Setting Realistic Mental Health Goals for the New Year
When we think of New Year’s goals and resolutions, we often reflect on ways to better ourselves for the year ahead. Most frequently, this is through improvements to physical and mental health. While making significant behavioral health changes at the start of the year is generally encouraged, it’s important to be realistic.
When we set goals for ourselves and don’t meet them, we can have feelings of failure. These feelings might lower our self-esteem, triggering stress, anxiety, and even depression. Instead of making positive changes at the start of a new year, unrealistic goals can have a negative impact on our mental health.
To set yourself up for success in the new year, consider goals that promote good mental health and well-being and maximize your chances of sticking with them. If you’ve already started on a goal and it’s causing significant stress or negatively impacting your well-being, reevaluate and adjust as needed. Taking care of your mental health is the number one priority.
Here are some tips for setting realistic mental health goals in the New Year:
Start With Breaking Down Big Goals
When you break down your big goals into smaller, more manageable goals, you’ll be much less likely to feel overwhelmed. Think of your smaller goals as the blueprints of a building. Start with the foundation and work your way up, remembering to reward yourself at each level completed. No level is too small of a goal. As long as you’re making progress toward your result, you are still maintaining a realistic goal.
Be Kind to Yourself
Change can be hard. Allow yourself to have feelings and give yourself grace. Remember that you are showing up for yourself and that’s what counts. When you feel like you need a little extra support, have a list of self-care activities handy that make you happy. Positive activities could look like structured therapy sessions, a form of exercise you enjoy, an outdoor walk, or time with loved ones.
Studies show that if you’re not getting enough sleep, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. On the other hand, a good night’s sleep improves learning and problem-solving skills and helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative. One of the things that can negatively impact your quality of sleep is spending too much time on your phone or computer. Remember to be aware of your screen time and social media exposure. Monitor the impact it has on your mental health and adjust as needed.
The motivation to achieve your goals can be greatly increased with the help of a support system. Consider joining groups or communities with similar goals to connect with people who can share encouragement and accountability. If you’re seeking more individualized guidance and support for your goals, mental health care professionals are available to help.
Seven Counties Services offers a wide array of treatment options by some of Kentucky’s most qualified mental health professionals. When setting up your first appointment, a dedicated treatment provider will work with you to outline your goals and design an individualized treatment plan. Remember to make your mental health a number one priority, no matter how big or small your goals are for the new year. Set realistic goals, be kind to yourself, and welcome extra support — you deserve it!