Your Child's New Year's Resolutions

Your Child’s New Year’s Resolutions: Setting up a year of success

Back in high school, I never really reflected back on what I accomplished, what mistakes I made, or how I wanted my next year to look like. I never set specific goals…instead, they were vague and too “hyped up”.

For example…

“I want to do well in school”

(but never asked the question, “what does “well” mean to me? And why do I want to do well in school?”)

“I want to stop procrastinating next year”

(but never actually identified WHY I was procrastinating and how I could fix it with clear action steps)

“I’m going to spend more time researching colleges or try to learn about them more… and of course, because my mom is nagging me about it 24/7”

(but never sat down to teach myself about the colleges…and college websites bored me to death)

As a high schooler, it’s hard to ask these “why” questions.

But now that I’ve grown into an USC/Harvard grad, an educator, and a mentor for hundreds of high school students, I make sure that my students learn the SKILLS to become successful (instead of just saying — I want to go to Harvard because it’s prestigious)

So today, I’m going to help your child do the same.

As a high school teen, there’s 8 areas that make up your life (not in particular order):

  1. GPA
  2. Test prep (SAT, ACT, AP, SAT II)
  3. Extracurriculars (Volunteer, sports, school clubs, etc.)
  4. Passion Project
  5. Personal growth and physical/mental well-being
  6. Fun/recreation/entertainment
  7. Physical environment
  8. Friends/family

When I work with my high school students inside my 1:1 College Consulting program, it’s not just about how to get the best GPA, highest SAT scores, and add as many activities on the college application (because honestly, you can get that anywhere else…).

I TEACH my students how to reflect and set academic and personal goals.

These are life skills, not just “how to get my acceptance letter”.

So, I have an homework assignment for YOUR CHILD too (b/c why not? I want to help YOUR child achieve that goal as well — whether that is getting straight A’s for the first time, creating his/her passion project, or having a better relationship with family)

So here’s the homework question:

Question #1: To start off, rate on a scale of 1-10 each area of your life with 1 being the lowest level of satisfaction and 10 being the highest. Do this for ALL 8 areas.

Question #2: Based on the 8 areas, what are the TOP 3 areas of your life, if you worked on improving in the following year, would make the largest difference in keeping ALL of your numbers as high as possible?

All clear, right?

Don’t just close this tab and say – “ehh, I’ll do it later.” DO IT NOW! Successful students and professionals always reflect and learn from mistakes and celebrate achievements.


By Julie Kim Ed.M Harvard University