Mental Health Goals for 2023 

Don’t set resolutions, set goals. Why? A goal can be broken down into steps to make it actionable. A goal can evolve. When we think of a resolution, it seems like something big and monolithic that must be lived by right now. This will also help us get better at parsing out the steps of a goal. There’s often something that needs to be done before the first step we thought of before, or some steps need to be moved around. A resolution is static. A goal is meant to fulfill you, not the other way around. 

Look on the bright, middling, and dark sides of life. We often catastrophize, which means thinking of the worst possible outcome to a situation and operating on that. Consider both extremes and seek balance. You already have your ideas about what if things go bad, but what if things go well? What if things go ok? There are many possibilities between best and worst, and some of the more realistic possibilities might lie in that space. 

Acknowledge and validate your emotions. This is another area where it is easy for us to look at extremes. It’s easy to act on our emotions, letting them make the decisions instead of our rationale. At the same time, people often shove their emotions aside, even feeling guilty or angry about having those feelings. Seek balance. Emotions are important data and should be acknowledged and explored. We don’t choose how we feel, but we are responsible for what we do with that feeling. You can’t help but feel a jolt of fear if a piano falls onto the sidewalk next to you, but you do get to choose whether or not you blink and keep walking, try to find out where the piano fell from, take some pieces home for kindling, go into the nearest cafe to drink tea and calm down, or any of a million things. 

Try to make time for contemplation and creation. A time not to think about your worries and responsibilities, but to focus on something fulfilling that engages the body and mind. Here are a few examples: 

− Volunteering for a cause that is dear to you 

− Playing with a pet, especially if it gets you outside and moving 

− Making art, from charcoal sketches to chainsaw sculptures 

− Crafting with food, like making your own kimchi 

− Making textile work like knitting or quilting 

Journaling about your feelings, plans, dreams, fears, and anything else 

Make an effort to get better sleep. There’s a reason why it shows up on so many positive resolution lists. In this world, we often think of rest as something that’s earned, often after working to exhaustion. Rest is a part of our natural equation for health. We don’t sleep just because we want a break from work, which is totally valid in itself. Sleep is a time when the human body does things it doesn’t do, or can’t do as well, when we’re awake. Vital cell repair, hormone production, memory production, and memory storage are some of the activities that our bodies engage in while we’re sleeping. If getting good sleep hasn’t been achievable despite eliminating caffeine in the afternoon, putting the phone down after a few minutes instead of an hour, or making time for enough sleep, tell your doctor. They might recommend you go to a sleep lab to see what is obstructing your sleep cycles. 

We wish you all very merry days this season, full of love and comfort. Contact us on our website or call (585) 442-6960 for questions and appointments.