Setting a mental health New Year’s resolution for 2023 is one of the most positive ways you can ring in the new year.
Because New Year’s resolutions aren’t about the resolutions themselves – they’re about having hope. They’re about inspiration, and creating the life you envision for yourself. And they’re about taking the steps to become the person you want to be.
There is something about the collective energy around the new year that encourages you to reflect on your life, which is a way to actively engage in mental health maintenance.
And reflecting in this way can help you discover behaviors (or lack thereof) that aren’t serving you, and in fact, are causing you a lot of pain. Which is the first step to changing them.
Whether you tend to stick with your resolutions for the whole 12 months, or are proud of yourself if you keep them for 2 days, a mental health New Year’s resolution is one you can always come back to.
Below are 10 New Year’s resolutions that are a bit nebulous in nature, and geared towards caring for your mental health. So you can ditch the SMART goals, and instead turn 2023 into the year you made your mental health a priority.
I promise, you’ll start to reap even more benefits than you imagined.
Sidenote: You don’t have to commit to every single idea on this list. If one resonates, run with it! Keep it in the back of your mind. Or write it on a sticky note and place it on your bathroom mirror. See it as more of an intention than a steadfast goal.
1. Practice Self Compassion
If you tend to be very hard on yourself or constantly feel inadequate, learning to practice self-compassion will help you release your insecurities by being kinder to yourself. To get started, I highly recommend Kristin Neff’s book on self-compassion. It’s a great read. Or, check out this post of my favorite self-compassion quotes to help you be kinder to yourself.
2. Live more mindfully
When you are caught up in an anxious spiral or find yourself worrying about things you can’t control, mindfulness can help you feel more centered and present. It is the most powerful antidote to anxiety.
Learn how to integrate mindfulness into your day to day life with these 1-minute exercises.
3. Embody what you value
Our values are our guiding light in our lives. They remind us of what is important and why. I do this values reflection every new year to remind myself of what I truly care about. It will help to point you in the right direction. Give it a try, and choose 1 or 2 values to embody this upcoming year.
4. Start going to therapy
What better way to care for your mental health than talking to someone who specializes in mental health!? If you live in the NYC area, you can contact me here to see if I have availability. Or, if you want to find a therapist but don’t know how, find more information here.
5. Try being vulnerable
Vulnerability can seem scary. But at its core, it’s simply being your true self. It’s okay to start slow. And to wait until you’re in a safe space with someone you trust. Daring Greatly may be one of my favorite mental health books of all time, and it’s all about vulnerability. It’s a must-read, and will truly change your life.
6. Start to set boundaries
Boundaries have been a hot topic over the past few years, and there’s a good reason why – setting them will TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE. If you struggle to set boundaries or you don’t know where to start, Nedra Glover Tawwab is the Boundary Queen. Follow her on instagram for her Nedra nuggets, or check out her book on boundaries.
7. Turn sex into an act of self-care
Sex is all about desire. And desire and self-worth are inextricably connected. When you put energy towards what you desire (sexually or otherwise), you feel more alive. Sex is one of the most embodied experiences of self-care, and starts with your relationship to yourself. If you find this idea intriguing, definitely check out anything and everything from Ester Perel.
8. Get a hobby
Of every idea on this list, having hobbies has helped me care for my mental health on a more consistent basis. They build your confidence, put you in a state of flow, and are downright fun. If there was an activity you enjoyed as a little kid, or wanted to try but never had the chance to, there’s no better time to start than now!
I know, I know. New Year’s resolutions are usually focused on productivity and achievement, not downtime or rest. But if you’re constantly on the go and don’t know how to relax, giving yourself permission to slow down or even pause could be just what you need to mentally recharge and be more productive in the long run.
10. Embrace your emotions
You probably like feeling happy. And excited. Or even content. But how is it for you when you feel sad? When you feel angry? Or guilty? Do you try to avoid those emotions at all costs? If so, maybe this new year, you can learn to embrace the vastness of the human experience, and all of the emotions that come with it. Check out my Feelings Guide to get started.