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3 Simple Steps I Used to Make a Resolution as Someone With a Mental Illness


It’s about that time of year again when everyone is looking for resolve, closure and most of all, looking forward to the year ahead. For most, it’s a fresh start, but for someone like me with C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety and depression, it’s a daunting task to commit to something for a whole year. When I know there are challenges I have to overcome on a daily basis to accomplish basic tasks, trying to commit to something such as “going to the gym once a week” can be overwhelming and impossible.

So this year I followed a few basic steps:

1. Choose something general.

To me, this means no time commitment. I know some days it’s hard for me to even get out of bed, so committing to something I may not make it to will only make me feel overwhelmed and inferior. I decided to choose something I can do simply and every chance I get so I feel confident and productive.

2. Make it attainable.

Set yourself up for success. Now I don’t mean don’t challenge yourself, but simply to set an expectation that is realistic for you. For example, I know as someone who doesn’t work out in a gym setting regularly and someone who doesn’t like being indoors, trying to challenge myself to start going to the gym even once a week was unrealistic. I want to achieve whatever goal I set, so I chose something that was realistic for me. If you don’t have any ideas, try asking someone you trust and that understands your mental illness.

And most importantly…

3. Pick something that makes you feel good.

I am currently in therapy working through my challenges and mental illnesses, so I wanted to choose something that would make me feel good and also help my goal to become mentally healthy. So I chose something that over the course of the year is modifiable and works to fit my needs. Something that will challenge me, but not overwhelm me. Something that will overall make me feel good, and better than I have.

If you’d like to follow in my footsteps, my resolution is to be more confident. I decided to choose one word. This word needed to be something I’d like to become or become more of. It also needed to be something general, something more like a quality than say a profession. I can apply this by asking myself before I do something or try something, “Will this make me more confident?” If it does, then I continue, but if it doesn’t I can reassess and try to move toward my goal. It will still challenge me, but it also allows me to be forgiving. To me, that is the most important thing: remember to be forgiving to  yourself if whatever you plan doesn’t work out the way you’d hoped.

If you can follow these few steps, then you can hopefully come up with something that will set you up for a great new year. Just remember no matter what you choose, your year is not dependent on your completion of the resolution. Your year is what you make it and this year is going to be a healthy one.

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Getty image via jacoblund