By GERARD BARNES | UPDATED: 05:28, 08 January 2020
There has been an explosion of New Year’s resolutions focusing on mental health this year, with articles in every major newspaper, lifestyle and health publication listing some of their top resolutions for a healthy and happy mind.
In a time of mental health crisis and increasing awareness, millions of people across the UK are prioritising their psychological state in their goals for this year.
However, the failure rate of most New Year’s resolutions is shocking; recent studies give a failure rate of between 75 and 85% before the end of January, while mid-February sees a drop-out rate of between 90-95%. With failure rates this high, setting yourself a New Year’s resolution of your own may seem like a pointless task. But, if there’s one resolution worth making and keeping, it is one that is engineered to help you safeguard and strengthen your mental health.
Gerard Barnes is the CEO of mental health treatment specialists Smart TMS, the UK and Ireland’s leading provider of TMS therapy to treat a range of mental health problems including depression, anxiety, OCD and PTSD. Now, Gerard discusses the power of New Year’s resolutions, the potential benefits of a resolution on your mental health, and shares some simple tips to help you stick to yours:
“Making a New Year’s resolution in the first place, regardless of the goal, is a very positive sign as an example of self-reflection, a desire to do better, and proof that you are taking an active role in working towards becoming a happier and more successful version of yourself. Keeping resolutions, however, is clearly difficult for many, and some have suggested that failing to keep a resolution can be more damaging for your self-image and mental health.
With that being said, if you are able to set yourself a resolution and stick to it, the benefits of this self-discipline and the positive influence of your resolution on your daily life can go great lengths to strengthen your mental health. These tips below are key factors in setting resolutions, and more importantly, keeping them:
You can’t fix everything at once – be realistic!
Aiming too high and setting yourself unfeasible resolutions is simply a way to set yourself up for failure. Slow and steady really does win the race when it comes to resolutions – making small but consistent improvements is both more realistic and more sustainable than attempting a total personal revolution. Be realistic and you will give yourself a much higher chance of sticking with and completing your resolution.
Keep it simple – but not too simple!
Keeping your resolutions simple is a good idea – having a clear, easily defined goal is more achievable than a really complex and immeasurable target. However, it is one thing to have a goal, but quite another to have a clear plan of action for reaching it.
For example, “focus more on being calm and peaceful” is a good, simple resolution, but is hard to quantify, meaning that your chances of actually achieving it decline. Instead, try this: “focus more on being calm and peaceful… to do this, I will attend two yoga classes a week, complete two meditation sessions per week and turn off my phone one hour before I go to bed”. This gives you a clear plan for success and will improve your chances of achieving your goal.
Choose your friends well and build a support team
Have you ever heard of the saying “you are the sum of the people you surround yourself with”? This might not be applicable to all, but there is a great deal of truth in this statement – being surrounded by positive people who want you to succeed and will support you in your efforts will prove extremely helpful in your journey. Carefully select the people you choose to share your resolution with and they will pay you back with support, kind words, and encouragement when things seem tough.
New Year’s resolutions are very positive and at Smart TMS we encourage everyone to take an active role in improving their own health and happiness. However, if you have significant concerns over your mental health no matter what you do, we strongly encourage you to seek help and speak up. At Smart TMS, we use technology to treat a range of mental health problems, but regardless of the issues you are experiencing, there are services available and specialists ready to listen to you and find you the help you deserve.