Reflecting on 2020 & Setting Healthy Resolutions for the New Year

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Can you believe it’s 2021 already?

The unexpected events of 2020 made the year pass by faster than anyone could keep up with. It probably feels like you were just writing out your resolutions last January but now it’s that time of year again. The new year is in full swing whether you’re ready for it or not.

Did you manage to accomplish any of those resolutions? Everyone seemed to start the year out strong until plans quickly derailed only a few months in. Travel dreams, exercise goals, and social plans fell to the wayside as people were forced to spend more time at home than ever before.

It’s okay if you didn’t succeed with every goal you set up for 2020. Making it through the last year is something to be proud of in and of itself, especially if you struggle with managing your mental health. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set some new resolutions for this upcoming year either!

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to do so yet, now is the time to reflect on your experience in 2020 and set some new resolutions for 2021. How can you look back on the last year in a positive light and set healthy goals for the upcoming year?

Effective Reflection vs. Harmful Dwelling

Start by spending some time reflecting on the last year. Look at the resolutions you set in January of 2020. Were there any goals you followed through on during the year? Which resolutions were pushed aside in favor of keeping it together day-to-day?

Keep in mind that not sticking to your resolutions last year doesn’t mean you failed. It took everything you had in you to keep going in the face of nonstop challenges. Still, you can use this period of reflection to your benefit. Knowing what you know now, consider things that went well and things that could use some improvement.

Remember: there’s a big difference between reflecting on the past and dwelling on it. After facing so many difficulties last year, it’s easy to get caught up in dwelling on what you could or should have done. This is especially true when you battle with mental illness. Making it through 2020 while keeping your mental health in check alone is an accomplishment.

Still, hindsight is 2020 and you can’t change any of the events from last year. You can learn from those experiences and use them to your advantage as you move forward. Harmful dwelling on the past will only get you down and discourage you from trying again. Effective reflection helps you use the past to your benefit and gives you the motivation and drive to keep going. Reframe any resolutions you didn’t stick with and carry them into this year!

What is a Healthy Resolution?

Everyone knows how hard it can be to keep up with the goals you set for yourself each year. Unfortunately, many people give up on their initial goals before January is even over. According to a study from the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of people follow through on their New Year’s resolutions.

What keeps people from sticking to their resolutions? Most of the time it has to do with unrealistic expectations. There’s a ton of social pressure to become a better version of yourself from the first day of the year. “New year, new you” becomes the mantra for millions.

People set out to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise daily, practice meditation, incorporate a morning routine, and more, all at the same time. You probably fall into the pressure trap too, and find yourself planning a total overhaul of your life come January 1st. If you’re not used to doing any of these things though, you’re only setting yourself up to fall short.

Change takes time and setting too many lofty goals at once is a surefire path to giving up. If you already suffer from anxiety or depression, creating these unrealistic resolutions will only make your symptoms worse. Setting healthy resolutions is crucial if you want to be successful this year.

What does a healthy New Year’s resolution look like?

Using the SMART Goal Approach

One of the easiest methods to use when trying to set healthy resolutions is the SMART goal approach. SMART is an acronym that helps you determine whether or not your goal is a good goal. Setting unrealistic or impossible goals will only bring you down. You want goals that will help you become a better person or improve your life when you accomplish them.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based

If your resolution meets each of these qualifications then it’s a good, healthy resolution. What does each of these things mean?


The first requirement of a good resolution is that it’s specific. “Get more exercise” isn’t a specific goal. What do you hope to achieve by getting more exercise? How much exercise do you want to get? You want to be as clear as you can when setting your resolutions for the year. What are you trying to achieve exactly? What will it look like when you accomplish it? The more specific you are, the easier it will be to know when you’ve fulfilled that resolution.


Your resolution should also be measurable. Measurable resolutions let you track your progress and see how close you are to your goal. You can see how far along you are and determine whether you need to reassess your initial goal if you get off track.


This might be the most important aspect of setting healthy resolutions, especially for people working on their mental health. Resolutions are supposed to push you outside your comfort zone and encourage you to try your hardest. At the same time, if the resolution isn’t at all achievable then it’s only going to discourage you. Make sure you’re setting achievable goals.


Your New Year’s resolutions should be relevant to your life and your long-term objectives. If it’s something that you’re not interested in doing, what’s the point of trying to achieve it? This is useful for looking at any resolutions you want to carry over: if it’s no longer relevant, maybe it’s better left in the past for something you’re more interested in now.


The last element of a good goal is that it’s time-based. Resolutions are sort of time-based by nature since you plan to achieve them within the year. Breaking your resolutions down into smaller, time-based milestones is a great way to make them more approachable over time.

Which Areas Do You Want to Improve?

Now that you have a better idea of how to approach reflection and setting healthy New Year’s resolutions, which areas do you want to work on? Are there certain things you wanted to achieve last year that you didn’t get around to? Did you discover something new later on in the year that you want to focus on this year?

Or maybe your mental health took a hard hit during 2020 and you’ve been trying to hold on ever since. Perhaps you’re struggling to get back on track and need some additional support as you head into 2021. If so, Pasadena Villa is a specialized mental health treatment facility that’s here to help.

We offer a range of programs to fit the needs of anyone looking to relieve the burden of their mental illness. Pasadena Villa provides a calm and stable environment where you can focus on working through the difficulties of daily life. Take the first step toward reclaiming your year and reach out to us today!

If you’re ready to start your recovery, we’re here to help.

Contact us today.

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