Can New Year Resolutions Promote Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools?

New Year Resolutions Promote Mental Health

As the dawn of a new year arrives, it brings with it a sense of hope, renewal, and an opportunity for positive change. While New Year Resolutions are often associated with personal goals like fitness or career aspirations, their impact on mental health and wellbeing in school settings should not be underestimated. In this blog, we will explore the evidence supporting the idea that New Year Resolutions can play a crucial role in fostering a mentally healthy and supportive learning environment.


Setting Achievable Goals to Boost Mental Health and Wellbeing

One of the key benefits of New Year Resolutions is the act of setting achievable and realistic goals. In the context of schools, this could mean encouraging students to set academic, social, or personal goals that contribute to their overall wellbeing. Research suggests that goal-setting can enhance motivation, focus, and a sense of purpose, all of which are vital components of positive mental health in educational settings (Locke & Latham, 2002).


Fostering a Growth Mindset to Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing

New Year Resolutions provide an excellent opportunity to foster and nurture a growth mindset among students. Encouraging a belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work has been associated with improved academic performance and increased resilience to setbacks (Dweck, 2006). By framing resolutions as opportunities for personal growth and development, educators can contribute to the cultivation of a positive mindset among students. 

Children and young people with a growth mindset feel greater agency – a greater sense that their growth and development are within their control – and feel less afraid of challenge, error and failure. Click here to read more about How can a Growth Mindset support Mental Health and Wellbeing.


Building a Sense of Community, essential for wellbeing:

Incorporating New Year Resolutions into the school environment promotes a sense of community and shared commitment to personal betterment. Whether through classroom activities or school-wide initiatives, the collective pursuit of positive change can create a supportive atmosphere where staff and students feel connected and understood. This could include the local community – e.g. committing to support a charity or visit a local nursing home on a monthly basis. Social support is a well-established protective factor against mental health issues in young individuals (Hawton et al., 2015).


Encouraging Mindfulness and Reflection:

The process of setting New Year Resolutions naturally encourages mindfulness and self-reflection. Students are prompted to assess their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Mindfulness practices, including reflection, have been linked to reduced stress, increased emotional regulation, and enhanced overall mental well-being (Keng et al., 2011). Integrating mindfulness into the resolution-setting process can further amplify its positive effects.


Promoting Resilience to prevent mental health issues:

New Year Resolutions offer an opportunity to teach students about resilience – the ability to bounce back from challenges. In the face of setbacks or obstacles, the act of revisiting and adjusting resolutions can teach valuable coping skills. Resilience is a key factor in promoting mental health and preventing the development of mental health disorders in adolescents (Masten, 2014).

As we embrace the tradition of New Year Resolutions, we can harness the inherent potential of goal-setting to promote mental health and wellbeing among students. By fostering growth mindsets, building community, encouraging mindfulness, and promoting resilience, educators together with parents and the local community can create a positive and supportive learning environment where children and young people belong and are able to thrive.

School Mental health qualifications to support children and young people's mental health