How to be S.M.A.R.T about your New Year’s resolutions

New Year's resolution health

As people gear up for January by drafting New Year’s resolutions, the old adage “new year, new me” never fails to make a lasting impression. Although resolutions are not an inherently unhealthy practice, creating a goal as lofty as transforming into an entirely new person can easily be derailed by day-to-day struggles and ultimately cause more stress and anxiety.

At Mindstrong, we believe in empowering our members to find what gives them a sense of meaning and purpose. Take it from Bethanie Hiramoto, a Licensed Professional Counselor at Mindstrong— a goal shouldn’t have judgment attached to it. Instead, it should have acceptance and intention. As a result, goal-setting becomes more focused on boosting self-esteem, confidence, and personal growth rather than achieving an unrealistic bottomline. And the best part? Our providers are there at every step of the way— whether that’s through general encouragement, daily check-ins, or more frequent appointments.

Let’s encourage each other to reframe this year as “new year, new opportunities” to get out of your comfort zone and be open to possibilities that stretch you! The “you” that has come into this new year is a work in progress and continuing to grow.

Kelly Freeman, LCSW

Ready to start creating some resolutions of your own? Here’s how Mindstrong can help!

Identify where you want to improve

Deciding where you want to start your journey can be hard, especially if you have several lifestyle and/or behavioral habits that you’d like to improve. To set yourself up for success, try choosing one or two areas to focus on. Determine why you want to pursue this as a goal— does it relate to treatment, emotions, self-care, relationships, or work? Does the desire for improvement come from you or from another person/society’s expectations? Our therapists and Care Partners can help you discover what motivates you to reach your goal and provide guidance and support along the way.

Start by writing your goal(s) down or create a vision board! Review goals periodically and make adjustments to actions that need tweaking and remember that a failure is an opportunity to learn, adjust and refocus.

Nicole Richardson, LPC

Embrace challenges with optimism

When it comes to setting goals, it’s important to recognize your limitations and maintain realistic expectations. However, that doesn’t mean optimism can’t be a powerful motivational tool! If things start to feel difficult, our therapists and Care Partners can help you re-frame negative self-talk and support you through any self-doubt that you might feel. The more supported you feel, the easier it will be to address challenges head-on and reach your goals!

If your goal is to be healthier, identify what being healthy means to you. Is it having more nutritious foods in your diet? Is it being active for 30 min a day? Is it getting better sleep? Once you identify the “subsections” of getting healthy, you can make plans to work towards completing those smaller steps which will take you to your bigger goal!

Kendra O’Berry, LCSW

Create an attainable plan

Setting goals can be a useful tool to improve your mental health, but it’s important to make sure that they are as accessible as possible. To help you get on the right track, try creating specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals— also known as SMART goals.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet:

Specific: Ask yourself what you want to accomplish and then consider why, how, when, and where you’ll do it. The more specific the better! For example, if you want to read more books, try setting a goal of reading two books per month.

Measurable: How will you keep track of your progress? Will you have smaller tasks to complete or keep a journal? The Mindstrong app allows our providers to create measurement-based care plans that focus on a person’s incremental progress. As a result, current members have reported up to 73% improvement in their depression and anxiety symptoms after participating in our surveys.

Attainable: Your goal may seem like a challenge, but it shouldn’t feel impossible to achieve! What are some ways you can maximize accessibility? If you find external accountability useful, Mindstrong’s therapists and Care Partners can implement check-ins along the way. Need extra help? Our app’s 24/7 support feature ensures that you’re never alone.

Realistic: How well does your goal fit your individual needs? The more connected you feel to a resolution or challenge, the more likely you’ll be able to stick with it and follow through to the end. For example, if you already read two books per month, try increasing the number of books to something that feels both challenging and realistic for you.

Time-bound: It’s important to create realistic time limits around your goal. How long do you think it will take to accomplish it? Will you need to establish check-points? Are you working toward something that’s occurring on a specific date? Our providers are here to help you develop a sensible timeline and stick to it.

Be kind to your mind and body and try setting your goal around something you will add in instead of take away. You’ll notice that having the intention of adding a vegetable into one meal per day is much easier to achieve versus ceasing to eat any junk food or sweets at all.

Toni Sands, LPC

Our dedicated providers can help you develop accessible goals and monitor your progress along the way — no matter what you’re looking to achieve. Check out our app here to get started.

Ready to schedule an appointment? Give our Member Support Team a call at (800) 995-2230!

About the author
Mindstrong Team
Mindstrong Team

Mindstrong provides therapy and psychiatry services through your smartphone and is a covered benefit of many health insurance plans.