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We all know that, for many people, the coming of the New Year is a time to make resolutions. Common resolutions include being healthier, being more organized, living life to the fullest, learning a new hobby, being more financially responsible, traveling, and reading more. We all want to make positive changes in our lives, but the statistics show that we often have trouble making those important shifts that will actually stick. Only 9.2 percent of people report successfully achieving their resolution and only 44.8 percent of people report maintaining their resolution past the six month mark. So, what are we doing wrong?

The reality is that it’s hard to maintain momentum when you’re working against unhealthy and deeply ingrained habits. It’s frustrating to try to make a positive change in your life only to find yourself stalling after a few weeks. So many of us have been there. But this year, instead of feeling helpless and stuck, consider giving yourself the gift of therapy—it could be the secret to making real change. 

Study after study has found that psychotherapy can help people make positive changes in their life, according to the American Psychological Association. The APA also found that 75 percent of people who participate in therapy experience some benefit. Knowing this, collaborating with a therapist can be one of the best resolution you can make for yourself. I’m not just saying this because I’m a therapist. So many of my clients have told me that having the courage to seek help transformed their lives and gave them hope. And many of them also told me that they wish they had sought out help earlier.

Why do people avoid it? 

“I didn’t want to come to therapy because I didn’t want people to think I was crazy.”

“I didn’t think I needed anyone’s help to solve my problems.”

I’ve heard these lines and similar ones so many times in my work as a therapist. Because there is still such a stigma surrounding mental health, many people are often reluctant to seek out therapy. Only 41 percent of people who could benefit from mental health treatment actually seek it out for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, that reluctance can mean that they miss out on the proven benefits of therapy. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions are more widespread than you might think.

One in five adults have a mental health condition (which is about 40 million people). There’s no reason to struggle with anxiety and depression without the help of expert treatment, but the stigma surrounding mental health leaves people feeling afraid that others will judge them, think of them negatively, or see them as weak for seeking help. That fear can hold them back from getting the help they need.

How can it help you?

I’ve had clients who were able to successfully work through traumatic events they experienced that they’d never told anyone about. I’ve worked with clients who felt trapped in negativity in their lives, and they learned how to think more positively and embrace a growth mindset. And I’ve had clients who weren’t satisfied with the way their relationships were going, who learned to set boundaries and improve their communication style. For all of these people, they had to have the courage to seek out the expertise of a therapist despite the social stigma that still surrounds taking care of your mental health.

Taking care of your mental health is an important component of self-care. It’s just as important as taking care of your physical health. When you’re stressed, unhappy, and overwhelmed, it’s hard to feel like you are living a full life. A therapist can help you figure out where you are getting stuck and can help you draft a plan and strategies to overcome mental barriers or negative thought patterns that might be holding you back. Promising to take better care of your mental health could be the best resolution you make this New Year because the changes you make will have a lasting and positive effect throughout every aspect of your life.

Whether you are struggling with anxiety, depression, grief, or want to make positive changes in your life, working with a good therapist can help you benefit from research-backed treatment methods and strategies to help you achieve your goals. You don’t have to struggle alone when you are trying to make positive changes and a therapist can work with you every step of the way. You can be part of the nine percent who actually achieve your New Year’s resolution!