Set Goals for a Healthier New Year

It’s not a coincidence that the gyms are packed in January — nor that the crowds thin in February. When it comes to our health and wellness, there’s also no denying our history, past successes, or lack of progress. Striking an effective balance between measurable action and good intentions is a challenge we all face in our personal and professional lives. But it’s not as simple as just labeling people action oriented or procrastinators — we’re all busy chasing kids, dogs, paychecks and as many other pressing details as there are hours in the day.

But now it’s a new year, a clean slate, tabula rasa. Coming off a season where many of us indulge by overeating, running around and pushing our bodies to unhealthy places, it is the perfect time to make specific plans, set goals and execute strategies that will truly help improve our health. Those plans should include diet, exercise and restful sleep, but the components that can have the most long-term value are how we make it easy to pursue health, and how we measure and reward ourselves and others for progress.

Employers can take an active role in encouraging and supporting their workers’ health and wellness efforts. There’s no question that the benefits of good health extend to productivity, quality, service and teamwork on the job. Employees who are healthier typically get sick less often, are more focused and rested. By establishing goals and working with your employees in positive ways, employers are directly affecting their bottom line.

Here are some simple tips for supporting health and wellness activities at work.

  • Offer healthcare screenings in the workplace. Many local healthcare service providers, clinics and insurers will come into offices to measure items such as cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index. You also can arrange for flu-vaccination clinics, or address smoking-cessation, nutrition and other health and wellness initiatives.
  • Integrate the workplace in health-related activities. If employees are interested, establish a wellness committee and allow them to plan activities of interest to your workers. That could be inviting fitness or nutritional consultants to come speak during lunch or after work, bringing in yoga instructors, aerobic dance, fitness consultants or massage professionals. It also can include planning walks during the day, competitive sports after work, participating in charity events, and bringing healthy snacks, food and recipes into the office for sharing.
  • Set workplace-related goals. There’s power in sharing and collaboration. By setting team goals for weight loss, dietary changes, walking/exercise, smoking cessation and other commonly shared activities, employees can have fun, support one another, and think about health during the day. Offering simple rewards and incentives and publicly celebrating participation and successes builds teamwork and improves morale, as well.
  • Encourage healthcare education. Most large health benefits providers have extensive websites detailing healthcare actions, and offering guidance and useful information.
  • Join the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program. This valuable program is available to all CBIA Health Connections participants at no additional charge.

We’re all responsible for our own health and wellness. Employers can’t mandate health, but they certainly can support efforts and encourage their workers. By discussing and supporting personal efforts, getting involved, facilitating planning and rewarding for participation, each of us can make 2017 a healthier year.