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Self-Care Goals for the New Year: Compassion, Respect, Patience, and Persistence

December 22, 2022 – 3 min read

By Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, AFSP Vice President of Research

Graphic with pink background, gold twinkles, and white text that says, "Resolutions are optional. Taking care of your mental health shouldn't be."

I’m not typically one for New Year’s resolutions. The likelihood that I will make a dramatic change in 2023 is slim. I’m more of a goal-setter. At the start of each year, I set a few goals that I use as a guide. Since I work in the mental health field, I’ve decided that this year, 2023, my goals will be set for self-care.

When I think about self-care, I’m not just thinking of myself, but also of the people in my life, since one affects the other. Taking care of my mental health and wellbeing allows me to have better relationships and help others if they need it.

The past few years have been challenging. There have been so many stressors, I’ve lost count! (And I’m sure I’m not alone in that.) On the other hand, I’m still moving forward, one step at a time. Occasionally I’m skipping with joy; sometimes, I’m dragging one foot in front of the other. Setting self-care goals will improve my resilience and capacity.

My goals for the year are focused on my four life-organizing words: 1) compassion, 2) respect, 3) patience and 4) persistence. 

  • Be compassionate towards myself and others. When I’m feeling emotionally depleted or worried about someone else, I will try to have empathy and remember that there’s a pathway to feeling better. The key is reminding myself that there is always reason for hope.
  • Have respect for myself and others. We all are worthy of positive regard and can expect others to have regard for our feelings and abilities. I will do my best this year to value myself and my wellbeing and appreciate my capacities. I may have to remind myself or others that we are worthy. One of my favorite quotes is, “I may not be perfect, but parts of me are excellent.” (Ashleigh Brilliant)
  • Patience goes a long way. Allow for grace, and room for fumbles and mistakes. I will do my best to take time: Most of life is not decided in a split second. Wait for it! It will pass or it might take a few tries. Don’t rush, breathe, and let the process unfold.
  • Persistence is so important! And I need to be persistent in reminding myself to keep going! Don’t give up! I need to keep trying and remember I can get there. If I feel awful, I can try breathing, exercising, hugging, walking or anything that may help me feel better. Something will work. I’m also going to avoid the behaviors that make me feel worse, like having a short fuse, not getting enough sleep, or doing too much of anything that brings me down. I’ll do my best to fill my life with thoughts and actions that make me feel better and remember not to give up until something clicks.

Who knows what 2023 will bring? I know I will have ups and downs. My goal is to take care so I can reap the joys, and get through the tough times. I want the same for you. Wishing us all a year with hope.