As 2023 comes to an end, many employees are contemplating New Year’s resolutions, and many companies are planning 2024 events for employee wellness initiatives to support those resolutions. We’ve blogged about this before, but here is food for thought on whether New Year’s resolutions should be promoted as part of your wellness initiatives.
Sure, healthy changes and adopting healthier habits are beneficial. But there are many concerns when making New Year’s Resolutions since the changes are often not realistic, AND often with expectations for a quick solution. This is often the case, isn’t it? Who doesn’t want a quick health habit miracle?! However, there is no such a thing!
If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Even though the research is inconsistent, all results indicate that New Year’s resolutions do not stick, and that the tradition should be stopped or at least the approach modified. Some studies found that only 10% of individuals maintain their resolutions after 6 months. A common cited study found that 43 percent stuck with resolutions three months out, and only 19 percent stuck with them for two years.
The bottom line is that making resolutions are usually not successful and that instead making, realistic, slow, and steady behavior changes are best. Otherwise, unsuccessful behavior change attempts can lead to feelings that are the opposite of wellness – a sense of failure, hopelessness, lower sense of well-being, and often the attempts actually backfire – resulting in an increase in unhealthy behaviors. The stress and disappointment are truly counterproductive!
What options are there for your 2024 wellness programming to consider instead? Below are a few Well-Being Themes to consider for your wellness initiatives:
- Plan initiatives to assist employees in making realistic behavior changes and adopting small steps towards their goals.
- Or better yet, assist employees in setting themes instead of resolutions such as ‘me’ time, making connections, life balance, mindfulness… the list is endless. Themes can be flexible, changing, and ever evolving!
- Coach employees to ditch the ‘shoulds’ and ‘have to’s’ and instead focus on Well-Being Themes based on heartfelt reasons or motivation.
- Consider and promote all dimensions of well-being in your program rather than focusing solely on physical health and health risks, for example social, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and financial well-being initiatives.
- Support individual behavior change through ongoing coaching and/or other individual preferred methods of support.
- Foster support groups or communities of practices for helping employees to make desired changes.
- Ban all diet weight loss programs from your future initiatives. Diets fail people and cause individuals to feel like failures leading to stress, discouragement, and low well-being. Research has consistently demonstrated that dieting does not lead to sustainable weight loss. Instead consider options that foster a healthy relationship with food that nourish the mind, spirit, and body leading to well-being!
- Eliminate all brief (12 weeks or less) fitness competitions – actually, ban competitions, period! Instead, create opportunities for year-round physical activity.
There are MANY options to consider in addition to these Themes suggestions instead of promoting New Year’s Resolutions! The possibilities are countless for well-being initiatives! There isn’t one right approach or an approach that meets every company’s needs. Consider the best fit for your program and company.
We are happy to discuss your ideas as you reflect on possibilities for 2024.