Sustainability in 2017
by Christopher Piemonte, Fitness & Wellness Specialist
As January 2017 quickly comes to an end, so too does the time for gathering a list of resolutions. For many, those resolutions are centered on bettering one’s self – particularly from a health perspective.
Deciding to be healthier is difficult, but actually doing it is a feat entirely of its own. The list of things that can derail a health change is never-ending, so it’s important that each individual is given as much support as possible.
Most people spend a big portion of their time at work – 2,080 hours a year in a typical 40-hour work week – which means that companies play a large role in the health of those they employ. This is a responsibility that, when taken seriously, can greatly impact people’s lives for the better.
One of the most important things an organization can stress to its employees attempting to be healthier is something you’d probably expect to hear more in the financial department – sustainability.
Sustainability might be the least-obvious health topic to bring up, but it’s equally as important as its counterparts.
It’s the same as promoting a good work-life balance, as too much of a good thing can make it a bad thing. If someone works too many hours in a short period of time, it will usually result in less production over the long-haul.
The same goes for health changes.
If someone attempts to overhaul how they eat and how much they exercise all at once, odds are they won’t be able to keep it up. That’s why we tend to see gym attendance take a dive once February rolls around.
So how can we save our employees from themselves? Promote making small, sustainable choices.
Notice how this whole time I’ve been saying things like, “healthier” and “better health.” This is because, in my experiences, I’ve noticed one major flaw in health resolutions. People have the misconception that they have to eat as best as they possibly can and have the best exercise plan they can get right from the start.
This is a big mistake and it’s something that companies can address within their organization.
Typically we see better results when new changes are slowly introduced. This can be as little as changing portion sizes before changing what you eat, cutting out soda, or going for a 15 minute walk. Introducing better choices and allowing yourself to adjust before moving to the next choice is how you build sustainable improvements.
To help drive this point home, we can couple it with a more business-oriented example.
We know that investing money is an important step for our financial health when we get older. Investing money is a good thing, but investing too much can be bad. We wouldn’t put all the money we have left over after our expenses into an investment because we know that things in life come up and we need room for unforeseen events.
Instead, what we do is put aside small amounts bit by bit, adding more as we progress, and let it grow over time until we’re the proud owner a healthy account.
Using analogies like the one above can be a useful tool when trying to ignite proper change in people. If you can talk to individuals in their language, so to speak, it can really help to put things in perspective.
This puts organizations in a very powerful position moving forward, as they have more insight than anyone on what speaks to their employees.
The best part about a company getting its employees to buy into sustainable health changes is that it’s mutually beneficial. The healthier people get, the happier and more productive they are; and the longer they stay that way, the longer both sides benefit.
As we head into February, join us in encouraging those around us to stay focused on their health resolutions by providing simple and sustainable opportunities for healthy in 2017.