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Less Can Be More in the New Year!

Hello, PATH Parents!

The holidays are upon us once again, which means lots of potential fun, laughter, and, if we are honest, HARD WORK! This month of celebration, filled with special family and friend moments and memories, is fueled by hours of behind-the-scenes work by us adults, making the magic happen for our families via a frenzy of effort (like purchasing decor for our homes, decorating, planning special outings and get togethers, cooking and baking holiday food favorites, not to mention shopping for special presents, hiding and wrapping those new treasures)!

In the midst of all the holiday madness, it is valuable for us to pause and take one hour as a family to reflect on the year before it ends. What went great for us this year? Let’s celebrate those wins! What are we more than glad to leave behind? Let’s let those things go and move on. What can we focus on as a family during this coming year to make it an awesome one for all of us? Let’s pick a theme for the year for our family that has us all focused and working together in the same direction. 

As the New Year approaches, we might be tempted to create a long list of New Year Resolutions. Yet for our teens, a whole list of things to improve or “do better” can feel overwhelming. Deep down, they are pretty sure that these good intentions and new habits will only last about two weeks. That’s why keeping it simple with a single theme or one simple, practical action step will more likely get us the measurable results for which we are hoping.

Instead of our teens writing a generic resolution like, I will try to study harder at school, they can write a simple, practical new action: I will not look at Instagram on school days until my homework is done. Think about how a teen could benefit by simply doing that ONE thing all year!

I would rather have my teen focus and succeed at one thing all year than to unrealistically try to tackle ten things and then feel like a failure when only one or two actually happen. We as parents might be able to see the development of just two better habits as true success, considering our teens’ stage of life, but if our teens do not perceive the win, they can come away very discouraged from the experience of tackling too much at one time. 

People get excited about the New Year with the thought of a new beginning. Anything seems possible with hope and a new start! Let’s capitalize on that with our teens and encourage them that next year can be a great one; if they will genuinely focus on just one or two practical action steps, the “less” will help them accomplish and experience more in the long run.

As we at PATH reflect on the closing of this year, our hearts swell with great gratitude for our PATH students and parents! As we move forward, we will keep our singular focus on equipping and empowering your teens to make the healthiest choices possible in 2022 and beyond!

Cheers to the end of 2021 and a wonderful New Year ahead!
Lisa Raftery