09:30 AM

Setting a well-being vision for the year with good intentions

The holidays can provide a chance to relax and reflect, but at the same time, exercise and healthy habits may take a hit. The new year brings an opportunity to take a fresh look at issues you may have been wrestling with and a chance to tackle them for a new start. 

“When creating a well-being vision, it’s helpful for people to think ‘who do I want to be?’ in the new year,” said Tina Thornton, a registered nurse and associate vice president of wellbeing and safety at Nationwide, which makes mental health, employee assistance and financial wellness programs a priority for its associates. 

“Setting intentions that are personal to you and not based on external pressures will make you more likely to succeed and stick with it. Think of your intentions as the action or behavior you will engage in to meet your vision.” 

Thornton has the following advice to share with those looking to take a fresh look at their well-being vision this year: 

  • Record your vision: Write down your vision(s) to give them more weight. Once you put them on paper, your idea becomes more concrete and valuable, not just a vague wish. 
  • Make a plan: You need a clear strategy to achieve your goal. Write down the actions you will take to make the change you want in your life. For instance, if you want to exercise more, specify how you will do it. 
  • Set reminders: Leaving notes for yourself in places you often see can help you reinforce your goal. Small and subtle cues can keep your goal always in view.
  • Be sensible: Don’t aim for something that is too hard or painful to accomplish. Rather than saying, “My goal is to run a four-minute mile,” try joining a running group and running four times a week. 
  • Think long-term: Some common goals (like losing weight, exercising more and getting out of debt) take more than a few days or weeks to achieve. They require careful planning. 
  • Forgive yourself: Don’t be too strict with yourself when pursuing your goal. Everyone makes mistakes, so you have to accept that setbacks will happen in any meaningful goal. 
  • Check emotional responses and become resilient: Practice mindfulness, meditation or breathing exercises to help calm you down as you transition back into your daily routine. 
  • Care for your physical being: Explore an eating or movement style that feels right for you and where you are right now.
  • Create connections: Join a club, a group or a community that shares your interests and values. 
  • Find more fun: Engage in hobbies and passions that make you happy and fulfilled. 

“I recommend taking advantage of resources your employer offers in addition to community resources,” Thornton says. “Many companies, including Nationwide, offer employee resource groups, employee assistance and health programs and financial education that help reach your goals and connect with others. Find out what’s available and get started!”