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Two friends sit on their beds laughing. They want to set New Year's resolutions that therapists actually recommend.

7 New Year’s Resolutions That Therapists Actually Recommend

3 min.

Instead of setting impossible resolutions that won’t stick, consider these therapist-approved tips for making the most out of the year to come.

By: Charlie Health Editorial Team

Clinically Reviewed By: Don Gasparini Ph.D., M.A., CASAC

December 22, 2023

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Table of Contents

Adages of “New Year, new me” are common during this time, but research shows that most New Year’s resolutions don’t stick, particularly those focused on self-blame or wishful thinking. Basically, resolving to meet impossible standards as of New Year’s Day will likely leave you feeling unaccomplished and worse off in the long run. However, studies show that most people can keep positively framed, action-oriented resolutions. With that in mind, we polled several Charlie Health therapists for their best New Year’s resolutions—goals that are doable on a daily basis and likely to improve well-being in 2024. 

Incorporate affirmations into your routine 

Instead of focusing on things about yourself that you want to change, resolve to affirm things that you appreciate. Charlie Health Primary Therapist Kaitlin Smith, LMHC, suggests starting the day with one positive affirmation about yourself and ending the day with one thing you’re grateful for or proud of from that day. You can share this out loud with a loved one or write it down in a journal to look back on. 

Look for silver linings (or glimmers, if you will) 

Glimmers are small everyday moments that make you feel good and help your nervous system feel safe, making them a promising thing to look out for in the year to come. Group Facilitator Shawnta Hirschel, LMSW, SWLC, puts it this way: “Resolve to look for the light in every day, remembering it is always there.”

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Practice being present 

Whether it’s doing a quick body scan or practicing active listening during a conversation, being present (a key component of mindfulness) can improve overall mental health. One tactic Associate Primary Therapist Jenn Lang, LAC, recommends is placing your phone in a drawer or a bag when you’re engaging with people or just setting a limit on phone time overall (there are settings you can use to limit time spent on social media apps, for instance). 

Take care of your physical needs 

This could look like going on a walk around the block, eating enough throughout the day, or remembering to shower. Primary Therapist Megan Crosby, LPC, specifically recommends staying hydrated and getting enough sunshine (particularly important for mental well-being during the cold winter months when seasonal depression is common). 

Rest more 

On that note, experts ideally recommend adults sleep seven to nine hours per night, with teens needing as much as 10 hours daily to maintain well-being. While these numbers may feel impossible, Primary Therapist ​​Asha Clark, LPC, recommends starting by identifying what you need to get more rest by considering the following questions: What boundaries need to be set to reduce stress? What planning methods can you use to reduce feelings of worry? What relaxation techniques can you use to bring you to a state of calm?

Be kind to yourself 

Research shows that people who are able to cultivate more self-compassion have higher levels of well-being, making being kind to yourself of the utmost importance. Crosby adds that it’s important to treat yourself with kindness at all times, “especially when you don’t want to.” 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help 

While these practices may help improve your well-being in the year to come, they aren’t a replacement for professional help. If you’re struggling with your mental health or just feel like you could use some additional support, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Remember: asking for help is a sign of strength. 

A teenager is asking her mom for help, which is a goal for her 2024.

Mental health support at Charlie Health 

If you could use some extra support going into this New Year, Charlie Health is here to help. Charlie Health’s virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) provides more than once-weekly mental health treatment for young people dealing with complex mental health conditions. Our expert clinicians incorporate evidence-based therapies into individual counseling, family therapy, and group sessions. With treatment, managing your mental health is possible. Fill out the form below or give us a call to start healing today.

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