New Year’s Resolutions And Their Effect On Mental Health

New Year’s Resolutions And Their Effect On Mental Health

The new year is just starting, which means we’re all reflecting on the year past and thinking about how we can better ourselves. In these moments of introspection, our flaws become glaringly apparent, forcing us to overcorrect and make resolutions that are much too unrealistic. While the new year is touted to be about new beginnings, it often becomes a time to put undue pressure on yourself and reap the consequences later in the year.

Because of the general competitiveness that our culture is subject to, we hold these resolutions to be unimpeachable. This means that if we fail to reach these standards, we tend to resort to self-flagellation. Additionally, the added pressure to succeed means we will slip up and fail more often than not. According to some studies, less than 10% of total resolutions made are followed through throughout the year. In fact, an overwhelming percentage of people tend to quit before the next month. Most fall short of their goals due to an “all or nothing” mindset, a lack of accountability, or the setting of unrealistic resolutions.

Making changes can be incredibly challenging for these reasons and more, and it might not be great for your mental health – particularly if you have pre-existing mental health issues. To help this issue, try making resolutions that make taking care of yourself a priority over self-punishment. Here are a few examples of such goals.

1. Make unambiguous resolutions

One of the main reasons people fail to meet their goals throughout the year is the wording of their resolutions. Most of the time, people need more clarity on their resolutions. For instance, goals like “go to the gym more”, “drink less”, “or “make more art” are often too vague and ultimately unhelpful. There are no details in these resolutions, leaving too much room to be explained away. Instead, create goals that are specific and force you to take accountability. Resolutions like “Go to the gym for half an hour a day”, “drink one glass of wine once a week”, or “spend an hour a day painting” are much more likely to yield the desired results and will seem more feasible.

2. Give yourself some motivation

Giving yourself mini-rewards like massages, clothes, or gadgets at regular intervals can serve you well when trying to maintain a long-term resolution. There’s no need to contain the prize at the end of the year because if you are unable to meet your goal, you can feel significant disappointment in yourself. Additionally, people are prone to subconsciously decreasing the perceived value of a reward when they have to wait for it for too long – a phenomenon known as delayed discounting. You can avoid this by giving yourself smaller, incremental rewards along the way to prolong motivation.

3. Find yourself a good support system

Find a support system for yourself that you can relate to in difficult times. Fortunately, it is easy to locate a community of like-minded people with similar or aligned objectives in today’s social media landscape. However, despite the fact a good social circle like this is mostly positive, you should be mindful lest you fall into the pitfall of peer pressure. Don’t let social media and learning about what other people are doing overwhelm you. Remember that you are just using this group for assistance, not comparison.

4. Allow yourself to fail

Despite your best efforts, it’s still possible for you to make a mistake or fail. Own your missteps, accept them, and be forgiving of yourself. Instead of being severe on yourself, learn from where you went wrong and stick with your resolution until you achieve your objective. Don’t give up on it just because you slip up. After all, it’s better to keep going despite not quite matching your expectations than stall any progress you’ve made entirely.


It’s unnecessary to make too many changes in the new year just because the people around you tell you to – especially if you’re finding it too difficult to cope. Spend some time doing something enjoyable and adventurous, and put your health first. If you find yourself having harmful or unhealthy thoughts about yourself when you fail, it may be time to seek a mental health professional. They can offer additional tools for setting goals and healthy boundaries within yourself.

If you’re looking for mental health providers or life coaches in Singapore, A Space Between facilitates a myriad of mental health services for your betterment. Find A Therapist with us today and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

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