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  • Writer's pictureClement Osei-Tawiah

How to Choose New Year's Resolutions for Mental Wellbeing

The New Year brings fresh starts, and for many Charlotte residents that means intentionally working on mental health goals. Nearly 1 in 5 Mecklenburg County adults deal with frequent mental distress according to health surveys. This informs smart goal-setting.

New Years resolutions specifically targeting improved mental wellbeing take many forms - stress reduction, more self-care activities, building social connections, incorporating mindfulness or gratitude practices etc. Research shows these can be some of the most impactful focus areas we choose, with benefits carrying through the entire year.

This guide offers science-based tips on setting smart yet achievable New Years resolutions with your mental health in mind courtesy of the counselors and psychiatrists with Amara Wellness Services. Their decades of experience assisting Charlotte community members with issues like anxiety, depression and addiction makes them uniquely qualified to advise on meaningful change.

Self-Compassion Resolutions Reap Rewards

Many New Years resolutions either quickly fail or unintentionally cause more stress because we approach change through self-criticism rather than self-care.

Studies through Duke University show resolutions have triple the success rate when framed with self-compassion instead of perfectionism. That means acknowledging exactly where your mental health stands today without judgment before establishing goals through a supportive inner voice.

Rather than harsh demands, mentally healthy resolutions are framed as positive invitations towards behaviors your wise, nurturing self knows will lead to greater peace and emotional wellbeing.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

To turn hopeful aspirations of better mental health into concrete change, the counselors with Amara Wellness Services recommend applying S.M.A.R.T. goal principles:

Specific - Define resolutions concretely based on your needs whether that’s specific activities like journaling, measurable targets like minutes of mindfulness or cardio each week, or trackable habits you aim to build.

Measurable - Establish metrics allowing you to quantify your progress through numbers, data points, or recorded observations so you stay accountable.

Achievable - Ensure emotional health goals fit your unique lifestyle and current baselines through reasonable, incremental steps supported by resources you actually have access to now.

Relevant - Verify resolutions actually target current mental health opportunities or areas requiring growth to maximize relevance all year long.

Time Bound - Attach deadlines or intervals that create structure, urgency and rhythmic achievement.

Here are 5 impactful mental wellbeing resolutions that meet S.M.A.R.T. criteria:

  1. Walk outdoors 30 minutes daily by scheduling it in my calendar app (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound)

  2. Practice 10 minutes morning meditation using the Calm app every day between 8-8:30 AM (Specific, Time Bound, Measurable)

  3. Prepare for sleep by limiting screen time to 30 minutes past 9 PM nightly (Specific, Measurable, Time Bound, Achievable)

  4. Write down 5 things I’m grateful for every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before bed (Specific, Measurable, Time Bound)

  5. Join a local book club by the end of February to nurture social connections (Specific, Relevant, Time Bound)

Carolina Counseling Resources for Ongoing Support

Smart goal setting through Amara Wellness Services creates intention, but living the emotional and mental shifts requires ongoing diligence for Charlotte residents and families. If you need resources, referrals or counseling to overcome obstacles as they arise on the path towards better mental health, contact Amara or check additional Charlotte therapists through Psychology Today.

Support groups found via or local wellness centers like Amara Wellness Services provide community reinforcement as we turn resolutions into lifelong positive changes, which research shows is possible when we access help.

Now is the time to define what mental wellbeing means for you in 2024. New years resolutions allow us to walk purposefully towards emotional health and more inspired daily living all 365 days ahead.

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