Helping Kids Be Responsible, Happy, and Successful



If you’ve given up on making New Year’s resolutions, there’s a good reason to change your mind. In reality, there is nothing like a new year and a clean slate to initiate some changes that can enhance your life. This is also true for your kids.

Let’s begin with the basic premise that New Year’s Resolutions usually fall into two categories: bad habits to break and good habits to make.

I’ve written two books for kids that address both issues. The first is A Winning Skills Book – You Can Rid of Bad Habits, and the second is A Winning Skills Book – You Can Attain Your Goals. This newsletter will provide the most helpful information from the two books with the hope that you will share the information with your kids and thus inspire them to make—and keep--their own New Year’s Resolutions.


Shortly after A Winning Skills Book – You Can Rid of Bad Habits was made available, a young reader wrote to me, “Your book about bad habits is not only for kids. My dad is 36 years old. He has been smoking since he was 15. I shared your book with him, and it helped him stop smoking. If I get a bad habit, I plan to use your book to stop it.” Rachel

There are a lot of bad habits that children can have. There’s nail biting, teeth grinding, nose picking, hair twirling—just to name a few.

Rachel’s success story, as well as the success stories of many other children who wrote to me, was reaffirmed when other authors, who penned their books after mine was published, incorporated my Six Steps to Overcoming Bad Habits into their books. The six steps are summarized below.


STEP 1 – Admit that you have a bad habit. Admit it to yourself and to someone you trust.

STEP 2 – Realize that you need to quit. Ask yourself and others the two following questions, and list the answers to the questions on a sheet of paper.

  • Why is this habit bad?
  • How will it benefit me if I get rid of this habit?

STEP 3 – Encourage yourself to quit. Post the list of answers to your questions and read them to yourself at the beginning and end of each day.

STEP 4 – Remind yourself to quit. Remind yourself to avoid engaging in your bad habit by doing some of the following:

  • Ask others to remind you when they see you engaging in your bad habit.
  • Write and post notes to yourself.
  • Tie a string or put a Band-Aid around your finger.
  • Put a sticker or small piece of tape on your clothing or the back of your hand.
  • Use a non-permanent marker to write a reminder on the back of your hand.

STEP 5 – Quit one day at a time.

  • Begin each day by promising yourself that you will not engage in your bad habit for that day.
  • With the help of reminders from others and your own reminders, quit for that day.
  • At the end of the day, congratulate yourself and share your success with another person.

STEP 6 – Replace the bad habit with a good habit. When you have quit your bad habit, you can avoid experiencing a sense of loss by replacing the bad habit with a good habit.


In addition to the Six Steps to Overcoming Bad Habits, kids who want to overcome a bad habit also need to know:

  • What constitutes a bad habit?
  • What is the difference between a good habit and a bad habit?
  • How can a person recognize a bad habit?
  • Why does a person develop bad habits?
  • What are things that can be done to make it easier to overcome bad habits?

This information can be found in the book A Winning Skills Book – You Can Rid of Bad Habits. A download of it is FREE at Use the code HABITS at checkout.


When it comes to kids achieving their goals, the biggest hurdle to overcome is believing they cannot achieve goals. This is why it is important to get kids used to achieving goals by starting with a small goal that is easily attainable.

I remember the first time I taught an after-school class to kids called “You Can Achieve Your Goals.” The goals that the kids established for themselves ran the gamut from getting a video game to making a friend.

Of course, the most rewarding part of the class for all of us happened when the students achieved their goals. But first, they had to be convinced that they could achieve goals, and this required taking baby steps before launching into the bigger steps.

We began by setting a simple goal of getting a treat that all of us would enjoy eating. Then we followed the Four Steps to Achieving Goals. The steps required identifying a possible source for the treat, accessing the source, purchasing the treat, and bringing it back to the classroom to enjoy.

The Four Steps to Achieving a Goal are included below.


STEP 1 – Define the Goal. Establish what is your goal.

  • Avoid general goals such as “I want to be happy” or “I want to be successful.” Instead try to be specific.
  • Specific goals represent particular accomplishments. For example, learning how to do a particular task or acquiring something in particular is a specific goal.
  • Having specific goals makes it easier to  determine exactly what needs to be done to achieve them.

STEP 2 – Make a List. List the tasks that need to be done to achieve the goal.

  • It might be beneficial to have someone help you make the list.
  • Talk to a person who is experienced in setting and achieving goals.
  • Or talk to a person who has achieved a goal that is similar to yours.

STEP 3 – Organize the List. List the tasks in the order that they need to be done. List what needs to be done first, second, third, and so on.

  • It might be helpful to list each task on a small slip of paper.
  • Place the slips on a flat surface.
  • Organize them is a vertical row with the first task at the top of the row and the last task at the bottom of the row.
  • Copy the list of tasks in proper order onto a sheet of paper. This will become your “Things to Do” list.

STEP 4 – Do Each Task.

  • Work from the “Thing to Do” list and do whatever needs to be done to achieve the goal.
  • Start from the top of the list and complete each task in order.
  • When you complete a task, cross it off of your list and move on to the next task.
  • Keep going until you have crossed off every task on the list. At this point you will have achieved your goal.


Other information that can help kids achieve their goals includes:

  • What is the difference between desires and goals?
  • What are the eight obstacles that can hinder people from achieving their goals?
  • What are the ten qualities of an achiever?
  • How does a person become an achiever? 

All of this information can be found in A Winning Skills Book – You Can Attain Your Goals. A download of the book is FREE at Use the code GOALS at checkout.


There’s a small area in our city park where beginning skateboarders can learn and hone their skills. The other day, my dogs and I were walking by the area when I saw what appeared to be a timid boy. He was holding a brand-new skateboard that was likely a Christmas gift. “I really want to do it, dad,” he lamented, “but I just can’t.”

The father lovingly placed his hand on the boy’s shoulder and said, “You’ll never know if you can or you can’t unless you try.”

When the dogs and I finished our 2-mile walk, we passed by the skateboarding area once again and I saw the boy, ever so tenuously, smiling and riding the skateboard while his father cheered him on.

When it comes to making New Year’s Resolutions, it’s important to share with your kids the father of the skateboarder’s encouraging words. “You’ll never know if you can or you can’t unless you try.”

Happy New Year! And good luck to your child and you as you try to make all of your New Year’s Resolutions a reality!


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