New Year Intentions: Mental Self-Care

January 3, 2013 tneely

Each new year, I believe the universe gives us an opportunity to reflect on the year passing and to set new goals or intentions for the year ahead. The goal-oriented overachiever in me had a love/hate relationship with this time of year because no matter how great my achievements for the year, I always came away feeling like I failed in some way. As atonement, I would vow to “do more” and “be better”. At the beginning of 2012, after approximately 4 months of intensive treatment for my never ending panic and anxiety, I gave up on goal setting and instead set intentions for the new year, the most important of them being to practice better mental self-care.

The corporate world taught me that to set a goal is to define an objective that is both observable and measurable. This line of thinking often works well in the office but can wreck havoc on the psyche of someone struggling with perfectionism; putting us on guard and making us fearful of mistakes or missed opportunities. Practicing yoga taught me a new way of thinking. It taught me that by setting intentions, I am choosing to be on a mindful path that will keep me focused on what I want and need at the present moment instead of a logical system designed to make me a productive worker.

The Power of Intention on Mental Self Care

Put simply, to set an intention is to commit to being mindful of a purpose or desire and doing the best we can to direct our mind and actions toward that purpose or desire. My experience teaches me that goals are set with the mind and intentions are set with the heart. My experience also teaches me that the heart is more powerful than the mind.

With my heart intensely focused on my own healing, I began making conscious decisions that favored my desired outcome on a day-to-day and moment-by-moment basis. Above all else, I wanted to feel better mentally and emotionally. So as best I can, I choose rest over unfinished housework; healthy food and vitamins over psychiatric medication; exercise over alcohol; mutually supportive relationships over needy codependent relationships. I choose to engage in my community where I find acceptance instead of fighting to be accepted where I am not wanted.

While I have very few tangible or measurable accomplishments to brag about this year, I am content with my journey to mental and emotional wellness. And I am grateful for the opportunity to share that journey here at HealthyPlace.

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APA Reference
tneely (2013, January 3). New Year Intentions: Mental Self-Care, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: tneely

January, 7 2013 at 9:02 pm

Thank you for sharing, this is a very refreshing out look at this time of year, intentions instead of those resolutions that make us feel bad when we can't measure up. Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of choosing not to take meds. As for your other intentions, I am going to do the same, including healthy foods and vitamins.

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