First and foremost: Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful time with your family and friends over the holiday season. Every year has its challenges, but the hope is that we can look back on the past year and still be able to remember some joys and progress that we made on ourselves over the last 12 months.

Still, it is a new year once again, which means it’s time to think about the future. Many of us have long given up on the idea of resolutions, but it is still not uncommon to think about what’s in front of you and create goals or have hopes for ourselves that we want to reach.

What Stopped Us From Resolutions?

Whether you call these “new year’s resolutions” or not, we’re all familiar with the idea that many new years resolutions “fail.”  As Flourish Psychology writes, in the form of a Seinfeld joke: “Making resolutions is very easy. It’s keeping the resolutions that is the problem. Anyone can make a resolution. But keeping the resolution is the most important part of the resolution.”

There are many reasons that these resolutions, goals, and desires for ourselves fail, but most of the time, the issue is because they are all related to our mental health. It’s very difficult to care for your body when you do not care for your mind. It is nearly impossible to achieve a goal when you’re sad, down, anxious, or otherwise stressed.

Indeed, our mental health doesn’t just prevent our resolutions. Many times, without us realizing it, they *are* our resolutions. When we set a goal to do something like “learn a new language,” we are not only doing that to expand our abilities. We are also doing it because we believe it will make our lives happier and more fulfilling. The goals we undertake are, often, designed to improve our mental health.

That’s why, this year, maybe the resolution you should have is the one that will help you achieve all your goals and provide benefits that last a lifetime. This year, you should resolve to address your mental health.

Why Mental Health Care is the Best Resolution

The primary benefit of addressing mental health as a resolution is that your mental health plays a role in all other components of your life, including any other goals that you may want to take on and the benefits of achieving those goals. For example, if you resolve to travel more, and you do, but you struggle with depression, that travel is not going to bring you the fulfillment you hope for. It’s also going to make it harder to get yourself to travel.

But there are other benefits as well. Mental health care is:

  • Easier to implement – All it takes is one call to a therapist and you can get started. While you will still want to find a therapist that fits you and your personality, once you find one, you’re already able to start.
  • Greater Accountability – No one forces you to go to the gym, and no one can force you to eat a healthy diet. That makes it too easy to give up on your goals. But a therapist helps to keep you accountable, something that helps make sure you’re continuing to work to achieve those goals.
  • Fits Who You Are – If you’re a person that has never wanted to exercise, for example, and you try to force yourself to exercise, it’s going to be easy to give that up. But mental health is catered to you, so it is always in line with your goals and beliefs.

Better mental health is a resolution that you can keep every year, and it will always provide you with other dividends, such as improved ability to reach other goals and more energy to stay focused on the tasks at hand.

Barriers to Mental Health as a Resolution

Mental healthcare is a smart goal for 2024 and beyond. But there are a few barriers. I’m licensed in California, Texas, and Florida, and there are issues that can affect people that may stand in the way of addressing their mental health. In Texas, the issue is a dramatic shortage in providers. Lauren Shanks, a Texas insurance agent and owner of Kaia Insurance in Conroe, TX, writes “therapists are often covered by private insurance, but the issue is a lack of providers. Texas has been slow to remove (and in some cases have actively created) barriers that can make it harder for patients to find therapists in the state able to treat them.”

California is doing better on the health insurance and mental health legislation front. According to Mary of LyteSpeed Learning, an online insurance course provider for the state, the CA legislature has passed several bills such as Senate Bill 326 and Assembly Bill 531, all of which expand access and pour resources into the state’s mental healthcare programs.” Jeff Adler of LTCR Pacific, a long term care insurance provider, agrees, stating that California’s health insurance programs have helped open the door for better mental health related care.

The issue in California, however, is time and cost. Cost of living here is high, making it a bit more difficult to pay out of pocket (despite the benefits), and many of us now work remotely, which can make it difficult to stay with the same therapist as you move around the state.

Work With a Therapist for Your Mental Health

Despite these barriers, the value of addressing mental health cannot be understated. While many other resolutions and goals are admirable, there is little denying that mental health plays a role in all of your goals, and many people push off receiving therapy and other mental health services for far too long. If you’re ready to go into 2024 caring about your mental health, please contact me today.