The top takeaway from the Covid-19 pandemic is that we need to prioritize our overall wellbeing to survive a life-changing crisis. A survey in the US found that despite the closure of gyms during the pandemic, “65 percent of respondents stated that they were spending more time focusing on their own health and fitness.”
The importance of one’s mental, social, and financial wellbeing was also an issue as isolation and medical emergencies took their toll on many people. Now that we’re back to normal, FWD Life Insurance’s Press play campaign is encouraging people to continue, pursue once more, and grab every opportunity to work on their overall wellbeing—physical, mental, financial and social—and make it a priority.
This means all aspects of our lives must be taken care of, and having such goals can give us a sense of control, enjoyment, and purpose. Here are 5 proven approaches to help you press play on your wellbeing targets.
Whatever your targets are, “goal setting is the process by which one identifies specific goals and determines how they will be achieved,” according to the NIH National Library of Medicine. Make your action plan part of your daily routine, like starting a practical schedule to exercise, skipping expensive coffee or drinks, allotting time to be with friends and family, and meditating.
Is there a psychological difference between approach and avoidance? Between telling yourself you’re “not going to eat junk food” and you’re “going to eat a healthy snack”? What about you’re “not going to buy a designer bag” and you’re “going to save money for travel”?
Although the goal is the same (to eat healthy in the former and to save money for a purpose in the latter), NIH says “different cognitive and emotional processes are involved. Approach goals are associated with greater positive emotions, thoughts, self-evaluations and greater psychological wellbeing. In contrast, avoidance goals are associated with fewer positive thoughts and greater negative emotions. Given these findings, setting approach goals may be more helpful than setting avoidance goals for helping patients change their health behaviors.”
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Don’t be vague about your goals—be specific about the what, why and how. Make your action plan measurable, like walking 5 kilometers a day or saving 20% of your salary. If your goal is to lose weight, 10 lbs. in a week may be unrealistic and unattainable without starving yourself. If your goal is to save money, be realistic between your needs and wants. Remember, the goal is overall wellbeing. Lastly, set a target date to achieve your goals and work on them each day and each week until your deadline.
Psychologists have demonstrated that you have better chances at succeeding when your goals are difficult. Forbes explains that psychologists Edwin Locke and Gary Latham did studies involving more than 40,000 subjects and “provided conclusive validation that people who set or are given difficult specific goals achieve much greater performance levels than people who are given or set weaker goals that send a message of ‘just do your best.’” Set your goals high!
Fit and healthy people make it look easy: walking, running, doing yoga, eating healthy food. If you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle for years, start slow and pick up when your body gets used to it. Consult your doctor before doing anything strenuous or a nutritionist should you want to change your diet radically.
Wealthy people make it look easy—but behind them were years of saving, sacrificing and delaying gratification. People who are mentally healthy didn’t get to that state overnight either—mental discipline, changing one’s perspective on life and everyday affirmations play a role in strengthening one’s mental health too.