With the old year ending and the new year starting, it is a good time to take stock in the year that has passed and a good time to think about what you want for the year to come. Making a New Year’s resolution can be a good thing, but if you make a resolution that you cannot keep or are unable to stick to because it is unreasonable for where you are and where you would like to go, that seems fairly pointless. There are a few questions that you can ask yourself to get start thinking about where you would like your life to be at this time next year and to be able to reflect on the year that has passed. These questions will allow you to reflect on your mental health, your relationships, your life, and your future.
1. What is the baseline for my mental landscape or mood state?
It is a good idea to start by asking yourself how you are feeling on a typical day. Is your baseline mood reasonably good? Do you often feel irritable, frustrated, anxious, or depressed? When you feel a certain way all the time, it is easy to take it for granted. It is easy to assume that wherever your baseline falls is normal for you.
If you are feeling reasonably good a lot of the time, take a few minutes to think about why that is. Are there changes you have made in your life that promote this kind of attitude? Have you been working on this for a while and feel like you have made some progress? Have you always been generally happy and want to continue to be so? Take stock in all of these things and remember that these things take work to keep up.
If you are feeling poorly, take a few minutes to think about what that is. It might be time to work on what is bothering you. Take all the time you need and work down to the core of why you are feeling this way. It could be something small or it could be something big that is making you feel like you are not generally happy. Work on that reason and the changes you can make to it. And if it is feeling too big, get some help with it. Approach friends for help, or find a therapist who can help you. You do not have to go on feeling poorly all the time.
2. Did I give and receive the best possible love this year?
One of the cornerstones of mental health is wrapped up in our relationships. Chances are, if you feel that you gave the best love you could and received the best love you could, you are probably feeling pretty good. If not, that may be something for you to work on. This might be the key to finding your happiness in this new year. When you are not feeling your best, it is difficult to love the people who are important to you in the best way that you can. It is also difficult for the people who are important to you to love you in the best way possible when you are not feeling your best. It is hard to cultivate relationships when you are depressed or frustrated or irritable. Is there a way that you can find to be able to work on your relationships and move toward feeling like you are giving the love you would like to receive and receiving back the love that you give out?
3. Based on my current or daily activities, where can I expect to be in the future?
“The future” is a very general term. Focusing too far into the future may be overwhelming, but focusing too close to where you are now may not give you enough to work toward. What do you want to next chapter of your life to look like? If you have an idea of what you want, are some of the things that you are doing now in service of that idea? Ideas do not just manifest without any work done to achieve them or any energy put toward them. Ideas require work and focus. If you start to work toward them now, you will be that much closer at this point next year. If you are not doing anything in service of your future or you do not know what you want your future to be, these are things to think about now. You do not have to make a solid plan for everything today, but think about what you want your life to be and start to think about where you want to be in the future.