Evelyn Sikorski does and explains all of it in this interview, along with information on our “Resolution Generator” — a fun way to set and keep your personal goals.

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Prefer to read the interview? Read the transcript below.

UVM Medical Center: I’m betting that everyone listening to me right now has set a goal to either lose weight or exercise more or do something else to improve your health and happiness. There are other elements that experts say should be in the mix when making your resolutions, including your career, your finances, and social life. One of those experts is with us today to go through what are called the five dimensions of well-being and also talk about a fun, interactive way to get started on your goals and stay on track that we’re offering at the UVM Medical Center. She is Evelyn Sikorski, manager of Health Management and the Employee and Family Assistance Program at the Medical Center. It’s great to have you back.

Evelyn Sikorski: Nice to be here, thanks.

UVM Medical Center: What are the categories?

Evelyn Sikorski: The five essential elements of well-being, as we call them, are community well-being, physical well-being, financial, social and career well-being.

UVM Medical Center: Let’s take career first.

Evelyn Sikorski: Career well-being really talks about how you occupy your day, what you simply like doing. It’s really important. As we all know, if you get up in the morning and you’re really passionate about the work you do, even though there might be things in your day that you don’t like to do, which is pretty common for all of us, but if you really feel like you’re on task with your job and you’re feeling like you’re contributing, the sense of well-being in that, in your career life, really makes a big difference to the energy that you have and the productivity that you bring to your job. Showing up positive and optimistic is all within the career well-being dimension.

UVM Medical Center: What are some other things that are part of that mix?

Evelyn Sikorski: I think that every day if you can work from your strengths, the things that you really are passionate for doing, then sometimes the salty stuff that you have to do during the day that you don’t like are softened by that. Networking with people, talking with your manager about things that you need to improve your job, resources that might help you. Also, branching out I guess. Networking with others, looking at career opportunities. More important is the simple things like reading articles, sharing ideas with your coworkers. Don’t let your ideas sit dormant. Share them. Try to build on them. Be involved in your workplace. Those types of things really create and bolster good well-being.

UVM Medical Center: A lot of companies have professional development opportunities, other things that you can take advantage of. I also think it’s helpful to have some kind of strategy to go to a manager and say, “Hey, I’m interested in doing something a little different, adding something to my job.”, and figuring out how to do that.

Evelyn Sikorski: Absolutely. If you don’t speak up … Assertiveness on the job is important. Being able to say no and delegating are all key things. The most important thing is really enjoying and liking what you do every day. Sometimes you just have to sit with yourself and say, “What would make me like what I do every day? How can I improve that?” That’s what you can do to do some more balancing with your well-being.

UVM Medical Center: Another area that people, as I said making resolutions, don’t always think of first is community.

Evelyn Sikorski: Well, this is your sense of engagement, how you’re connected with the broader community that you live in. Certainly starting with boosting your own career well-being, opting to get involved locally, doing some volunteering, maybe taking on a dinner or lunch for an elderly person living in the area. These kinds of things don’t have to be documented by someone. It could be something really small. It can be as simple as getting to know a neighbor, helping out when someone’s kind of down, maybe walking someone’s dog when they’re ill or broke their foot. That’s all kinds of things that people can do to just feel a part of a larger community. As we know, we all need help at some point in our lives. That help will be there for you in turn. That’s community well-being.

UVM Medical Center: People feel good when they’re helping other people.

Evelyn Sikorski: It’s true. It really bolsters that strength within ourselves to do other things for other people, and then it comes back to us in great ways.

UVM Medical Center: Another one is financial. I suppose some New Year’s resolutions people say, “I want to make more money.” Talk about what’s involved there.

Evelyn Sikorski: It really is about effectively managing your economic life and the decisions that you make around money. Around this time we’ve probably all at some time overspent. We’ve done a lot of overeating, over everything. It’s a good time to really step back and to make a budget or a plan. There’s a lot of really great tools online. The credit unions or banks have a lot of information around how to budget. Really to boost your financial well-being, get some sort of a default system that really lessons that burden around payment and money. Try to get things to be done automatic so that you don’t have late fees. Work with your financial institution to save, to look at mortgage rates. Look at ways that you can save and get ahead in the new year. Sometimes these are really small changes. Talking with your HR benefits people about what’s offered. Taking advantage of what’s being offered.

UVM Medical Center: Yeah, that’s right. A lot of people don’t remember all of the things a company will offer. I know at the Medical Center there’s such a long list of discounts and reimbursement and so forth and so on, even for learning.

Evelyn Sikorski: Yes, absolutely. The whole network has plenty of opportunities to save. If a person can do one simple thing of reviewing your paycheck every payroll period to make sure it’s correct and the deductions are correct really can save you money. Even though systems are in place, things do go awry. You find money.

UVM Medical Center: There’s a theme developing here that it can be small things. It doesn’t mean you have to join five boards. You can go deliver a meal to a neighbor, as you said.

Evelyn Sikorski: Exactly. You know Michael, one of the things I just want to mention before we get to the last two components is that these things work together to create better balance. For instance, in your career well-being you might say, “Geez, I’d really like to improve my career well-being,” and then you start volunteering, just say at the Boys and Girls Club, just as an example, or at the Y or you’re delivering Meals on Wheels. Then all of a sudden you start realizing like, “Wow, I really like to do this kind of work.” So career and community kind of brings you to a whole new idea around what makes you be present and happy in your life. These dimensions really work together, so not necessarily separate.

UVM Medical Center: You’re listening to Evelyn Sikorski, manager of Health Management and the Employee and Family Assistance Program at the University of Vermont Medical Center. She’s here today to talk about the five dimensions of well-being, maybe expanding your idea of what constitutes elements of health and happiness in your life. We’re also going to be talking pretty soon about the resolution generator, which is a fun, interactive way we’ve developed here at the UVM Medical Center to help people get started on their goals and stay on track. We’ve gone through three. We have social and physical left. Let’s take social.

Evelyn Sikorski: Social is really around the relationships in your life, the people in your life, having positive, optimistic people that you enjoy being with. Also bolstering family ties if that works for people. This dimension of well-being really works well with strengthening your network of support and mixing it up with the social tie and say, as you do, physical activity events or volunteering. Those things are very social and it’s fun to do with other people.

UVM Medical Center: The interconnectedness is there again, as you were talking about.

Evelyn Sikorski: Exactly.

UVM Medical Center: Yeah. What about people who have a hard time getting started, initiating social stuff? Do you have tips for them?

Evelyn Sikorski: We all have hesitation with putting ourselves out there. We all know that there are meetup groups and things, that you can certainly find folks who like to do similar things in the community. I would suggest that volunteering is a great way. It’s also a great way at work if there’s a coworker to go for a walk with. Look at some levels of risk around asking someone to do something. If you’re a low-risk person and you work with someone and you know they go to the gym or to a yoga class or they’re going to a movie, asking to tag along might not be that big of a risk.

It’s a bigger risk when you might be going to a class for the first time and going yourself. These are kinds of things that you have to take a leap of faith I guess and have confidence in yourself, that most people are accepting. Most people want others to be successful. If you put that in your mind when you try to get social with others it’s easier than to say, “Oh my gosh, if I say hello I’ll be rejected.”, because most people will not be that way in my experience and in my reading. How about you? Do you feel that way?

UVM Medical Center: I don’t answer questions, I ask them. Let’s quickly touch on the physical. I think people are pretty common with this so we don’t need to spend a lot of time on it.

Evelyn Sikorski: Yes. Just about energy Michael, physical well-being is about having the energy that you want to do the things that you want to do to lead a quality lifestyle. These are things like being active, eating healthy, moderation of things that we know, like sugar and alcohol and tobacco. No tobacco at all. Just overall, eat, moving and sleeping adequately. That’s that dimension.

UVM Medical Center: What I want to do now is get up, go over to your computer because we want to spend some time talking about this resolution generator.

Evelyn Sikorski: Okay.

UVM Medical Center: It’s very interactive, very colorful. It sort of has a casual or informal feel to it.

Evelyn Sikorski: Do you want me to bring it up?

UVM Medical Center: Yeah, why don’t you go ahead and bring it up on your computer. Let me tell you while she’s doing that that here’s how you find the resolution generator. You can go to our website, which is uvmhealth.org/medcenter, and right at the top of the page you’ll see information on it, or you can also go to our Facebook page. It’s designed to help you get motivated a little bit. It gives you a lot of choices in these different dimensions that we’re talking about and asks you to make some kind of a commitment. Here we are. You pulled it up. Describe what you’re seeing here.

Evelyn Sikorski: There’s a very colorful screen and in the middle it says discover the five dimensions of well-being. We’re asking you to click on that. It’s be just a brief summary of the five dimensions that I’ve somewhat detailed in this interview. What you would do is you would watch that little video, and then you would select one of the areas that you would like to generate.

UVM Medical Center: Why don’t you select career.

Evelyn Sikorski: I’ll select career and you generate.

UVM Medical Center: Big button that says generate.

Evelyn Sikorski: It says I’ll broaden my network in real life. Sorry LinkedIn.

UVM Medical Center: There’s a picture of barn animals, so that’s about expanding your network. It is kind of fun.

Evelyn Sikorski: Yeah, it’s really cute. Underneath it has a citation of an article that proves the fact that if you broaden your network it can definitely enhance your career well-being. There’s a lot of learning, a lot of fun and the graphics are really terrific. If you want to you could commit to that and press commit, or if that one you feel like that’s going okay you can try it again. If you try it again it generates another resolution, so I’ll get certified in my field. Corner office here I come.

UVM Medical Center: Right. I have to say the animal theme here is pretty interesting. You can see turtles. There’s monkeys. There’s crabs. There’s the barn animals.

Evelyn Sikorski: There’s giraffes.

UVM Medical Center: You can learn a lot about nature.

Evelyn Sikorski: You can. You can. Then you commit. I’ll commit to that one. This really great confetti comes up, and then it says share your resolution. Most important they’re giving away some really great gift cards so you’ll be entering your name and zip code and your email and then you press enter. What happens then is you receive an email and you’re not off the hook with this one. The generator will generate an email and check in with you and give you some positive advice about staying on track.

UVM Medical Center: That’s kind of interesting.

Evelyn Sikorski: Yeah.

UVM Medical Center: You’re getting little nudges from your computer.

Evelyn Sikorski: Little notes, yeah.

UVM Medical Center: Another reason to love your computer.

Evelyn Sikorski: I know. It’s great. I’ve talked with a lot of people. We’ve gotten a lot of hits on this already. I think that the fun, but the seriousness, of actually making some of these changes, it’s a really great reminder and a great way to share your resolution as well with other people. I’ve done that and a lot of people are commenting and we’re going back and forth with people. Lots of fun and encouraging people to do it.

UVM Medical Center: Your resolution is to not do anymore radio interviews, right?

Evelyn Sikorski: Yes.

UVM Medical Center: Well Evelyn Sikorski, this has been great. I hope you folks have learned a lot about the five dimensions of well-being and our resolution generator. Again, you can find that by going to uvmhealth.org/medcenter. Right at the top of the page you’ll see information on the resolution generator, and you can also go to our Facebook page. Evelyn Sikorski is manager of Health Management and the Employee and Family Assistance Program at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Great pleasure to have you with us.

Evelyn Sikorski: Thank you very much.

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