Have you ever watched the ball drop on New Year’s Eve? 10…9…8…7…6…5….4….3…2…1 and just like that, it’s the beginning of a new year. What are the ways that you head into the New Year? Are you excited with goals to accomplish and dreams to fulfill over the next 365 days? Maybe for you the new year brings fear, worry, anxiety, and stress?

In whatever way you approach the new year, a resolution may be a way to look forward. If you do decide to make a resolution, your mental health is a great place to start. After all, your ability to maintain your goals come down to your mental health. With that knowledge, here are 5 resolutions to encourage your mental health in the new year.

1. Positive Self Talk
Did you know that self-compassion can boost feelings of joy and happiness, optimism, and connectedness? If you have any goals with these themes or are hoping for these feelings in 2024, positive self-talk and self-compassion are a great place to start. Choosing positive self-talk is directly related to lower anxiety and depression levels. Make a resolution to speak to yourself more kindly. When you make a mistake, give yourself the same compassion that you would give to a close friend.

2. Get Good Sleep
Make a resolution to improve your sleep schedule. Statistics show that your sleep holds so many benefits for your mental and physical mental health. Maybe this resolution is worth it. Is there anything stopping you from getting enough sleep? Is your eating or exercise affecting the quality of your sleep? What are some habits that you have made right before going to sleep? Consider these questions when making a resolution to get good sleep.

3. Practice gratitude every day
How often have you spent time thinking about what you are grateful for? It can be easy to hold on to things that you feel aren’t going right in life. However, focusing on and having gratitude for the good things in your life can change your overall perspective from negative to positive.
Practicing gratitude can improve your mental health by improving relationships, reducing the risks of depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol use, improving your sleep, and reducing stress. Gratitude is often talked about because it’s a simple and effective way to change your perspective and improve your mental health.

4. Reduce screen time
Too much screen time can have negative effects on your health. Cell phones, television, and video games can cause eye strain and lead to long-term psychological complications such as depression and anxiety. To reduce these negative side effects, reduce your screen time.

5. Embrace Change
Change may seem scary, but it can lead to great new opportunities. Learning to embrace change instead of fearing it will make change feel more exciting and less stressful.
Resolutions can be beneficial when you rediscover yourself and your goals from a place of love and clarity. It’s important to approach solutions from a perspective of self-care and understanding, rather than judgment. Viewing these resolutions as goals, rather than things we have to do, can help us make lasting changes in our lives.

Finally, it should be noted that for some it may be best not to set a resolution. Maybe just surviving the past year should be considered as an accomplishment, especially for those who have experienced many hardships in the last year. It may be best to honor what you’ve been through and keep doing whatever you need to do to keep thriving. If you decide not to set a resolution, no problem! Just setting aside time to reflect on what you’ve learned can motivate you to live your best life this year.

Written By:
Christa Lachell, MA
Individual and Family Therapist
Lakes Center for Youth and Families