Realistic New Year's Resolutions for PTSD Sufferers

December 31, 2019 Beth Avery

Today I want to talk about why it's so difficult to follow through on New Year's resolutions when you have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

New Year's Eve has always been one of my favorite days of the year. For some, it's a time to reflect on the joys of the past year and plan for more happy times ahead. For others, it's a chance to reinvent ourselves.

New Year's resolutions can be a fun way to set goals and expectations for the upcoming year. For people with PTSD, however, reaching those New Year's goals can feel impossible.

The Pressure to Be Perfect and New Year's Resolutions with PTSD

In a lot of ways, New Year's resolutions are meant to optimize our lives. We resolve to be healthier, to start new businesses, to stop bad habits, to clean up our lives, etc. We enter the new year striving for perfection, seeking ways we can improve upon ourselves.

While trying to better ourselves isn't a bad thing, the goals we set on New Year's Eve are often difficult to achieve when our daily lives resume. Everybody wants to be successful in life, but it's impossible to be good at everything. Our time and resources are limited, and some areas of our lives will naturally be neglected throughout the year. 

It's a common joke that the majority of people who buy gym memberships in January abandon their fitness goals within a couple of weeks. As someone who struggles to make it to the gym in the morning myself, I know this isn't because those people aren't dedicated to their goals. Other aspects of their life just demand more attention, whether that be work or kids or side hustles or even just getting enough sleep. We want it all, but we can only handle so much. 

New Year's Resolutions and PTSD

When you have PTSD, New Year's goals become much hard to achieve. It's really, really difficult to focus on improving certain areas of your life when you're trying so hard just to get through each day.

Dealing with PTSD symptoms and recovering from trauma takes up huge amounts of space in your brain. It eats up your time, and it consumes your emotional resources. It doesn't shut off when you go to work or school. It doesn't stop when you shut your eyes to sleep. It's a nonstop problem that has to be dealt with.

If you suffer from PTSD, I would encourage you to set aside any New Year's resolutions this year. Focus on your recovery. Focus on regaining the peace that was stolen from you by trauma. Choosing to love yourself with all of your flaws and shortcomings is the best preparation you can give yourself for the new year

APA Reference
Avery, B. (2019, December 31). Realistic New Year's Resolutions for PTSD Sufferers, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Beth Avery

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