New Year’s Resolutions that Aren’t Weight Loss: How to Focus on Your Overall Health*
Physical health is only one of the eight pillars of wellbeing. However, that seems to be forgotten going into the new year each year, when we are often inundated with ideas of what our resolutions should be.
Carefully placed advertisements can lead you to believe that you need the latest smartwatch to set a daily goal of 10k steps or a gym membership to lose those final few pounds. Various social media outlets will push solutions for “your best body ever.”
But what is the logic of focusing on physical strength if the real burden you’re carrying is within your thoughts?
For years, people have felt the pressure to have their New Year resolutions pertain only to their physical health, but health and wellness are as multi-faceted as each individual.
How to Set Thoughtful New Year Resolutions
This year, before making any resolutions, take time to consider these few things:
Reflect on Your Year and Your Health.
Before setting any resolutions, take a moment to reflect on the last year of your physical and mental health. Were there persistent feelings of anxiety, stress, or sadness? Regular aches, pain, or recurring injuries?
Consider events or daily habits that bring you joy or what may be creating tension or discomfort.
Write Down What You Would Like to Cultivate.
Getting older does not mean limiting your range of motion or the emotions you feel regularly.
Consider what evokes feelings of wonder, curiosity, and creativity, and create a list of things you would like to seek out throughout the year to cultivate those emotions. Similarly, aside from doctor-recommended habits – consider how you want to feel in your body. Some goals you could set:
- Feeling strong
- Feeling flexible
- Getting up with ease
- Alleviating joint pain
Create a List of Regular Habits.
Once you have identified what you would like to feel regularly, write down habits you can incorporate to nurture those feelings.
As you create this list of habits, remember that some minutes of working towards your goal each day is better than no minutes. The expectation of yourself should not be perfection.
Seek Support and Treatment.
If, upon reflection, you realize that difficult emotions, or regular physical discomfort or pain, have been the underlying current for you, seek support. This could involve the help of a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, talking to your doctor, or reaching out to receive physical or occupational therapy.
These professionals can provide valuable guidance and treatment options to help you manage your health more effectively. Sometimes, medication, counseling, and behavioral modifications are essential components of your path to wellbeing.
New Year Resolution Ideas to Acknowledge the 8 Pillars of Wellbeing
“Change Your Habits, Change Your Life” - Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life - PMC (nih.gov)
If you seek overall wellness this year, consider incorporating healthy habits into your everyday life.
Explore a New Hobby. Finding a new hobby can be a refreshing and overall enriching experience. Whether painting, playing a musical instrument, gardening, cooking, or playing a new video game, investing time in a creative pursuit can be a great source of joy and personal growth.
Read More. Reading is a fantastic way to expand your horizons, gain knowledge, and escape into different worlds. Consider challenging yourself to read a specific number of books in the new year or join a website like GoodReads.com to track what you’ve read and enjoyed and gain personalized recommendations.
Create a Budget. Our financial wellness is a large part of our overall wellbeing. If, upon reflection, finances were a significant stressor this year, consider putting in place a new budget, signing up for one of Wellworks For You’s free financial webinars, or looking into what kind of financial advisement options your company offers.
Volunteer and Give Back. Setting a goal to give back to your community or a cause you care about is an excellent way to feel more connected and fulfilled. Volunteer your time or skills to a local charity, non-profit organization, or community project. Consider organizing your own if there isn’t a local charity near you.
The act of giving can bring a sense of purpose and happiness.
Improve Relationships. Consider setting a goal to nurture relationships with friends and family. Allocate quality time for meaningful conversations, engage in regular catchups, or plan memorable experiences together. In a time where nearly half of our interactions have gone virtual, strengthening these connections can lead to greater emotional wellbeing.
Learning a New Skill. Lifelong learning is a powerful way to boost self-esteem and personal growth. Choose a skill you've always wanted to acquire, whether it's a new language, cooking, coding, or a craft, and dedicate time to mastering it. Becoming an expert at your craft also creates the opportunity to share it with others.
Disconnect from Technology. Setting new boundaries for technology use can significantly enhance your mental wellbeing. Commit to disconnect at certain times of the day and use that time for self-reflection, creative activities, and spending quality time with loved ones and yourself.
This year, instead of believing that you need to change your physical health to accomplish the new year, consider what you can nurture internally to provide you with joy and contentment. After all, your physical health is only one of the eight pillars of your overall wellbeing.
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