A journal open to a page that says 2024 with checkmarks lying on a desk next to a cup of coffee

Realistic New Year’s Resolutions to Care for Your Mental Health

New Year’s resolutions: the time when our thoughts turn to self-improvement and personal growth – whether it’s committing to more exercise, picking up a new skill or prioritising self-care. These resolutions can bring excitement, as we envision the possibilities of achieving our goals, but they can also carry a sense of apprehension about falling short of our own expectations.


And the apprehension is warranted – most resolutions don’t last more than a few weeks to a few months. Starting with overly ambitious intentions, setting goals with extended timelines, setting goals without a plan to achieve them, or adopting changes that seem important because others are doing the same, are some of the many reasons why our new year’s resolutions fail.


Another reason? Change is hard.


So if you’re looking for realistic resolutions that can improve your mental well-being, try one of the following.


Realistic mental health resolutions for the new year


Practice mindfulness. Practising mindfulness involves integrating activities like meditation and deep breathing exercises into your daily routine. The essence lies in being fully present in the moment without passing judgement on what you are thinking or feeling in response. By dedicating regular moments to cultivate this state of awareness, you can effectively reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance overall well-being. For tips on how to add a mindfulness practise to your daily routine, check out this article.


Learn how to ask for support. Recognizing when you’re feeling overwhelmed and in need of support, overcoming the hesitation or fear associated with seeking assistance, and actively confiding in or reaching out to friends, family, or professionals are all skills. And they are extremely important for your mental health, now and long term. Take small steps toward this by trying to use more sentences that start with, “I feel…,” which can open a conversation about current or future struggles.


Set boundaries. Setting boundaries in your life means defining limits to your behaviour or capacity in various areas such as work, relationships, and personal commitments. By clearly outlining what is acceptable and manageable for you, setting boundaries helps prevent burnout, promotes self-respect, and ensures you prioritize your mental well-being amid life’s demands.


Try gratitude journaling. Gratitude journaling involves regularly recording positive aspects of your life, from the mundane to the eventful; over time, this can foster a mindset shift towards appreciation and mindfulness. In turn, this new mindset can contribute to improved mental health and a more positive outlook on life.


Disconnect from social media. Take a break from a constant online presence, particularly on social media platforms. This might require temporarily logging out of or even uninstalling social media apps to reduce the influence of the digital world. Without the distraction, you’ll be able to be more present in the moment and may pursue new hobbies or pick up old ones — all results that support better mental health.


Prioritize sleep. Modern schedules often make sleep more of a reward than a purposeful activity. But getting enough, good quality sleep can significantly boost mental health. This resolution involves adopting healthy sleep habits, like setting a consistent sleep schedule, sticking to a regular relaxation and bedtime routine, creating a conducive sleep environment, and establishing a morning routine that helps you feel fully alert in the morning.


Seek professional mental healthcare. Taking the first step towards digital therapy or conventional, in-person therapy can feel overwhelming or unnecessary. But therapy of any kind isn’t just for a crisis. This resolution helps you reframe mental healthcare as a positive, even preventative step — which can have long-lasting positive effects on mental well-being.


Setting a New Year’s resolution isn’t necessary, but it can be a positive way to focus on self-improvement. The key is to approach any resolution in a planned manner that maximizes your chances of sticking with them. Remember: the aim is progress, not perfection.



Vidula V Sawant (M.A., M.Phil., CRR No. A80980) is a clinical psychologist with 4+ years of experience and a passion for understanding the complexities of our minds and behaviours.



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