15 Mental Health Resolutions That Will Make 2023 Your Best Year EverNew year, different mindset!
If you’re looking for New Year’s resolution ideas, we’ve got ‘em. But first, please enjoy this embarrassing story:
It was the very end of 2019, and I decided—as one does—to take an overly filtered video for the ‘gram opening a new journal to the first page, where I’d written “New Year’s Resolutions” at the top. The rest of the page was blank—and stayed that way through the entire year. Sure, I listed four goals I had in mind in the IG caption as a preview of what I’d surely be listing once I hit “share.” But when the post was live, I couldn’t even write that sh*t down.
This is all to say that most of the time, our resolutions are more focused on what others can see us doing (getting a promotion, running a marathon, buying a place to live...writing down a list of resolutions), rather than the internal stuff that can make a way bigger difference in our lives. That’s why I’m declaring 2023 as the year of the mental health resolution, and I’m ready to set some goals this year. Plus, I probably won’t even post about it on Instagram (#growth).
In 2023, I’m planning to stick with therapy for as long as I feel is necessary, actually do the homework my therapist assigns, and try to separate myself from my anxiety. If you’re on board too, check out what other people are planning to do for their mental health in the new year for inspo.
And FYI, you don’t have to jump into these mental health resolutions on Jan. 1, says Latinx licensed clinical psychologist Mayte Forte, PhD. “It doesn’t matter when you start. It matters when you feel ready to start,” she adds. Any day is a good day to take that first step.
1. Actually giving a damn about your sleep.
"My mental health resolution for next year is to make a solid effort to prioritize sleep just as much (or...almost as much) as everything else on my to-do list. I'm not setting any specific rules around what time I need to go to bed or how much sleep I need to get each night, because I don't want to feel like I'm 'failing' at this if I have a few nights of not great sleep. Instead, I'll just try to use this resolution as a North Star throughout the year and see where it takes me. That might look like reading before bed instead of Netflix or second-guessing that second cup of coffee. Or, it might look like letting myself sleep in with zero guilt on the days that my body needs it. New Year's resolutions tend to be overly restrictive and filled with pressure, but this seems like something I'll feel good about coming back to throughout the year." —Casey G., 33
2. Validating any feelings that come up.
“I’m planning to validate my own emotions by staying curious with any feelings that come up for me and asking, What are some reasons why I feel the way that I feel? instead of thinking I should or shouldn’t feel that way. I know that validating myself will give me more freedom to express and share what’s on my mind and make decisions more confidently.” —Eunice C., 29
3. Healing…whatever that looks like for you.
“By starting therapy this past month, I’ve learned that I have an anxious attachment style in my adult relationships that comes from a deep-seated history of not feeling good enough. So the result of that is I tend to people-please to a point of exhaustion because I am subconsciously trying to prove to my partner or friends that I am worthy. It’s exhausting and only leaves my cup empty since I’m trying so hard to give to others.
The reason I made the leap to start therapy was because I’ve experienced the biggest betrayal of my life this past year: having someone I was with for 12 years cheat on me. It has completely shattered what I thought my reality was. I didn’t tell many people in my life because of the shame I felt, though it was not MY mistake. A lot of the aftermath has left me incapable of feeling joy or having motivation to do any of the things I once loved to do. I want to enter this new year working towards healing the trauma from this betrayal so I’m able to be happy again. This is the first year I’ve ever made a resolution that’s so internally focused vs. about external achievements or fitness goals.” —Taylor C., 29
4. Practicing gratitude little by little.
“My goal is to take time out of every day to recognize and sit with the small things I am grateful for: Put my hand on my heart and feel it beat, taking a few moments to recognize all the work my heart does. Take a moment of gratitude for the neurons firing in my brain that allow me to think. Move my legs around and acknowledge how much they have carried me all day. I want to notice these small miraculous functions that I’ve taken for granted in the past, especially when I have a bad day!” —Sam D., 23
5. Celebrating wins instead of worrying about losses.
“A mental health resolution I am making this year is to remind myself of the small wins of the day rather than focusing on the negatives. I want to learn to not dwell on the things I cannot fix or change. I want to uplift myself with reminders and take the time to clear my mind to reflect on the positives. I want to be honest with myself, and when I’m being too hard on myself, I want to learn from those moments and move forward rather than backward.” —Caitlin U., 25
6. Trusting you have everything you need to thrive.
“I’m seven years into therapy, and it’s been a difficult and challenging journey but definitely 100% worth it. I’d say therapy is a big part of my life, and my goal in 2023 is to show up as the strongest version of myself now that 2022 proved I have all the necessary tools to thrive that I learned in therapy. For me, it’s about being true to myself, my values, and the person I know I am without letting any external elements affect the way I choose to show up. I’ve learned to be more reflective than reactive and to communicate boundaries openly with partners and friends and even at work. I let myself feel sad, anxious, or whatever, and I don’t try to ignore or push aside those feelings (which is something I used to do).” —Ofelia E., 31
7. Focusing on connection.
“I don't do the whole resolutions thing. But in 2023, I am pushing myself to join a sport or a club because I have been feeling extremely lonely, and I think getting out of the house and meeting new people might help. Making new friends as an adult is hard. It's lonely because all your friends have jobs and are busy now. I am an introvert, so I know I need to get out there, and I’m also going to reach out to friends more often, including ones that I haven't seen or talked to in a long time. That is the best I can do for my mental health.” —Andrea A., 24
8. Becoming your very own hype person.
“One of the main things I want to focus on going into the new year is practicing being kinder to myself and not being afraid to take some risks! I really want to practice being aware of how I refer to myself and how I mentally beat myself up for little mistakes. I’ve always been the kind of person that puts myself down because I don’t believe I deserve my accomplishments. My partner tries to convince me that I do have talents and that my friends don’t actually hate me, but there’s a little voice in my head that tries to convince me otherwise. In 2023, I want to build a better relationship with myself and grow more confident in taking opportunities that could benefit me, even if I don’t think I’m ready or qualified.” —Josephine R., 24
9. Paying attention to how things feel instead of how they look.
“Focusing on how happiness feels and not how it looks to others, whether that relates to work, finances, personal relationships, etc. For example, I’m planning to focus on how I feel each day after moving my body. When I’ve focused more on moving my body and less on how my body looks, I feel better mentally and physically.” —Melissa S., 33
10. Staying consistent with meditation.
“Meditating for 30 minutes a day, every day! But also allowing myself to miss a day without guilt. Meditating has changed my life and significantly reduced my panic attacks!” —Emily F., 26
11. Being more honest about how you’re feeling.
“I want to be open about my mental health in 2023. If people ask me how I'm doing, I want to be honest instead of just saying, ‘I'm fine.’ I spent the last eight years trying to hide my mental illnesses because I didn’t want to be a burden or worry anyone, and I didn’t want to be seen as weak or broken. But I finally told my parents and some of my friends this past month, and now I'm getting help through group counseling and therapy, and I feel so much better. So this year, I want to be as vulnerable as possible.” —Anonymous
12. Practicing all the affirmations.
“My resolution for the new year is to deprogram the belief system that says my worth is based on the validation I receive from others. I strive to get to a place where I can love myself for who I am, not for people’s perceptions of me. My goal is to be able to look in the mirror and say, ‘I am valuable. I am beautiful. I am necessary. I matter,’ and believe it wholeheartedly. I want to do this for my mental health because it’s been years since I’ve had the courage to look in the mirror and be happy and confident with myself. I believe that, through hard work and determination, I will get to a place where I won’t have to question my worth.” —Madison M., 20
13. Writing a lot more.
“For me, it’s really important I write consistently. Usually, I write creative nonfiction (memoir, personal narrative, journaling). I start with prompts that push me to explore a topic more deeply (ex: Write about a moment you knew something was over). Writing is like letting my mind breathe, and it becomes similar to needing exercise. Sometimes those answers we discover through writing can cause emotional distress, but, ultimately, it allows us to face our issues head-on and feel a release from the things that have weighed us down. It took me a while to realize writing is part of my mental health practice, but it is also my way of having a voice.” —Devi J., 26
14. Moving your body for your mental health.
“I keep the same resolution every year, which is doing some kind of movement every day, even if that’s just a short walk during my lunch break. It very much is something that I do for my mental health. I find that taking the time to give myself that space for self-care in the form of movement, even if just for 20 minutes, means that I have more energy and almost more mental space for other aspects of my day. My therapist once described this—whether it’s walks, Pilates, yoga, or at-home dance classes—as a way of 'emptying the overflowing cup just a little bit.’” —Jodie R.
15. Saying yes to balance and no to being overworked.
“I plan on setting more boundaries with my screen time and prioritizing more of a work-life balance. I no longer will be saying yes to everything at the expense of my sleep and self-care time.” —Juan A., 25
These quotes have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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