Rethinking New Year’s Resolutions

As we move into 2021, you may find yourself thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions. While health and well-being goals are helpful, some types of goals can leave us feeling guilty or insufficient if we don’t reach or sustain them. Balanced You supports employees’ well-being goals and encourages everyone to approach their 2021 resolutions with kindness and caring toward themselves as we continue to work through the pandemic together. Read on for strategies to use in developing 2021 goals that uplift you physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Thank yourself for 2020

Before you start your 2021 planning, take time to thank yourself for everything you did to contribute to your well-being during 2020. Did you practice social distancing? Engage in exercise or movement routines that feel good? Explore new recipes or enjoy beloved family recipes? Allow rest? Cultivate joy? Continue your medical care? Intentionally stay connected with friends, loved ones, or spiritual practices?

Make space for gratitude and celebration, to congratulate yourself for everything you accomplished during 2020, despite the many challenges. Spend a few moments thanking yourself in creative ways, like creating a mental list, sharing your accomplishments with a loved one, or writing yourself a thank you letter. 

Be realistic about 2021 goals

If you are someone who is motivated by setting goals, be intentional about being kind to yourself and realistic for this year’s goals. Remember we are still facing the challenges of an on-going pandemic. Set short-term and long-term goals and devote time to identifying assets, barriers, and resources related to your goals to help achieve them realistically.

Identify themes for 2021

Instead of, or in addition to setting specific goals, consider identifying themes you’d like to work on this year, such as emotional well-being, financial fitness, rest, or joyful movement. Themes leave room for experimentation and adjustment as you learn what goals or practices best serve you. Read on for suggestions, along with King County and Balanced You programs and resources that can support your well-being.

  • Food and movement: Now is the time of year when we are overwhelmed by advertisements encouraging us to lose weight, and this year those marketing tools will include language about weight gained during the pandemic. Remember, your body is keeping you alive during a pandemic and your weight is not an indicator of your worth. Rather than making goals about a number you’d like to see on a scale, consider focusing on improving your body. Strategies include moving away from restrictive diet culture, developing mindful eating practices, and finding movement or exercise that feels good to you.

Programs and resources: Mindfulness Northwest’s Mindful Eating classes; Live, virtual exercise classes and on-demand videos; Weight Watchers

  • Emotional well-being: Improving emotional well-being looks differently to everyone. For some, improving emotional well-being may mean allowing themselves to experience grief from the pandemic. For others, it may mean allowing joy to happen. For some, improving emotional well-being may come from establishing or continuing with a therapist or psychiatrist. And for others, it may mean safely strengthening social connections, identifying a recovery community, or spiritual practices. Consider using different combinations to see what helps support your mental wellness.

Programs and resources: Making Life Easier, Employee Assistance Program, mental health care via telehealth, Balanced You’s Hope and Joy Campaign, mindfulness classes, Mental Health Resource Guide

  • Medical care and managing long-term health conditions: Is 2021 the year you’d like to establish a Primary Care Physician or Specialist, or get those tests done you’ve been putting off? Or possibly reducing your risk or learning to manage long-term health issues? Fortunately, King County benefits and Balanced You programs have you covered.

Programs and resources: King County Benefits webpage, King County medical plans, programs for managing long-term health conditions

  • Financial fitness: If you’d like to explore financial fitness this year, consider working with a trained My Secure Advantage Money Coach, available to King County employees free-of-charge. Money Coaches will help your plan and reach your money goals, whether you’d like to learn more about personal finances, increase your savings, pay down debt, plan for a large purchase, plan for retirement, or prepare for financial changes in 2021. In addition to My Secure Advantage, employees have access to money-saving wellness discounts throughout the Puget Sound. And if you’d like to learn more about King County retirement and deferred compensation programs, check in with the Benefits team.  

Programs and resources: My Secure Advantage, King County employee wellness discounts, King County retirement and deferred compensation information

  • Rest: Often underrated and overlooked, rest is one of the healthiest and most restorative gifts you can give yourself. Improving rest can mean introducing naps, unplugging from electronics an hour before bed, setting boundaries with work or loved ones, or giving yourself short mindfulness breaks during the day.  To improve rest, consider intentionally prioritizing what is most important and removing other commitments off your plate this year to create space for downtime.

Programs and resources: Mindfulness videos

Balanced You wishes all employees a healthy and well 2021! If you have suggestions or questions, please reach out to us at BalancedYou@kingcounty.gov.

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