Why Gen Z’s Biggest New Year’s Resolution Should Matter To Us All

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Are you the type to set a New Year’s resolution? Do you look back on the past year, identify the areas that need work, and promise to do better once December becomes January? Or are you more the type to watch other people chase and fulfill their own resolution, that feeling of pride all you need to be satisfied?

There’s been an interesting trend in regard to New Year’s resolutions lately, especially among young people. It’s certainly one to keep an eye on, as not only is it inspirational, but how they choose to handle it could affect future generations.

2023 Is Here

That means it’s time to bring out those resolutions. Maybe you want to read more books this year, adopt a pet, learn how to paint, or stop drinking caffeine. The possibilities are truly endless, but they all carry the same goal in mind: bettering ourselves and our futures.

People cheers-ing glasses of champagne at New Years.
Pexels / cottonbro studio
Pexels / cottonbro studio

The one realm people love to try and tackle at the turn of the new year is health. Who can blame them? It’s detrimental to our lives and always important to work on.

There Are Many Ways To Do It

Gyms report an influx of new members in January, friends are informing you they’re cutting out sugar, and people are lacing up their running shoes to start training for a marathon. Be it our diet or physical regimens, people gravitate towards goals with results they can physically see and easily measure” or something to that effect

An empty gym.
Unsplash / Samuel Girven
Unsplash / Samuel Girven

However, there’s another aspect to health that’s becoming an increasingly popular New Year’s resolution, especially among younger people.

Survey Says…

Forbes Health conducted a survey of 1005 U.S. adults to see what their New Year’s resolutions were, and noticed some interesting trends.

An over-the-shoulder shot of a therapist speaking to a patient.
Pexels / Alex Green
Pexels / Alex Green

The survey found that 45% of respondents said an improvement in mental health was among their top New Year’s resolutions. When it comes to health, mental health concerns largely outnumbered physical health, with only 39% wanting improved fitness, 37% wanting to lose weight, and 33% wanting an improved diet.

Age Breakdown

The numbers shift even more drastically in mental health’s favor when looking at respondents between the ages of 18 and 25, most of whom would be considered part of Gen Z.

A young man speaking to a therapist.
Pexels / cottonbro studio
Pexels / cottonbro studio

About 50% of the Gen Z audience have improved mental health as a New Year’s resolution. Those aged 26-41 weren’t too far behind at 49%. This is compared to 33% of the 18-25 group and only 30% of the 26-41 group who had improved diet as a top goal.

This Isn’t A Total Surprise

This studies’ findings aren’t a total surprise, especially considering how anxiety and depression are notably on the rise in young people.

A woman sitting on an empty train car, wearing a mask and looking out the window.
Pexels / Anna Shvets
Pexels / Anna Shvets

The World Health Organization reported in March 2022 that the global prevalence of anxiety and depression rose 25% during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with young people being the most at risk.

A 2021 analysis by JAMA Pediatrics suggests that one in four youth globally is experiencing elevated depression symptoms, with one in five experiencing anxiety symptoms.

It’s A Growing Concern

So much so that, in October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Children’s Hospital Association declared a National State of Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

A greyscale image of a woman looking up to the sky, arms folded over her face.
Unsplash / Sinitta Leunen
Unsplash / Sinitta Leunen

Then, in October 2022, the organization sent a letter to the Biden administration requesting that they issue a National Emergency regarding children’s mental health so more resources and funding for mental health services could be created.

More Organizations Are Taking Note

Following the letter to the Biden administration, the U.S. Preventive Task Force recommended that children between the ages of 8 and 18 be screened for anxiety while adolescents ages 12 to 18 should be screened for depression.

A young person on an escalator, hands in their pockets, looking downward.
Unsplash / Sand Fotógrafa
Unsplash / Sand Fotógrafa

This is the first time mental health screening for this age group has been recommended in the U.S.

There’s Still Hope

The fact that Gen Z is so self-aware about these problems is hugely important. That so many young people want to actively improve their mental health—understanding that it needs work and they deserve that level of care—means that these highly prevalent issues within their generation won’t go ignored.

Someone leaning on a wooden railing, looking out towards a lake surrounded by trees.
Unsplash / Ümit Bulut
Unsplash / Ümit Bulut

“Awareness of the importance of mental health has drastically increased among younger generations,” said clinical psychologist, professor, researcher, and Forbes Health Advisory Board member Sabrina Romanoff, Psy.D., in response to the survey results.

Technology Has Helped

According to Dr. Romanoff, technology has helped with increasing awareness for issues like this. “This is likely due to the combination of amplified exposure, learning about the experience of others through various outlets (e.g., social media platforms, videos, blogs, articles), proliferation of the mental health industry and reduced stigma [that] has created more resources to discuss experiences and receive care.”

An iPhone displaying a 'social media' folder containing popular social media apps.
Unsplash / Adem AY
Unsplash / Adem AY

Social media has done wonders to destigmatize mental health care, which could prove to be immensely helpful to this group of young adults.

You’re Truly Not Alone

“Young people are especially able to seize these opportunities to communicate with others who may be experiencing similar circumstances,” she explained. “Not only does this create a sense of community, but it also can provide common solutions to problems faced by many.”

A group of people smiling.
Pexels / Kindel Media
Pexels / Kindel Media

Knowing you’re not alone in your struggles can provide a sense of community among your peers, something Gen Z is taking advantage of so they can help each other.

If you’re also prioritizing your mental health this coming year, know that there are people doing it alongside you. It’s hard work, but important work. You deserve to live a happier, healthier life.

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Daniel Mitchell-Benoit

Dan is a content writer with three years of experience under their belt, having mostly covered viral media but now shifting toward spirituality and astrology. He’s a strong believer in using one’s beliefs as a means of self-improvement and being in touch with whatever messages the universe has to offer.

He can’t wait to share his insights with a[…]