A New Year; A New You: Make your Mental Health a Priority as HR Practitioners

This is the time of year when we start planning to once again declare our commitment to achieving our goals.  Whether it’s to retire, implement new HR programs, or get healthy, we always approach the new year with vim and vigor only to become a statistic of those that start the year with hopeful resolutions that are rarely completed.

As human resources (HR) practitioners, we are expected to be all things to all people, which can be overwhelming at times. And we often set goals meant to serve others, i.e., employees, stakeholders, and boards. And while important and necessary, the key to successfully realizing departmental and organizational goals is taking time to prioritize your own self-care and mental health first.   

Did you know that while New Year’s resolutions are made with great enthusiasm and promise, that over time there is a decline in their success? According to Discover Happy Habits, of those who make New Year's resolutions, after one week 75% are still successful in keeping them. By six months, less than half of the people are still keeping them.

You can avoid the glitch of becoming a statistic by ditching the tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Don’t let the success of your goals get sabotaged by the hype of resolutions.  You have a better chance at achieving your goals when you are intentional about charting your journey based on your own values and needs, not societal pressures.  This process certainly includes carefully setting SMART goals: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and right for you and with a timeframe. Your goals are attainable when you choose to invest in yourself.

Each day that you wake up, you have the opportunity to build on the day before. Ask yourself: Are you better today than you were the day before? 

We offer you five tips to avoid the glitch of becoming a statistic and to move away from goal-setting as an annual event, to more of a mindful event for living in a positive place daily:

  1. Recite a daily affirmation or mantra: Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, clasp your hands over your heart and repeat an affirmation or mantra as you breathe in and out.  For example, “I am here. I am loved. I am whole.” Or, “I embrace my greatness.” Positive affirmations and mantras offer inspiration to motivate your daily intentions.
  2. Commit to a daily MHO or mental health outlet: Carve out time for you and protect that space. For example, take a walk while listening to music, work out at your local gym or read a book. This carve-out is necessary to protect your mental health and peace. It signifies a commitment to honor and value you.
  3. Commit to making #iChoice:  Avoid making decisions based on emotion, fear, and others' expectations. Instead, make intelligent, intentional, inspired, individual choices that advance your goals.  Understand that the decisions you make are directly linked to the outcomes you experience. 
  4. Track your progress through journaling:  Goals shouldn’t just live on paper; they must breathe life through action.  Accountability is key when goals are set. It’s important to visibly see your progress, milestones, and what’s yet to be completed. Life happens. It’s natural to adjust goals along the way so don’t feel defeated if you have to course-correct.
  5. Celebrate: As you accomplish your goals, celebrate yourself. There’s no greater satisfaction than when you can check off an accomplished achievement. But, also, celebrate daily wins. For example, completion of a daily walk. Goals don’t have to be large and lofty. Small steps, daily, get you much closer to accomplishing your goals.

When you are renewed and reinvigorated personally, you have a greater opportunity to be more effective as an HR practitioner. Because you can’t be of service to others if you are not well.

It’s easy to find ourselves waking up every day in service to others – an employer, partner, child(ren), spouse. This can become a distraction to self-care and to accomplishing goals.  However, following these simple steps will not only prepare you for a new year, but it will allow you to live your best life each and every day without the pressure of New Year’s resolutions. Therefore, making you a better version of yourself one small step at a time.

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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