Prioritizing Mental Health in the Season of New Year’s Resolutions 

Written by Victoria Nemeth (she/her)

As we begin the New Year, we are all being inundated once again with messages about starting off strong with new goals, hobbies, and resolutions. Many people make resolutions related to their health to either start a new habit or get rid of a bad one, but making sustainable change is a difficult task. While setting goals and working towards building healthier habits is important, oftentimes our resolutions set lofty expectations that are unattainable or unrealistic and are rarely kept throughout the year. If we don’t meet the expectations that we set for ourselves, they can weigh us down with feelings of self-doubt and stress, ultimately negatively impacting our mental health and well-being. However, goal setting, when done thoughtfully, can also give us a sense of meaning and purpose. Further, achieving those goals can also boost feelings of self-esteem along with a sense of accomplishment. If you do choose to partake in setting goals or resolutions this year, it is important to remember to think through them carefully to prioritize and maximize mental health and well-being during the process and set yourself up for success. Ultimately, it is important to do what feels best and right for you. Be kind to yourself in pursuit of your goals in the New Year and show yourself grace in moments of struggle. 

Here are some tips for prioritizing mental health and well-being in the season of creating resolutions: 

  1. Practice self-compassion! It is normal to have setbacks and it is perfectly alright. You can get right back on track where you left off. 
  1. Celebrate your wins! Keeping a notes page, a document, or even a physical box where you keep track of your progress can help push you forward whenever you start to feel discouraged. Tangible ways of tracking progress and coming up with a reward system can help to maintain your goals!  
  1. Remember, progress over perfection. Rather than aiming for perfection, strive for progress. Acknowledging the progress you make along the way can contribute to a healthier and more positive approach to mental health and success in pursuit of New Year’s Resolutions.  
  1. Set realistic goals for YOU and break them up into small, manageable parts. It is very important to set resolutions that are meaningful to you. Find a support system or a group with a common goal!  Joining groups with similar goals to your resolutions can help provide a social network and support system to cheer you on. Encouragement and accountability from others can be a helpful and healthy way to stay on track.  
  1. Use the SMART Goals method. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Trackable. This is a great tool that can help make a sustainable plan to pursue your goals. You can also pull pieces from this method that resonate with you. 

Some helpful resources: