Why New Year's Resolutions Are Damaging to My Mental Health

It never fails — every year, someone asks me what my resolution for the new year will be. Some promise they will attend the gym at least twice a week, others promise they are going to start eating better. I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. I think they’re pointless. People wait all year to start something they should have started six months ago and I’ve never understood that.

For me personally, it’s absolutely pointless to have a resolution. Why? Because the chances of me being able to stick with something for an entire year is nearly impossible. Why? The answer is simple: mental illness.

I’m not going to make a resolution to start exercising because 9 times out of 10 times, I wake up every day telling myself I’m going to exercise and I don’t, because depression doesn’t allow me to have any motivation and it convinces me that sleep is more important. I’m not going to make a resolution to eat better because I have binge eating disorder (BED) and there’s basically no chance I’d be able to go a whole year without bingeing. Those are no excuses, because I do wake up every day and continue to fight my demons. Some days I will actually eat better than others. But a whole year? Forget it. That’s too big of a step; I like baby steps.

If anything, resolutions can be damaging to my mental stability. I already hate myself and think I’m a failure and a waste of space because I can’t do anything right. The moment I didn’t stick with my resolution for the first time, is like promising disaster. My mental stability would plummet down the drain because I just screwed up yet again, and here I am validating that I can’t do anything right and I’m definitely a failure.

My only goal each and every year is to continue staying alive and do my best not to relapse.

I wake up most days with passive suicidal thoughts. Meaning I don’t actually come up with a plan, but I think about death nearly every single day. I think about how much better it would be because I wouldn’t have to deal with this living nightmare. But somehow, I manage to make it through to the next day.

It will be five years as of January 18th since I have cut myself. The majority of each week, I think about how much easier it would be to just relapse, so that I had some way to deal with the overwhelming amount of emotions. But then I think about how awful I would feel about throwing five years down the drain and I somehow don’t end up going anywhere near that razor blade.

I wake up every single day terrified that I’m going to do something I’m going to regret. So my only resolution is to fight those demons so that I don’t.

Sure, all of the things other people do for their resolutions would be nice. But my main priority is to keep my head above water every single day. I’m all for people making their own resolutions, but I don’t foresee them as being something that’s possible to do while I’m mentally ill.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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