By Lorna Fitzpatrick

Try as we may to maintain a healthy lifestyle by staying active and eating right, we are human. We skip workouts. We snack. We are tempted by the fast-food restaurants on every corner. Our stationary bikes make wonderful sweater racks, and our colorful jogging shoes default to just being hip fashion statements. But, given the realities of our fast-paced world, we should never give up trying to live healthier and more fulfilling lives. This year, I recommend seeking progress, rather than perfection, with your New Year’s resolutions.

Optimal health results when we balance and integrate the six elements of wellness. These six elements include career, social, community, financial, emotional, and physical wellness. Each represents one aspect of our life, and together they form the foundation of who we are. Here are some ideas for enhancing each wellness element in your life to become the person you ideally want to be.

Career: Exercise your mind by taking an interesting class through your school district’s continuing education program or from your local community college. Tuition is very affordable, and many classes are offered online. Select a topic to help your career, or just to increase your knowledge base.

Social: Push beyond your comfort zone to find a group of people who share a common interest, such as a book club or beginner class in yoga or tai chi. Focus on the social, rather than the strenuous.

Community: Seek out where you can offer your services as a volunteer. Even volunteering a few hours a week or month can make a difference in someone’s life, including your own!

Financial: Organize your finances and records with the help of a financial advisor or money coach. Work toward paying off a credit card, saving for a bucket list vacation, or building a rainy-day fund.

Emotional: Commit to being a better friend by proactively reaching out to others instead of waiting for a call. Get together for lunch or to watch a game. Friendship fosters a support system.

Physical: Find a reason to go for a walk. Tag along with a neighbor who is always out with her dog, or hit every aisle at the grocery store to get in the steps. Food shopping is a great social environment, and you’re sure to see someone you know, such as a neighbor, someone from work or church, or an old friend you haven’t seen in years.

When you try any of these suggestions in the new year, or any resolutions you’ve made, resist the urge to seek perfection because you’ll just set yourself up for failure. Instead, seek progress toward living a healthier and more well-rounded life. After all, we are only human.

Lorna Fitzpatrick, MD is vice president of medical affairs and senior medical director at Univera Healthcare.