Setting New Year’s Resolutions: 3 Ways to Prioritize Your Mental Health

Setting New Year’s Resolutions: 3 Ways to Prioritize Your Mental Health

Susan K. Gurley, Executive Director

Susan K. Gurley, Executive Director

Susan Gurley is the Executive Director of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), a non-profit international mental health association. She is a lawyer and advocate with 25 years of leadership experience working in the mental health and access to justice fields, international development and legal reform, and higher education administration.

Prior to joining ADAA, Ms. Gurley held senior-level positions in several U.S. government agencies, such as the United States Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Ms. Gurley served as both the Assistant Dean for International and Graduate Programs, at the Georgetown University School of Law and as an Adjunct Faculty Member. While at Georgetown she created the International Human Rights and National Security Law Certificate Programs. Ms. Gurley also worked as the Deputy Executive Director of Equal Justice Works, and as the Director of Legal Reform at the East West Management Institute (EWMI), where she managed several overseas offices, created  EWMI’s first land reform program, and expanded programming to Asia. She also ran the Association of Corporate Business Travel Executives, where she opened the association’s first office in Latin America and testified before Congress on privacy issues. 

Ms. Gurley has extensive non-profit Board experience. She has served on the Boards of Film Aid International, on the Board of the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County, and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the International Executive Service Corps (IESC). She also serves on the Advisory Committee for Her Wealth, an organization promoting financial literacy for women. 

Over the past five years, she has served as a technical expert volunteer on capacity building projects in Cambodia, Philippines, and Tanzania. For her volunteer work, she has been awarded the Frank Pace award by IESC as well as the 2020 Innovator of the Year award by USAID’s Farmer- to- Farmer program. 

Ms. Gurley is a Phi Beta Kappa and received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She is a member of the Virginia Bar. Ms. Gurley has worked in 30+ countries and speaks French, German, and Hungarian. 

Email Susan.

Setting New Year’s Resolutions: 3 Ways to Prioritize Your Mental Health

Share
No
Setting Goals for the New Year - Mental Health Blog

We’ve all seen it before. The days of December are flying by and there you are—hand clenching your pen, hunched back, trying to come up with the perfect list: your New Year’s resolutions.  More and more adults in America set New Year’s resolutions. Last year, an estimated 74% of the U.S. adult population set at least one. 

Many of us struggle with perfectionism and deciding on New Year’s resolutions can add stress to a process that’s supposed to be helpful. Fortunately, evidence shows that optimal goal setting promotes mental health when the goals are measurable, obtainable, psychologically safe, and prioritize health and wellness. 

Goals are better if they incorporate self-compassion and positivity. ADAA member Karen Cassiday, PhD, explains:  “If you want to be less negative, less complaining and more optimistic, make a pact with your friends and yourself to limit the negative news, to avoid complaining and to find the funny and the uplifting every day.” 

Three Easy Ways to Prioritize Mental Health in Setting New Year's Resolutions

1. Make your New Year’s resolutions measurable and specific—better yet, make them “SMART :”

As featured in journals of the National Institutes of Health, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. By incorporating the SMART guidelines into your 2022 New Year’s resolutions, you are promoting the attainment of your goals while prioritizing your mental health and overall wellbeing. 

An example of a SMART New Year’s resolution could be: “I will do 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation per day, five days per week, using the sequence of meditations provided by a meditation app.  I will do this every week in 2022.” What makes this goal “SMART” is that it is specific and measurable (“15 minutes,” “five days per week”), and therefore it is achievable. 

2. In addition to SMART resolutions, make them flexible and allow tweaks as needed.

Give yourself flexibility on when to set and start your New Year’s resolutions, and when to adapt your resolutions to something more successful. Tweaks are natural and productive. Sticking to resolutions even though your circumstances have changed won’t allow you to fulfill them and may only add to stress.

ADAA member Kathariya Mokrue, PhD, explains that overwhelming lists are inferior  to narrowed, concrete plans: “It can feel overwhelming to have a long list of things to do differently, so start with two or three... Develop concrete plans, jot them down, monitor how they are working—or not working—and then re-evaluate after a couple of weeks.” Mokrue adds: “If you need to tweak them, give yourself time to do that.” 

3. Incorporate self-compassion into your resolutions.

As you seek to have your New Year’s resolutions guide your health and wellness in 2022, consider self-compassion, incorporating the ideals of self-love, and kindness into your goal setting. 

ADAA member Kimberley Quinlan  explains the value of turning some of our attention positively inward: “Self-compassion is tending to our struggles with warmth, empathy, and a genuine desire to care for ourselves during difficult times.” In addition, Quinlan challenges misunderstandings about the concept: “Many people are fearful that practicing self-compassion will result in one becoming self-absorbed, selfish, or lazy, to name just a few of the concerns.” Rather, self-compassion is a proven antidote to the self-criticism that blocks us from achieving our goals. It also allows us the treat of kindness that we might typically only reserve for our best friend or child. 

An example of a self-compassion-fueled New Year’s resolution could be: On the last day of every calendar month in 2022, I will write down one success that I had at work, and then I will reward myself for the accomplishment. This is a similar treat that I would give to a dear friend for their success.

Start Drafting your New Year’s Resolutions Today 

By making  your New Year’s resolutions “SMART,” flexible and adaptable , you are gifting yourself a path to better health and overall wellbeing in 2022.


Questions for You to Answer in the Comments Below:

  1. In what ways might you try to make your New Year’s resolutions specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed (SMART)? 
  2. Does creating New Year’s resolutions cause you stress or anxiety?
  3. In what ways might you try to incorporate self-compassion into your New Year’s resolutions ?   
  4. What do you hope to achieve in the new year?
     

Susan K. Gurley, Executive Director

Susan K. Gurley, Executive Director

Susan Gurley is the Executive Director of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), a non-profit international mental health association. She is a lawyer and advocate with 25 years of leadership experience working in the mental health and access to justice fields, international development and legal reform, and higher education administration.

Prior to joining ADAA, Ms. Gurley held senior-level positions in several U.S. government agencies, such as the United States Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Ms. Gurley served as both the Assistant Dean for International and Graduate Programs, at the Georgetown University School of Law and as an Adjunct Faculty Member. While at Georgetown she created the International Human Rights and National Security Law Certificate Programs. Ms. Gurley also worked as the Deputy Executive Director of Equal Justice Works, and as the Director of Legal Reform at the East West Management Institute (EWMI), where she managed several overseas offices, created  EWMI’s first land reform program, and expanded programming to Asia. She also ran the Association of Corporate Business Travel Executives, where she opened the association’s first office in Latin America and testified before Congress on privacy issues. 

Ms. Gurley has extensive non-profit Board experience. She has served on the Boards of Film Aid International, on the Board of the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County, and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the International Executive Service Corps (IESC). She also serves on the Advisory Committee for Her Wealth, an organization promoting financial literacy for women. 

Over the past five years, she has served as a technical expert volunteer on capacity building projects in Cambodia, Philippines, and Tanzania. For her volunteer work, she has been awarded the Frank Pace award by IESC as well as the 2020 Innovator of the Year award by USAID’s Farmer- to- Farmer program. 

Ms. Gurley is a Phi Beta Kappa and received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She is a member of the Virginia Bar. Ms. Gurley has worked in 30+ countries and speaks French, German, and Hungarian. 

Email Susan.

ADAA Blog Content and Blog Comments Policy

ADAA Blog Content and Blog Comments Policy

ADAA provides this Website blogs for the benefit of its members and the public. The content, view and opinions published in Blogs written by our personnel or contributors – or from links or posts on the Website from other sources - belong solely to their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ADAA, its members, management or employees. Any comments or opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors only. Please remember that the open and real-time nature of the comments posted to these venues makes it is impossible for ADAA to confirm the validity of any content posted, and though we reserve the right to review and edit or delete any such comment, we do not guarantee that we will monitor or review it. As such, we are not responsible for any messages posted or the consequences of following any advice offered within such posts. If you find any posts in these posts/comments to be offensive, inaccurate or objectionable, please contact us via email at [email protected] and reference the relevant content. If we determine that removal of a post or posts is necessary, we will make reasonable efforts to do so in a timely manner.

ADAA expressly disclaims responsibility for and liabilities resulting from, any information or communications from and between users of ADAA’s blog post commenting features. Users acknowledge and agree that they may be individually liable for anything they communicate using ADAA’s blogs, including but not limited to defamatory, discriminatory, false or unauthorized information. Users are cautioned that they are responsible for complying with the requirements of applicable copyright and trademark laws and regulations. By submitting a response, comment or content, you agree that such submission is non-confidential for all purposes. Any submission to this Website will be deemed and remain the property of ADAA.

The ADAA blogs are forums for individuals to share their opinions, experiences and thoughts related to mental illness. ADAA wants to ensure the integrity of this service and therefore, use of this service is limited to participants who agree to adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Refrain from transmitting any message, information, data, or text that is unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, that may be invasive of another 's privacy, hateful, or bashing communications - especially those aimed at gender, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin, religious views or disability.

Please note that there is a review process whereby all comments posted to blog posts and webinars are reviewed by ADAA staff to determine appropriateness before comments are posted. ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit a post containing offensive material as defined by ADAA.

ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit posts that contain explicit, obscene, offensive, or vulgar language. Similarly, posts that contain any graphic files will be removed immediately upon notice.

2. Refrain from posting or transmitting any unsolicited, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain mail," "pyramid schemes" or any other form of solicitation. ADAA reserves the right to delete these posts immediately upon notice.

3. ADAA invites and encourages a healthy exchange of opinions. If you disagree with a participant 's post or opinion and wish to challenge it, do so with respect. The real objective of the ADAA blog post commenting function is to promote discussion and understanding, not to convince others that your opinion is "right." Name calling, insults, and personal attacks are not appropriate and will not be tolerated. ADAA will remove these posts immediately upon notice.

4. ADAA promotes privacy and encourages participants to keep personal information such as address and telephone number from being posted. Similarly, do not ask for personal information from other participants. Any comments that ask for telephone, address, e-mail, surveys and research studies will not be approved for posting.

5. Participants should be aware that the opinions, beliefs and statements on blog posts do not necessarily represent the opinions and beliefs of ADAA. Participants also agree that ADAA is not to be held liable for any loss or injury caused, in whole or in part, by sponsorship of blog post commenting. Participants also agree that ADAA reserves the right to report any suspicions of harm to self or others as evidenced by participant posts.

RESOURCES AND NEWS
Evidence-based Tips & Strategies from our Member Experts
RELATED ARTICLES
Block reference
TAKING ACTION
If you feel lost or depressed in your life, we see you and we feel you. I hope my story helps to…

Advertisement