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New Year’s Resolutions and Mental Wellness

Health Care 19 Jan, 2023 Follow News

New Year’s Resolutions and Mental Wellness

“New Year, new ME!” That is often the resounding call on January 1st every year as individuals identify goals and changes for the upcoming year. New Year’s resolutions have been around for as long as any of us can remember, and for many people resolutions tend to focus on things like fitness and health. Weight loss, ability to complete a physically demanding task (such as running a marathon), and gaining flexibility and mobility are all among goals which individuals set for themselves.

Studies in this area tend to vary, but some suggest that as many as 23% of people who make resolutions quit within the first week, and as little as 9% of persons who make resolutions are actually successful.

There are several key barriers that are identified with hindering the success of New Year’s resolutions:

1- An “all or nothing” approach which focuses on competition and punishment, thus making it more difficult for people to ‘get back on the right path’ if they stray.

2- Not setting a realistic goal.

3- Not creating a timeline and setting progress markers and rewards.

4- Not having systems of accountability and support.

5- Being inflexible.

In fact, the inability to adhere to a New Year’s resolution can become a source of stress for one’s mental health, and even self harm for those who are already struggling with mental ill health.

The focus on mental health over the past few years, especially in light of the impact of the pandemic, has made its way to this year’s resolutions as Forbes Health/One Poll reports as many as 45% of respondents putting improvement in mental health as their top resolution for 2023.

In fact, 50% of 18-25 year olds and 49% of 26-41 year olds who answered the survey put said mental health improvement as their top priority, highlighting the importance that Generations Z, millennials and Generation X have placed on mental wellness.

Whatever one’s resolutions and goals may be, behavioural health experts recommend the following steps to ensuring greater success in achieving them:

1- Choose a specific and realistic goal: Specific goals should be measurable, so whether you are deciding to ‘lose 10 pounds’ or ‘attend counselling sessions twice a month’, ensuring that you can measure your goal will help put you in the right path.

2- Create a plan: Your plan should include things like a timeline, progress markers, as well as potential barriers and suggested solutions for said barriers.

3- Set rewards to motivate yourself: The final reward shouldn’t really be the only reward. Change takes time and is part of a process, and as such rewarding yourself for making progress is a great way to remain engaged and committed.

4- Find your people: Whether you find like minded people locally or get your support online, get some support. Support can come from those who are sharing a similar journey, or from those persons who love and care for you who are cheerleading you through yours.

5- Accept failure and forgive yourself: Be flexible. Change is a process, and as mentioned above the ‘all or nothing’ mindset can do more harm than good. You may slip up, you may fail, but that too is part of the journey. Use those words of encouragement that you would have for a friend for yourself. If needed go back to your goal and reassess. You are learning as you’re going along, so you may find that you may need to change and adapt things during your journey.

https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/new-years-resolutions-survey/

https://www.ohanabehavioralhealth.com/impact-of-failed-new-years-resolution-on-mental-health-and-how-to-set-realistic-goals/

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