New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

How to create personal goals for a balanced new year.

I love a good checklist. A to-do list starts my day off on the right foot, so when it comes to creating a New Year’s resolution, I take it pretty seriously. I mean, it’s a year-long to-do list, it better be a good one.

 The business of developing a New Year’s resolution doesn’t start until my Christmas decorations come down and my life looks normal again. With kids back in school, I finally have a moment to pause and assess my life.

 Resolutions are what you make of them. Without some thoughtfulness about your goals for the New Year, your resolution might not carry much weight, and therefore not stand the test of time. I had a great 2011, but for 2012, I want to continue moving forward and I have a plan to come up with some obtainable and pretty great goals.

If I focus too much on any one area of my life, I’ll become off-balanced, and it might lead to negative consequences in other areas of my life. Therefore, I’m turning to my trusty ol’ Wellness Wheel, used for residence life programming in college, to assist me in developing some goals for 2012. The Wellness Wheel model is widely used across the country in university residence life programs to offer fun and insightful programs for the students living in on-campus housing. Beyond college life, the Wellness Wheel is a useful model for community programming, as well as personal wellness.

 Addressing each dimension of the wheel will lead me to creating balanced goals, and thus a healthy and happy new year. The model Im using has seven dimensions:


Physical: This is the area most people focus on for the New Year Resolution, but addressing physical needs is more than losing that 5-10 pounds or quitting smoking. You can set a goal to get all of your check-ups and health screenings done, take preventative measures like adding stretching to your daily routine or cutting table salt out of your diet, get an extra hour of sleep each night, or start flossing.

 Intellectual: Intellectual well-being means you never stop learning. There are a million things I would add to my wish list of what I’d like to learn, but the real challenge is to carve out some time to reach my goal. Have you always wanted to learn a new instrument, learn a language, take on a new hobby, hone your skills in a craft or become knowledgeable in a particular subject? Pick something and give it some attention.

 Emotional: Changing the way you behave, respond to others, and manage your stress is no easy task. It starts with a personal assessment. What are examples of instances where you didn’t like how you behaved? By identifying your stressors, you can take preventative measures so you don’t hit your personal boiling point. Set limits. Take personal time outs. Say, “No I can’t help” on occasion. You’ll be happier for it.

 Spiritual: Spiritual wellness goes beyond one’s religion. Practicing your faith certainly addresses it for some, but it can also include doing things to form a connection with yourself, others, nature, or higher power. Consider hiking, meditation, yoga, volunteer work, and involvement in religious organizations.

 Social: To maintain social wellness, we’ll need to look beyond our Facebook “friends.” Reaching out to people in one’s community and building positive relationships is how we develop healthy social lives. With online social networking at play, it’s easy to lose balance of one’s social wellbeing. Good communication is more than corporate email or a virtual “poke,” so get out there and meet someone.

 Occupational: Find something you love, and do it. Easier said than done, right? However, assessing your occupational wellness and tweaking it will make vast improvements in other areas of your life.

 Environmental: You can make an impact on the environment just by doing something small. It takes minimal effort to recycle, even less to replace light bulbs with energy efficient ones, or take batteries somewhere they can be recycled. There are a million ways you can donate, recycle, or reuse items around your house. By helping Mother Earth, you’re also helping others who will use your donations.

 For my New Year’s resolutions, I’m not trying to overhaul my life. I just want to commit to a few positive changes that will ensure a holistically balanced and happy new year. I’m wishing you all the same.



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