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Learn that setting big goals can sometimes negatively affect your mental well being. Choose smaller, obtainable goals first and build up your confidence in yourself.

Being honest with yourself at the beginning of the year is also the best way to be. Mental health is largely, although not entirely, based on happiness. There’s the chemical affects your brain takes on in relation to mental health, which are in some ways beyond our control, but situational factors are a strong indicator of how well our minds are. If there are things you’ve done in the previous year - be that in relationships, friendships or work - that you’re unhappy with, be honest with yourself about these, and allow the resolutions you make in 2017 reflect how much better you know yourself now, having gone through these problems last year.

Being honest can be a really hard thing. But use the 31st of December 2016 as the cut off point. Use the term ‘last year’s me’ to break away from that person, and try and improve upon what you’ve done through the goals you’re setting today. Did you treat someone poorly? Well, aim to treat others with the greatest of respect, and work towards this by acknowledging, but letting go, the feeling you got when things went badly. Getting yourself in a frame of mind that doesn’t punish your every move is a super great way to start.

Break Down Your Resolutions

It also depends on what resolutions you’re planning to make. There is a fine line between quitting and reducing. What I mean by that is, if you aim to quit drinking, or quit all types of chocolate, you’re going to feel terrible when you ‘relapse’. I put “when” because you probably will. Because everyone does. And mentally, this will affect you massively. However, if you reduce something you don’t want to do, this gives you the legroom to have a glass of wine after a tough day, or snap a little bit of your partner’s chocolate of their bar when they aren’t looking. And yeah, OK, you might say “oh, I shouldn’t have done that”, but you won’t completely give up on your resolution this way. You’ll merely say “OK, back to it tomorrow working harder than ever” - the difference you feel mentally will be massive, all because you’re giving yourself the permission to have a tougher day. And why not?

I’m not an expert, for sure. But I’ve spend a hell of a lot of time setting goals, falling back from them and succeeding at them, too. It’s not rocket science but it’s also not easy. New Year’s Resolutions are often seen as negative, but only because people are stupid with their expectations. Mentally, they set themselves up to fall before they’ve even started to climb. At least this way, you’ve tied a rope around your waist, so if you fall, you don’t go very far.

There are so many choices and option when it comes to setting resolutions for the future. They will all affect your mental health, some way or another. The best thing to do is to acknowledge this and tackle it - and yourself - head on. Use other people to help you, too. If you have a partner, tell them your goals for the coming year and allow them permission to hold you to them. If they know you well enough, they will know when to push you and when to allow you a little bit of slack. New Year’s Resolutions can be great physically and mentally, and knowing that is half the battle.

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