Setting Mental Health Goals for 2023

As the New Year rolls around, you’re likely looking ahead already. You may have even set a goal for 2023 - more commonly known as a New Year’s Resolution. If you’ve set a resolution, you’re certainly not alone - 38.5% of American adults set a resolution yearly.   If you tend to give up on your New Year’s Resolution quickly, you’re also not alone.  According to one study, nearly 80% - yes, 80%! - of individuals that form a New Year’s resolution have given them up by early February.  Only 8% of those people say they completed their resolution by the end of the year at all.  If so many Americans that make a resolution give them up so early, why do we continue to set resolutions we know we won’t follow through with? One reason you may not be sticking to your goals is because we tend to set New Year’s Resolutions without intention. We may pick our goal based on what we think we should be doing - like losing weight - or what our friends are doing - like traveling. However, you may be perfectly happy with your body, or prefer to stay at home, meaning these goals aren’t really supporting your values.  This year, set your goal with the intention of upholding your values and your mental health at the same time. Sounds tricky? Use these three tips from Therapy Beyond Healing to set a goal that betters your mental health in 2023! Consider Your Values The first step in supporting your mental health through goal-setting is to understand what would support your mental health. When we align our goals with our values, we are more authentically us, which improves our mental health.  One way to identify your values is to use a values list, like this one. You can go through a list of common core values and highlight, circle, or put a check next to any one that stands out to you. Try to make this based on your feelings - if you see a word and it feels right, it may be one of your values! If lists aren’t your thing, try a different reflection exercise. Think about a time you were happy, proud, or joyful. What was the scenario? Can you draw a theme from it? For example, if you instantly recall that trip with your Grandma to Disneyland, family may be a value to you. Or, if you think about how proud you were to volunteer that one Christmas, charity may be a value for you. Consider What Goals Would Match Your Values Now that you have a clear idea of your values, think about what actions would move you closer to your values. For example, if you value body positivity, it’s likely intentional weight loss isn’t one of your values.  One way to complete this step is to list things you think you’d like to do in a brainstorm session. Then, go through each listed item and ask, “does this move me closer or further from my values?”. The exercise may look like this: My value is self-care. I’ve listed:
  • Take up jogging
  • Learn how to paint
  • Try new foods
  • Travel more
  • Schedule rest days
When I consider each one, I find that jogging, painting, and traveling are things that tire me out rather than make me feel like I’m cared for. Some better goals for me may be to try new foods and incorporate rest in my day, as these make me feel cared for. Make Your Goal SMART SMART is an acronym that helps us set effective goals. It stands for: Specific - SMART goals describe a particular end result you want.  They aren’t something general or up for interpretation.   Measurable - SMART goals have to be able to be objectively determined as complete or not complete. You must be able to know when the goal is complete. Achievable - Your objective should be feasible and possible to do. Relevant - SMART goals are something important or vital to you and your wellbeing. Think values! Time-Bound - SMART goals have an end in sight. You should put a time limit on it. An example of a non-SMART goal is “I will incorporate self-care this year.” When we make it a SMART goal, it may look like “I will cook one new meal a month every month in 2023.” See the difference? One statement is likely to leave us feeling lost, and the other statement is a clear goal that we can check off when finished. We hope this blog helps you set productive, mental-health-cultivating goals in 2023! If one of your goals is to see a therapist, we’ve got you covered. At Therapy Beyond Healing, we’d love to help you achieve your goals! Reach out to us today. We look forward to hearing from you!