Welcome to 2024. It’s a time for new beginnings and for many, a hopeful and new path forward. It’s also time for people to either come up with or start acting on their New Year resolution ideas. We’ve discussed this before. That’s because resolutions can have a positive effect on people, but they can also inflict harm on a person’s mental health. This is especially true for people who may already be struggling with mental health difficulties.
The bottom line for everyone is that we all face our own challenges. While flipping the calendar may be a motivator for positive change, demanding perfection of ourselves is not realistic. Telling yourself that this is the year you’re going to get into the best shape of your life, that you’re going to achieve wealth and otherwise fix all that you see as wrong is not an advisable path to take.
Instead, New Year resolution ideas can meet in the middle: They can help you affect positive change without placing stress or negativity in your path. We’d like to offer you some thoughts for New Year resolution ideas below that will hopefully achieve both of those ends.
Take Honest Stock of Yourself In a Positive Way
The first step towards identifying New Year resolution ideas is to try to take stock of yourself. Unfortunately, too many times this process starts with the negative. Questions such as those that appear below are all too common this time of year:
- What’s wrong with me?
- Why can’t I get in shape?
- How do I make more money?
- Why can’t I get promoted?
- Why do others seem so much happier than I?
These negative questions are not healthy or helpful. Instead, when formulating your New Year resolution ideas, take honest stock of where you are in life but with a positive bent. For instance, rather than asking the questions above, ask yourselves the following:
- What are one or two things I can do to add to the positives I have to offer?
- How do I lose that last 5 pounds after already making so much progress?
- How do I get that promotion and raise I deserve?
- How can I make others notice how happy I am?
These may seem like the same questions, but they are not, as words and wording matter. In the first set of questions, a person is looking for New Year resolution ideas by tearing him or herself down. In the second, the person is starting with a more positive outlook, and that will most likely lead to more positive ideas. What we’re getting at here is to not allow a critical inner voice to guide your thinking.
New Year Resolution Ideas Don’t Have to Involve Suffering
Another thought to consider when formulating New Year resolution ideas is that these resolutions do not need to involve pain, sacrifice or suffering in order to be worthwhile. A common visualization when thinking of resolutions is that of a person running all-out for an incredibly long time or losing an unbelievable amount of weight, among other things. While these are noteworthy achievements, the reality is that neither of these examples is sustainable. In addition, for many they are unrealistic or in some cases even dangerous to attempt.
Instead of choosing pain and misery, keep the importance of self-care in mind when bandying New Year resolution ideas about in your head. Self-care is not only helpful, but it’s critically important with regards to maintaining your overall mental health. People who do nothing but exhaust themselves for others at the expense of their own rest, reflection, relaxation and respite are burning themselves out. Adding more to your plate that’s already full may be the exact opposite of what you need.
Therefore, when you take that honest-yet-positive look at yourself as discussed above, think of things that will make you happier and healthier. For example, promise yourself that you’ll take one evening a week to watch a movie or read a book if that’s what you enjoy doing. If you’re more of the outdoor type, block time off once per week to go for a hike in nature, away from your phone and social media channels and all those other distractions.
This isn’t to say that eating better or exercising more are not good ideas, as they will almost always benefit a person. What we are saying is that if you’re looking to do such things, you don’t have to make them something you dread. There is no real merit in forcing yourself into situations that lead to suffering – no one can sustain that and you’ll just wind up feeling like you failed when you ultimately go back to what you were doing beforehand.
It’s OK – Even Extremely Wise – To Get Help If You Need It
Finally, if you’re thinking of New Year resolution ideas and you keep coming back to the thought that you could use some help with your mental health, resolve to yourself that this is the year you’re going to take care of that need. While mental health difficulties don’t appear physically like broken bones or symptoms of other diseases, the effects of letting them fester are the same in that the situation will only get worse.
Instead of allowing that to continue in 2024, take that honest and positive look at yourself and engage in some self-care to get the mental health help you need. Our team of Orange County mental health professionals here at SoCal Empowered is ready to listen to your situation if you contact us. From there, we can help you decide how to proceed such that you look back on 2024 as the year that you got a handle on that difficult challenge. If you do so, everything else will seem far less daunting in the future.
Contact us today to start the year out right if you think you need to talk.