How to Set New Years Resolutions Using the Eight Dimensions of Wellness

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It’s about that time of year when people start to ponder their New Years resolutions and all they want to accomplish in the new year. This post will walk you through how to set New Years resolutions using the eight dimensions of wellness in a way that is simple and practical.

How to Set New Years Resolutions Using the Eight Dimensions of Wellness

If you plan to tackle a new health goal in the coming year, I am CHEERING YOU ON! Cultivating a healthy lifestyle is a great way to care for both yourself, and those around you — and it’s never too late to start (nor do you have to wait til a new year!!). While it’s easy to focus on external factors like weight loss or dropping pant sizes, let’s not forget there’s actually a myriad of ways we can support and measure health that go far beyond the usual *physical* aspects.

Enter in the 8 DIMENSIONS OF WELLNESS, because YEP, health is more than just eating well and exercising regularly. Physical health is great, but what good is losing 30 pounds if you are unsatisfied in your relationships and job…right? The other 7 dimensions are equally vital to a holistic state of wellbeing.

What are the 8 dimensions of wellness?

  • Physical: Caring for your body to stay healthy now and in the future through diet, exercise, sleep, stress management
  • Spiritual: Finding purpose, value, and meaning in your life
  • Social: Developing and maintaining healthy relationships, enjoying and caring for those around you, being in community
  • Emotional: Understanding and respecting your feelings and values; managing emotions in a helpful way; having a growth mindset
  • Environmental: Being aware of the effects of your daily habits on the physical environment; decreasing exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Occupational/Vocational: Participating in work that provides satisfaction, fulfillment and enrichment consistent with your values and goals; contributing your skills to your work
  • Intellectual: Expanding your knowledge/skills while discovering how to share your gifts with others; maintaining curiosity and valuing lifelong learning
  • Financial: Living within your means, making wise financial decisions/investments, tithing

Each dimension contributes to our overall health and wellbeing, and will affect and overlap with the other dimensions as well. For example, you may find that poor emotional health is also impacting your physical health, or maybe your lack of spiritual wellness is impeding your ability to have a healthy relationship with your vocation.

At certain times, some dimensions may need more attention than others, but all will need regularly tending to in order to maintain an overall sense of good health and wellbeing. Neglect one for too long and your health as a whole will start to deteriorate.

How can you use the 8 dimensions of wellness to set New Years resolutions?

As stated earlier, your health is multifaceted and encompasses more than just your diet and fitness routine. In reality, many of us set new years resolutions, goals, or intentions that include some aspect of our health and wellbeing.

“I want to start a regular workout routine” (physical)
“I want to build up my savings account” (financial)
“I want to buy a house” (financial, possibly environmental)
“I want to start recycling more” (environmental)
“I want to be more consistent in my prayer life”
(spiritual)

Each of the above are examples of possible goals, each linked to a different dimension of your health (included in parenthesis).

Using the dimensions of wellness serves an easy guide to use as you audit, assess, and plan for the future when making new years resolutions, or setting goals in general. There are of course many ways to set goals, this is just one of them that many have found helpful in the past!

Use this post as a guide if you’re wanting to prioritize your health in a new way in the coming year. Get an idea of what each dimension encompasses, then for each one, ask yourself a couple questions to get started:

  • In this area, what worked this year? What didn’t? And why?
  • Based on those answers, what do I want to change — and how will I go about it in a way that is sustainable and realistic in this current season of life?

Some dimensions may already be well managed and may not require as much focus. Some dimensions may not be a high priority for you right now, and that’s okay. Rather than focusing on changing 8 things at once, focusing on prioritization by identifying 1-3 changes or actions you want to focus on that are most important in the context of your life. Check in at regular intervals throughout the year to adjust and reassess as needed — every other month, or every quarter might be a good idea! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT ALL RIGHT AWAY.

Below I’ve broken down each dimension with some additional questions to think through along with examples of possible actions to consider or expound upon for yourself when setting New Years resolutions. Quiet out the noise, carve out some alone time, grab some pen and paper or open up a word document, and say a quick prayer inviting the Lord into this process. Ready?!

Physical

  • Do you regularly engage in exercise and daily movement?
  • Do you eat in a way that promotes health and longevity, focusing on nutrient dense foods?
  • Do you get 7-8 hours of sleep most nights?
  • How would you rate your stress management?
  • Do you limit alcohol and abstain from drugs?

Examples for goals and actions to focus on:
– Include more minimally processed, whole foods in your meals.
– Aim for at least 15 minutes of movement most days.
– Go to sleep 5-15 minutes earlier.

Spiritual

  • Do you have a way to establish a sense of peace in your life?
  • Do you have a set of guiding beliefs, principles and values that give meaning and purpose to your life outside of what you do?
  • Do you live in alignment with these values and beliefs?
  • How would you describe your relationship with God?

Examples for goals and actions to focus on:
– Carve out time each day for prayer and Bible reading.
– Memorize a verse or passage of Scripture every week.
– Spend a day sabbathing from work and productivity.
– Make an effort to attend church in person.

Social

  • Are you an active part of a supportive community, working to build and maintain relationships that add value to your life and to the lives of others?
  • Can you communicate your thoughts and feelings to loved ones, openly expressing vulnerability?
  • How would you rate your ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with family, friends or co-workers?

Examples for goals and actions to focus on:
– Ask a new acquaintance/friend to go on a walk.
– Join a club to connect with others.
– Send a letter to an old friend.
– Ask your co-workers about their day. Listen thoughtfully.

Emotional

  • Are you able to accept yourself without hatred or disdain?
  • How aware are you of your feelings?
  • How good are you at being able to identify, and manage, how you are feeling and why you feel that way?
  • Do you take responsibility for your actions?

Examples for goals and actions to focus on:
– Take 5 minutes at the end of the day to reflect on the thoughts and feelings you had.
– Think through your feelings, then ponder why you feel them.
– Extend grace to yourself.
– Read “Face Off With Your Feelings” by Jessica Hottle

Environmental

  • How aware are you of nature and your immediate surroundings?
  • What steps do you take to protect both the environment and yourself, as best as possible, from environmental hazards
  • How would you rate the level of cap you have for your home, car, clothing, and other resources?

Examples for goals and actions to focus on:
– Recycle
– Limit plastic use, use glass bottles and food containers
– Compost food scraps
– Limit exposure to toxic chemicals in beauty and cleaning supplies
– Shift from fast fashion trends to sustainable fashion pieces.

Vocational

  • What is the level of fulfillment and satisfaction you get from your current career path?
  • How could you improve your fulfillment or purpose?
  • How would you rate your work-life balance?
  • Are you able to nurture your talents and abilities in your current role?
  • How can you make a positive impact in your organization, job, or company regardless of your position or level of fulfillment?

Examples for goals and actions to focus on:
– Seek out opportunities that lead to satisfying work that uses your gifts
– Be open to change and learning new skills
– Create a 5 year vision for your career
– Give your work your 100% focus while you’re on the clock

Intellectual

  • Are you being positively challenged to grow and improve in some way?
  • Do you regularly engage in creatively or mentally stimulating activities
  • How often do you learn and apply new concepts, work to improve current skills, or seek out new challenges that promote growth?

Examples for goals and actions to focus on:
– Read books on subjects that challenge you to think
– Take a class on a new interest or hobby
– Start a new certification or continuing education course
– Seek out creative ways to use your talents and skills to serve others

Financial

  • Are you living within your means? If not, what part of your lifestyle could you change to do so?
  • Are you saving on a regular basis?
  • Do you have a budget you stick to?
  • Do you buy on impulse or take time to mull over purchases
  • Are you able to tithe and be generous with a portion of your income?

Examples for goals and actions to focus on:
– Audit spending each month to assess for areas of improvement
– Create a budget each month
– Read “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey
– Start saving and tithing — something > nothing!

Making Goals and New Years Resolutions Stick

So you’ve set a goal or some New Years resolutions you want to work towards, how BUT DO YOU GET THERE? And, how do you make it stick? How do you make that goal you’re striving for a regular thing in your normal day to day routine?

The answer is making it a habit. If you haven’t read Atomic Habits by James Clear, I highly recommend adding it to your list (I listened on audiobook through our local library!). Habits can work for or against us and our goals. Habits require little energy, which our brain loves. And can you believe that habits make up about 40% of our daily behaviors!! Is that crazy or what?! His website is a wealth of wisdom on the topic of habits — click HERE for a helpful post that you’d benefit from bookmarking and referencing throughout the year!

So if we have these old habits that don’t serve us, how do we change them?

To change a habit, you essentially have to create a new routine to rewire your brain: Keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine — as it is described in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg (another great book on habits).

I won’t go into great detail on the science behind habits because I’m not the expert and really their books are the best resource, however I do want to share my take and my encouragement on how to make goals and resolutions stick:

  • Break down the big goal into smaller actions: it’s likely that the overarching goal will be a bigger, more complex task that requires you taking several actions consistently over time. Break down the bigger goal (which is usually an OUTCOME we want) into smaller actions that you can work on forming into habits over time (these are the BEHAVIORS you can control). If you’re wanting to “eat healthier”, what does that mean to you? What actions will you have to take to get there? Focus on one action at a time, rather than throwing 10 new actions/habits into the mix. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Remind yourself “why”: having a solid motivation and “why” behind your desire for change is crucial. I talk about this in my ebook Simple Staples! Ground your motivation in something meaningful to you, something more than just being skinnier or fitting into your smaller jeans. Having a visual reminder (like a post it note or phone background) is helpful for many!
  • Connect the new habit/action to something you’re already doing: this is mentioned in Atomic Habits, but connecting what you want to do with something you’re already doing, makes it easier to form the habit into a lasting one that eventually becomes well, a habit.
  • Think along a continuum: this in and of itself will take a rewiring of your mind, especially if you err on the side of all or nothing thinking. Rather than thinking in extremes, think along a continuum. If you can’t do something to the full extent, what could you do even just a little bit, that would move you closer to your goal? Something > nothing. Leave all or nothing thinking behind. You get to choose how you think.
  • Start small and simple: overwhelming yourself with 10 different changes you want to make will almost always leave you feeling defeated. START SMALL AND SIMPLE. Consistency beats complexity — it’s better to be consistent with a simple task like drinking 80 oz of water a day, than it is to bend over backwards to drinks water AND fit in a 60 minute workout AND cook 3 meals a day AND start a new certification program all at once. Start small and stack these new habits up one at a time. Small, simple steps are sustainable. You know yourself, your lifestyle, your season of life best; it’s also important to keep these factors in mind as well.
  • Give yourself grace: is this the anthem of all I do here? Maybe! But I know when we live from a state of grace, we are more likely to reach our goals because we aren’t so hard on ourselves! We are HUMAN. That means we WILL mess up. You can either give yourself grace, or heap guilt upon yourself.
  • View failure as feedback: in the same vein as giving yourself grace, try viewing “failures” as an opportunity for feedback and growth. Something didn’t work out? Figure out why!! Was the task too daunting/big? Could it be broken down into something smaller that will eventually build up to a bigger task? Were you missing something that would’ve made it easier to carry out?

Check out the downloadable and printable Habit Tracker below to use as a resource to keep on track! I recommend devoting a color to eat habit and marking off each day with a checkmark in the designated color.

So, there you have it: how to set New Years resolutions using the eight dimensions of wellness. I hope this offers you a simplified, practical way to assess your life and set realistic, meaningful goals and resolutions in the months to come. Even if you don’t use it for New Years resolutions, I believe it’s a great way to run an audit on how you’re living your life. I would love to hear if you have any additional tips on making new habits stick!

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HEY THERE I'M CLARA

My biggest passion lies in helping people like you detach their worth from their wellness and learn how to steward their health in a way that is sustainable, enjoyable, and meaningful to them, so they can feel their best and run the race set before them.

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HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS MEMBERSHIP:

  • Download and/or print out the monthly topic-specific education guide. Schedule time to read through it (think of it like an appointment with yourself).
  • Be willing and ready to apply the information. Remember, we aren’t just absorbing information…we’re implementing that information to experience transformation. 
  • Show up to the group coaching call (or replay) as undistracted as possible, and with an open mind.
  • Confused? Ask questions!!

Remember: have FUN with this. Your health is a gif that you are meant to ENJOY, not feel enslaved to. If you aren’t having fun, it’s probably a good sign that you need to reassess your motives and where you’re placing your focus.

getting started:

  • Introduce yourself: on the community board, you’ll find a pinned post where you can introduce yourself and say hi to the group! Use the community board to post your questions, encouragements, takeaways from the trainings, or wins as well.
  • Find your resources: the monthly recipe collection, programmed workouts, and topic-specific education guide will all be located in that month’s portal/module. Download them, print them out, or save them to your phone for easy access at the start of the month. 
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  • Need support?: use the “contact Clara” button to send me an email.