Making self-improvement New Year's resolutions often leaves people feeling worse, the British mental health charity Mind has warned.
Mind urged people not to make resolutions focusing on physical imperfections, such as attempting to lose weight, because they create a negative self image and lead to feelings of low self-esteem, hopelessness and even mild depression.
AdvertisementAnd when such optimistic resolutions fail, that could spark feelings of inadequacy and failure, the charity warned.
"New Year's resolutions can sometimes focus on our problems or insecurities such as being overweight, feeling unhappy in our jobs or feeling guilty about not devoting enough time to friends and family throughout the year," said Mind chief executive Paul Farmer.
"We chastise ourselves for our perceived shortcomings and set unrealistic goals to change our behaviour, so it's not surprising that when we fail to keep resolutions, we end up feeling worse than when we started.
"In 2009, instead of making a New Year's resolution, think positively about the year to come and what you can achieve."
Mind suggested resolution-makers focus instead on being active, connecting with nature, learning something new and working for one's community.