help keep their priorities on track.
  • Set milestones. For larger goals, it’s important to have a set of smaller milestones to “check off” along the way. Without these, reaching the ultimate goal can sometimes seem discouraging or hopeless. Milestones can be thought of as “mini goals” and planned out over a series of weeks or even months. Reaching these will help your child reinforce the idea that they are one step closer to their larger set of goals.
  • Accept failure. It is inevitable that there are going to be setbacks along the road to achieving one’s goals. Children with learning disabilities or learning differences can experience more of these and experience them more profoundly. Children who have struggled with learning disabilities are used to not seeing the outcomes they’d like. That’s why it’s even more important for them to feel comfortable with failure. It is a natural and even useful tool. Help your child understand that without failing they can never learn to improve, and in many ways, it’s a good thing.
  • Don’t get discouraged. The number one rule of success is that you have to keep going. Sometimes adjustments might be needed, but ultimately, you have to keep moving forward. While it might be easy for students with learning disabilities to get discouraged, the only way to make progress is to keep giving a sincere effort.
These are by no means strict guidelines or a complete barometer of success, but giving this some thought while helping your child plan out their goals for the new year might help organize things and put them in perspective.

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Learning Diversity is a blog hosted by Eagle Hill School where educators, students, and other members of the LD community regularly contribute posts and critical essays about learning and living in spaces that privilege the inevitability of human diversity.

The contributors of Learning Diversity come together to engage our readers from a variety of disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, biological sciences and mathematics, athletics, and residential life. Embracing learning diversity means understanding and respecting our students as whole persons.

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