This Is The Best Mental Health Resolution You Can Make In 2022

Photographed by Jessica Garcia.
As December ebbs into January, many of us start thinking about New Year's resolutions. Popular goals include attempting Veganuary, promising to give up alcohol and starting a fitness challenge, but any resolution requires a certain amount of commitment and self-discipline.
According to a new survey of Brits' 2022 resolutions, one in three adults is planning to read more this year, one in five wants to spend less time on their phone, and one in 10 is pledging to support community projects: a resolution we can definitely get behind.
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Meanwhile, 44% said their New Year's resolution is to get their personal finances in order, something which can definitely help your peace of mind.
However, putting pressure on yourself to achieve something in January can sometimes be counterproductive, and hustle culture can turn even fun resolutions into chores. According to a YouGov survey from a couple of years ago, one in five (22%) Brits who made New Year's resolutions managed to keep to them all and more than a third (37%) of 18 to 24-year-olds intended to do so. But what if you don't? Almost 80% of people who make New Year's Resolutions fail to achieve them and despite going into them with good intentions, we ultimately set ourselves up for failure.
So how can we avoid this and ensure that we really take care of ourselves in the new year?

Almost 80% of people who make New Year's Resolutions fail to achieve them.

Lauren Gordon, a behavioural insights advisor at Bupa UK, said the weight of expectation can be heavy around this time of year. She told Refinery29: "Often this pressure can come from ourselves. If you feel like you are sometimes your own worst enemy in putting yourself down or feeling like you are incapable of not fulfilling your potential, be kind to yourself and just focus on getting back to reality after Christmas and doing what you already do well."
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For example, if you're planning on cutting out sugar in the New Year, Gordon suggests being realistic with your goal. "Cutting sugar out entirely can make us crave it, so we end up being more prone to temptation and craving entirely," she says. "This can then lead to us berating ourselves and becoming completely demotivated."
Gordon points out that there's nothing wrong with slipping up – actually, it's normal – but the important thing is to be "self-compassionate and forgive yourself" so you can re-focus on your goal after your brief wobble.
"It is easy to give in to what we call 'present bias' – favouring short-term rewards over waiting for a pay-off in the long run – even if waiting meant the result would be greater. Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say," she adds. "So, if you do decide to set a New Year's resolution, think of it as a long-term lifestyle change rather than a short-term fix. Eating healthily isn't something we should just do in January of each year."

If you do decide to set a New Year's Resolution, think of it as a long-term lifestyle change rather than a short term fix.

Lauren gordon, bupa uk
With this in mind, choose flexible and achievable changes that can boost your confidence as well as improve your motivation. For example, why not try some tweaking your home to make it more eco-friendly? But most importantly, focus on your own goals – not on what anyone else is doing.
Gordon says your goals should "fit your own life, in line with how you envision your ideal future and priorities, or what you really want to accomplish". She also says there's no point making a New Year's resolution just for the sake of it. "If you don't feel like there is anything you can think of or you're not ready to start planning it into your life, don't force it," she adds. "In reality, we can make a change in our lives any time we like. The New Year is just a good catalyst for change."

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