This post was originally shared on AllWays Health Partners' provider blog, Best Practice.
With the start of a new year, we were curious about what members felt were the most critical areas to focus on in 2021. So, we surveyed members via our online community to see what they want to prioritize in the New Year.
Physical health is a top priority
Two-thirds of those who responded chose physical health as their top resolution to focus on in 2021. All-around, most people are focused on physical health as we still battle COVID-19 and the fact that a strengthened immune system can't hurt against the coronavirus.
What's more interesting is that when we break down the response by age bracket, Gen X are slightly more likely to choose physical health as their top priority than other generational segments. Labeled as the "sandwich generation," this could be because Gen X is known for taking care of both their kids and aging parents, which is why they may feel the most pressure in terms of physical health.
We dug a little deeper and asked our online community what specific goals they had for the new year. Overall, 76% of surveyed respondents ranked exercising more and increasing activity as their first goal—and more than half of respondents chose losing weight as their second. These were followed by:
- Going outside more to appreciate nature
- Improving my diet
- Improving my quality of sleep
- Taking time each day to disconnect, pause and reflect
- Managing stressful situations more effectively
- Spending less time on social media platforms
- Going to bed earlier
- Spending less time on mobile devices
Millennials are focused on Mental Health
Our respondents chose Mental Health as their second priority. This finding aligns with a recent poll by Gallup that found, "Americans' latest assessment of their mental health is worse than it has been at any point in the last two decades… 34% say their mental health is excellent, down from 43% in 2019."
While mental health follows as a close second overall, for Millennials mental health is just as important as physical health. Pew Research Center found that Millennials tend to have higher rates of depression than other generations. This was an issue before the pandemic, so COVID-19, self-isolation, and social distancing only exacerbated the problem. One silver-lining: Millennials have impacted the way employers treat mental health and the accompanying resources they offer to employees. Millennials suggest that they are more likely to focus on being outside and spending less time on social media and devices to prioritize their mental health. Millennials seem more motivated than their counterparts in terms of goal setting—citing finances, relationships, and career to round out their top five.
The theme for 2021: hope and opportunity
Overall, our members express hope and opportunity for 2021. When we asked what members were most excited about in 2021, we saw reoccurring themes throughout the open-ended responses. Here are just a few:
- A fresh start to a new year. Hopefully a more positive year to the world.
- A vaccination!
- Becoming a healthier version of myself
- Hopefully applying some of the "slow down" practices I learned in 2020
- I can't wait to be able to hug my family and friends!
- The prospect of going back to normal; with kids able to resume activities and not worrying about getting sick.
- There are so many possibilities open in 2021! After this crazy year, we have reprioritized so much and the most important things have risen to the surface. Soon it will be time to completely put those priorities into action. The possibilities are endless!
*For reference, Millennials are anyone born from 1980-1994, Gen X are anyone born from 1965-1979, and Boomers are anyone born from 1946-1964.