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New Year's Resolutions: Take Stock and Make Them Stick

By Courtney Reyers, NAMI Director of Publishing

Now that 2014 has arrived, odds are that we’re thinking about how to lose weight, save some money, improve our relationships or quit a bad habit. The new year is a great time for self-assessment and setting personal goals, and about one-half of the American population makes resolutions every year. However, according to Forbes Magazine, only 8 percent of people stick to their new year’s resolutions. Their tips for achieving new year’s goals? Keep it simple, make it obvious and tangible—and believe that you can do it.

Those are great words of advice for people with mental health challenges all year round. Living with mental illness involves celebrating the daily victories and working toward a healthier, happier future. NAMI asked its Facebook community what they had in mind for 2014 and got some very inspirational responses:

· “To have more positive self messages and not beat myself up over missteps.” -Stacia B.

· “Hope, peace and a careful, but optimistic, road of continued stability! To be a spokesperson regarding mental health and standing up for myself and those who need it.” -Kerri W.

· “Keep my head together through another semester of graduate school… That'll get me through May!” -Tony L.

· “To keep doing maintenance for my mania. To stay out of the hospital. To stay in the moment. Surround myself with positive people. To be happy.” -Jen H.

· “I will be teaching my first Family-to-Family class in January. My resolution is to give hope to everyone who needs it!” -Irene O.S.

· “To continue stability for my daughter and to keep fighting even harder for her even when I feel like giving up.” -Shari B.T.

· “To teach people about mental illness and get rid of the stigma attached to it. And to prove to myself and my family that, even with a mental health disease, I am—and will continue to be—a healthy and productive member of society.” -Danielle V.

Things that may seem small—like being in the moment—can make a huge difference in your daily life. Taking shorter-range steps, such as working through a school semester, feels very doable. Reinforcing positive self-talk is something that takes a lot of practice, but has a huge payoff. If any of our Facebook fans have inspired you, try a few of these tips to help you stick to your New Year’s resolution:

  • Write it down. Research shows that keeping a journal of your day can relieve stress and help prevent anxiety. Check out Greatist’s article on how to get started.
  • Plan it out. If health and weight loss are on your agenda, WebMD recommends making a detailed plan to guarantee success. Check out their 10 Habits of Successful Resolvers.
  • Change one small thing at a time. Bad habits develop over time, so don’t expect to drop them all at once. Even the smallest change can have a big impact.

Here’s to a healthy, happy and strong 2014 to us all. If you have a great idea for a resolution, share it with us on NAMI's Facebook page. Happy new year!