A New You in the New Year

A woman standing in the sunlight near trees.

By Carol Phillips

The New Year is a great opportunity to reflect on where we are in many different areas of our lives. The wellness connection teaches us that all aspects of our lives are intertwined and continuously affect each other. Identifying the areas where we are doing well and honestly evaluating areas where we may be struggling can help us improve our overall health and wellness. The countless choices we make daily, over time, have negative, positive, or neutral consequences. Being mentally aware of our strengths and weaknesses is the first step to creating a better year ahead. 

Look at each of the following categories and be totally honest with yourself. What areas are your biggest strengths? Where you can pause to give yourself credit and use those advantages to help other areas? Are there areas where you are in an unhealthy place and struggle to make changes? What changes would you like to make that can benefit from the excitement and energy of the new year?

Prioritize your health and wellness by spending some time staring the year off right by completing the following exercise. The categories are from Plymouth State University’s OSSIPEE Model to describe the Seven Dimensions of Wellness.

For each category, complete these five steps:

  1. Read each question.
  2. Spend a few minutes thinking about all aspects of that area of your life.
  3. Answer these questions: Are you satisfied with this area of your life? What are you doing that works? What aspects would you like to change?
  4. Identify your strengths and give yourself credit (patting yourself on the back is a wonderful mental exercise). Also, think about how your success in this area may help you in other areas of your life.
  5. Identify your struggles, weaknesses, and any changes you would like to make. Think of one or two realistic changes you can make to begin to improve this area of your life, in order to improve your overall wellness and experience an evolving sense of accomplishment. 

Occupational Health:

Does your chosen profession bring you fulfillment and a sense of purpose? 

Spiritual Health:

Does your belief system regarding your life purpose, religion, soulfulness, or higher power add value to your life? 

Social Health:

Do your relationships with others help you feel connected and supported?

Intellectual Health:

Do you use your mind to observe, think critically, be creative, and solve problems?

Physical Health:

Do you exercise regularly, eat healthily, and make good choices regarding self-care to avoid illness and injury?

Emotional Health:

Do you handle well your feelings and emotions, such as happiness, sadness, anger, love, and frustration, including controlling stress?

Environmental Health:

Do you feel connected to the planet, use its resources wisely, and avoid toxins for yourself and others?

The past year has been extremely challenging for many people as we continue to cope with the pandemic. The new year gives us an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, what we would still like to change, and identify the many skills we already possess to help us create a happier and healthier future for ourselves and the people closest to us!

Carol Phillips is a national health and wellness expert, the award-winning author of 52 Simple Ways to Health, and the radio host of Ask Coach Carol. Her company, Health Design, helps businesses significantly reduce costs and increase productivity by prioritizing health, wellness, and safety practices. Health Design is a SHRM Recertification Provider. Based in Manchester, NH, she can be reached through her website at HealthDesignNH.com.