December 14, 2011

A New Year, A New Approach to Well-Being

Woman in Workout Wear Walking up the StairsIt’s the most wonderful time of the year. Well, Andy Williams would like you to believe so. But for many of us, the holiday season and the turn of the new year may instead feel like the most stressful time of year. Some of us spend this time reflecting upon past resolutions gone off track, wondering how we gained those extra 5 pounds, or reflecting upon what – or how – we’d like to change.

This year will be different. You can stay on track with you resolutions and make 2012 the year to improve your overall well-being. Here’s how to make it happen.

1. Create a Plan.
What are you waiting for? Nobody said you had to wait until the new year to decide on a resolution. It’s important that you take advantage of your own motivation, whenever you feel it.

During the holiday season, most people are too preoccupied with having fun to focus on their New Year’s resolutions. But chances are, you already have an idea of what you want to work on. There may be a few goals you have in mind, but in order to really stay on track, you should pick one.

Once you’ve bought a journal – or created a journal online or through your own word processing/note taking software – write down your goal on the front page or at the top. This will help you keep your goal top of mind when reflecting upon your progress. In addition, choose amid-year goal so that you can assess your own six-month progress, and write this down with your full-year goal. Remember to try and be realistic when choosing your mid-year goal. This will allow you to remain more motivated as time goes on, knowing your objective is in reach.

2. Set Reminders.
We’re all busy; it’s easy to get wrapped up in other commitments that slowly derail the progress of your resolution. Because of this, it’s important to set reminders before you and your resolution fall off the wagon. When you determine your resolution, take a few minutes to also determine how often you will assess yourself. Every week? Every month? It’s up to you – as long as it’s consistent.

Perhaps these reminders would be most effective if communicated within your e-mail calendar, or perhaps you’re best reached via mobile phone alarms. Or, if this is a family effort, you can note when it’s time for a resolution check-in on the family calendar in the kitchen. The point is, you shouldn’t just resolve to achieve a goal; you should resolve to make this happen.

Think of these check-ins like appointments. During each scheduled check-in, think about your resolution progress, write these feelings down in your journal, and skim past entries to keep track of how you’re doing.

3. Get Real.
In order to stay motivated, it’s important that you don’t get frustrated after each slip. Some months will be easier than others and you’ll be able to see your own highs and lows as you keep track of your journal entries. Allow yourself some leeway in your six-month and full-year goals. Of course, don’t pad your progress too much – but feeling like you’re staying on track will help you stay motivated moving forward.

If you do experience a setback, write a mini-resolution in your journal about how you plan to fight back next week or next month. Staying resilient is half the battle of fulfilling a resolution.

4. Assess Yourself.
The reason for a six-month personal review is that oftentimes our resolutions require a bit of tweaking in order for us to attain them. Personal assessments allow us to recognize this, and if needed, extend our own deadlines. Perhaps your new year’s resolution becomes a two-year resolution.

However, when giving yourself an extension, take note: this should not take place more than once unless under very special circumstances. It’s okay to assess yourself and determine that you might need some outside support. For example, if you aim to completely quit smoking within the year, you might want to look into Blueprint to Quit, which provides expert advice and community guidance to help you along.

Of course, our personal Health Coaches are here to help you not only zero in on a prioritized goal, but also stick with it. We provide lots of services to help you and your employees stay on track with your overall well-being. To find out how we can work together, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. Happy New Year!

Written by: Jennifer Rudloff

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