Which New Year’s Resolution is worth considering for a person recovering from depression?

Dec 29 2011 Published by under Action, Change, Strategy

With just a few days left before we step into the brand new year, our desires to make things better in the next year manifest in a list of resolutions. In these last dark days of December, lots of us set ourselves on a path of change and transformation.  We solemnly declare and promise ourselves that on the 1st of January, we will alter our behaviours, habits, thoughts and/or lifestyle.

So, what are the top 5 most popular New Year’s resolutions and are they worth considering for a person recovering from depression? Let’s explore them one by one…

1.       Spend more time with family and friends.

It sounds like a very good resolution to make. Humans are social creatures and thrive in close and nurturing relationships. We all need love, connection, trust, unconditional respect, meaningful interactions and the gifts of giving and receiving.

Keep this resolution if you have a wonderful family and friends. Making it becomes especially important, if, due to being a prisoner of depression in 2011, you did not spend much time nurturing these precious bonds. You are so lucky to have these wonderful people in your life. Let them know this at every opportunity.

However, there are a few family members (or even families) and friends that are very toxic with negativity. No matter how many times you promise yourself not to get affected or take it personally the next time, you always feel worthless after interacting with them.

If this is your case, you might even feel torn with guilt: you wish to stop communicating with them, but feel obliged to continue to do so; or you are totally dependent on them and feel that you won’t be able to survive without them.

For you, a better resolution could be: spend less time with toxic and negative people until I am strong enough to re-evaluate these relationships and establish my new boundaries.

If these are the only people in your social circle, you might also want to add another resolution to the previous one:  actively build my own circle of positive, inspiring and supportive friends.


2.       Get fit.

Being physically fit is great, no doubt. However, what I hope you really want to achieve in 2012 is your mental and emotional fitness.

Joining the gym is unlikely to cure your depression. Neither will being able to run 20 miles or more.

Yes, you need physical exercise and activities. I don’t deny it. You need lots of energy to break the cycle of depression and some physical exercises and activities can significantly boost your energy level and assist you in your recovery. I will be making a few suggestions in my brand new eZine in 2012.

However, I personally think that you can set aside the resolution to get physically fit for now.

Have: ‘Get mentally and emotionally fit’ or ‘Boost and balance my energy levels’ as an alternative.


3.       Lose weight or Go on a diet

Carrying a comfortable weight around is great. However, when you are struggling to leave depression behind, do not waste your focus on losing weight or going on a diet. Unless you are clinically obese and likely to die if you don’t shed a few pounds in the next few weeks, set it aside. It can wait.

Have: ‘Eat 3 nourishing meals a day every day’ or ‘Take good care of feeding myself properly, every single day’.


4.       Quit smoking

Even though you may appear lethargic and inert on the outside, underneath the mask of your depression is a stressed person. Quitting smoking is stressful. Now add the two together. Hmm…

I am not supporting or promoting smoking. I lost a few family members to lung cancer and know all the dangers and implications of smoking.

However, I don’t believe quitting smoking will lift your depression in an instant.

Your recovery comes first. You need to get back into your stimulating, meaningful, challenging, wonderful and beautiful life! Then, you will have more strength and motivation to deal with your smoking habit.

If, however, smoking causes financial strains, health problems or relationship conflicts, set a resolution:  ‘smoke less’,’ smoke outside’ ,‘ review my smoking habits every 90 days’ or ‘seek professional help to quit smoking’.


5.       Enjoy life more

Sounds great and just what the doctor ordered!  But … Easier said than done!

It’s so broad and so vague that anyone taking on this resolution is set to fail unless they spend time figuring out what brings them joy first.

When you have had years living with depression, you might not even remember how to enjoy life, let alone know how to enjoy it more.

A more appropriate resolution could be: ‘In the next 12 weeks, I will identify what activities bring me joy (even for a few moments) and do them daily’ or ‘I will seek inspiration and new experiences daily’.


Whatever resolution you choose to make for 2012, possibly the most important resolution is to decide every single day to invest your time and energy in activities, behaviours and habits that support your depression recovery.


Stay strong, remain hopeful and seek inspiration!

P.S. Are you going to make resolutions for 2012? What are they?

Photo by: 123RF Stock Photos

2 responses so far

  • Jen says:

    I never stick to resolutions, maybe it is because of the depression.

    Instead, I am trying to do goals. Not all of them health related but stuff I hope to do this year.

    • Kat says:

      Hi Jen,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I know from your blog that you are planning some fun stuff for 2012. It would be so great if you can come back and share a goal or two. We need your inspiration!

      Wishing you a wonderful, balanced, healing 2012!


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