This time of year, many people find themselves setting resolutions for different aspects of their lives, including goals related to improving their mental health. While it is important to prioritize self-care and address any mental health concerns, it can be challenging to stick to these resolutions and see lasting changes. However, by following a few key strategies, you can increase your chances of success and make meaningful progress towards better mental health in this next year.
Create Realistic Goals
First and foremost, it is essential to choose realistic and achievable goals. While it may be tempting to set grandiose resolutions, such as "eliminate all stress" or "never feel anxious again," these goals are likely to be too broad and unrealistic. Instead, focus on specific, actionable steps that you can take towards improving your mental health. For example, a more realistic resolution might be to spend at least 15 minutes each day on relaxation techniques, practice radical self-acceptance, or seek help from a mental health professional when needed. By setting goals that are attainable and focused on specific behaviors in small steps, you can make progress towards lasting change.
Create a Plan
Another important factor in successful mental health resolutions is having a plan for how to achieve your goals. This might include identifying specific strategies or techniques that you will use to address your mental health concerns or setting up a schedule for implementing these techniques. For example, if your goal is to reduce stress, you might plan to spend time each day practicing mindfulness or engaging in physical activity. By having a clear plan in place, you can stay focused and on track to achieving your goals.
Find External Support
It can also be helpful to enlist the support of others in your journey to better mental health. This might include seeking support from friends and family, joining a support group, or working with a mental health professional. Having a strong support system can provide you with encouragement, accountability, and a sense of connection as you work towards your goals. Feeling connected and working towards goals with the help of others further strengthens resiliency and fills our emotional “gas tank” to keep going.
Consistency Is Key
Another key factor in achieving mental health resolutions is being consistent and persistent. Change does not happen overnight, and it is important to remember that setbacks and challenges are a normal part of the process. It is okay if you don't see immediate results or if you struggle at times – what is most important is that you continue to work towards your goals and make progress over time.
Be Kind to Yourself
Finally, it is essential to be kind to yourself and remember that it is okay to take breaks and prioritize self-care. It is not sustainable or healthy to push yourself too hard and neglect your own needs. Make sure to take breaks when you need them and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. By taking care of yourself and practicing self-compassion, you can better sustain your efforts towards better mental health.
In conclusion, achieving mental health resolutions can be challenging, but by setting realistic goals, having a plan for how to achieve those goals, seeking support from others, being consistent and persistent, and prioritizing self-care, you can increase your chances of success and make meaningful progress towards better mental health in the new year.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 50 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.