Getting the best out of your New Year’s resolution—not the other way around

by Emily Downing

You’ve renewed the gym membership. You’ve broken out the blender in preparation for your morning smoothies. You’ve deleted social media apps and replaced them with audiobook subscriptions. You’ve purchased the journal that will become part of your nightly routine. 

These are all great first steps, but getting started on these personal goals can still feel overwhelming. What if we took a different approach this year by shifting our focus toward investing in our overall wellbeing? Because success isn’t measured by a number on the scale, a weekly screentime report or the number of journal entries you get in each month.

“Everyone approaches their own personal wellbeing differently,” said Laurie Mitchell, Unum’s assistant vice president of global wellbeing and health. “It is so important to take a holistic approach to our goals and to ensure that the goals we’re setting are tailored to our individual needs—not just what is trending on social media.”

At Unum, Mitchell leads the company’s efforts to make wellness work for busy professionals. “We’ve really woven employee wellbeing into the fabric of our culture. Not only is it just the right thing to do, but we know that when employees feel cared for, our workforce is ultimately more effective and productive.”

Unum encourages integrating healthy habits into the workday. Mini breaks, stretching and mindful eating are all steps that can have a big impact when built into an employee’s day. To help, Unum provides support and resources that make implementing these habits just a little easier. For example, Unum employees can take meetings from walking desks at all of the company’s home office locations, allowing folks to get their steps in while remaining engaged at work. Employees also have access to discounted healthy meals through the BeWell program. These meals can even be pre-purchased for dinnertime and can provide a convenient and nutritious dinner for up to four people!

“When people set their New Year’s resolution, more often than not, it is based in goals related to their physical health,” noted Mitchell. “While our physical health is incredibly important to our overall wellbeing, it is one part of a broader equation. We need to be equally cognizant of our emotional and mental wellbeing.”

When considering ways to improve and maintain your mental and emotional health, placing your focus on building sustainable resilience can be key to success. Some manageable suggestions include:

  • Work to recognize and develop an understanding of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. These conditions are common, but often feel isolating, so the ability to identify the signs and symptoms is a great first step toward addressing the associated challenges.
  • Set realistic and achievable mental health goals for yourself. Improvement can be something as simple as sending that introductory email to a counselor.
  • Prioritize self-care and create healthy coping mechanisms. Whether it is indulging in a skincare routine, getting more sleep or spending just ten minutes a day meditating, taking some time to slow down and invest in yourself can help you to reset and recenter.
  • Seek professional help when needed. You’re not in this alone. Sometimes we all need someone to talk to. It is important to recognize when you’re in need and reach out for support.

“While we measure success in the form of KPIs at the office, we need to refrain from putting that kind of pressure on ourselves when it comes to our health,” concluded Mitchell. “Don’t reduce your success to how well you’ve kept to the fad diet, how many gimmicky ‘must-haves’ you’ve purchased or the overwhelming pressure to be perfect. Remember, you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your wellbeing. Keep your eye on the prize: you and your happiness.”

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About Unum Group

Unum Group (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for 175 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2022, Unum reported revenues of about $12 billion and paid $8 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®. 

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