New Year's Resolutions for Mental Health
Wednesday, December 26 2018 Heidi Green, Psy.D.
New Year's resolutions for mental health may not be on your radar yet, but as we approach the end of 2018, many are thinking about the new year. Common goals include behavior changes like healthy eating, increased exercise, or quitting undesired habits like smoking. In year's past, my goals have also been about changing my behavior. This year, I am shifting my mindset around resolutions and creating goals focused on improving my mental health. New Year's resolutions for mental health aren't just motivated by a desire to behave differently, but by a desire to feel differently.
Resolve to Change Your Unhealthy Belief Systems
For years, I placed a distorted value on work ethic. I rarely took time off work when sick. I worked weekends. I put my worth in how hard I worked. This mindset did not allow me to emphasize self-care because I thought I was only valuable when I was working hard. My unhealthy mindset left me burned out, fatigued, and physically unwell.
I had to change the way I defined my worth and cared for myself. Once I changed, I altered things right away. I think procrastination of change is one reason New Year's resolutions for mental health or otherwise can be unsuccessful. Ask yourself how you want to feel differently. Then ask yourself what practices you are willing to begin immediately to facilitate your desired change.
5 New Year's Resolutions for Improved Mental Health
If you are wondering what New Year's resolutions for mental health might look like, here are some ideas:
- Resolve to practice self-acceptance. Instead of focusing on all the ways you need to change, spend time accepting yourself for how you are right now. Focus on what you like about yourself today.
- Resolve to be present. Self-Improvement often focuses on how you can be better in the future. While there is value in that, it can interfere with your ability to enjoy the present. Consider a resolution to live mindfully in the moment.
- Resolve to practice more self-care. Self-Care isn't just about self-soothing or creating a temporary escape from reality. The best self-care involves creating a healthier, more fulfilling life. Perhaps you could commit to worrying less about things you can't control, or spending more time engaging in your favorite hobbies.
- Resolve to be kinder to yourself. Disengage from your inner critic. Give yourself credit for what you are doing well. Speak to yourself with kindness, recognizing you are doing your best in any given moment.
- Resolve to say no. It's so easy to fall into the people-pleasing trap. Healthy boundaries require us to say no to things that aren't in our best interest, even if it sometimes means disappointing others. Commit to saying yes to yourself more, by saying no to things that aren't good for you.
Don't Wait to Make Mental Health Improvements
My New Year's resolutions for mental health in 2019 include engaging in more self-compassion and self-kindness. I hope this will translate to improved self-care, like taking a sick day when I need it. In fact, I took a sick day earlier this month because I knew it was what I needed. I didn't want to wait until the new year to start taking better care of myself.
Sticking to New Year's resolutions can be tricky. Check out my video below for tips on setting successful goals. Remember, you don't have to wait until January to act. If you feel motivated to improve your mental health, the best time to start is right now.