Hey wellness team! Welcome to blog post 5 of our new series on how to create an awesome wellness program at your company. By now you’ve:

  1. Gained an understanding that wellness is all about building a healthy culture, which means creating healthy habits at your organization
  2. Identified your company’s healthy and unhealthy habits
  3. Prioritized where you will focus on creating change
  4. Gotten input and buy-in from your employees and executive team to create a shared vision for wellness
  5. Committed wellness into your company’s core values

And now it’s time to put your plan in action. From my experience, 90% of wellness programs fail because companies bite off more than they can chew, and then do not stick with the plan long enough to see it through (yes, that rhymed). It’s very much like a new year’s resolution, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds this year and go to the gym everyday!”, and then at week 4, your gym membership card is just an annoying piece of plastic on your keychain that makes you feel guilty when you look at it. Culture shift doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t have to take drastic measures, either. What it does take is commitment to practicing the new habits. Here are three ways to start putting your plan into practice, now.

Start smart, not big.

Focusing on the few things that really matter will help lighten the feeling of having the world on your shoulders, and allow you to make a very manageable wellness plan. The beautiful thing about prioritizing where you want to start with is that you can feel very confident in the top 3 things making a meaningful impact. This focus also allows you to apply your budget more effectively on creating high quality impact, vs. a high quantity of un-lasting change. Equally as important: be realistic about how much you can manage as the creator of this culture. Audit how much time you can (and will!) commit to spreading this new practice, and then assume you'll actually have half as much time. Trust me on this. Creating something you yourself can commit to managing will be key for you as a leader of change at your organization.

Make a long term, recurring plan.

Remember, culture is all about consistent choices over time. How can we create a habit around these 3 new ways of being? It’s time to get real. Whatever habit it is you’re looking to build, bring it down from the clouds and put in on a calendar. Moreover, put it on the calendar at the same time, on the same day(s), as a recurring event for at least 90 days. As you are the catalyst for change here, it’s important that you commit to providing access to this augmented environment reliably. The second your wellness program waivers from what you've communicated to your team, your team will start waivering from their new habits, too. Commit your plan to a calendar.

Make the new habits seen and heard.

To be a catalyst for change in a company-wide level, you want to get your new habits seen and heard by everyone in the organization on a weekly if not daily basis. Some examples to help you get started are sending out a company-wide calendar invite for a 10 minute walk at 3pm each day to re-energize that slump with fresh air instead of a double espresso, or putting cut up fruit out in the kitchen every day in the afternoon to make it easier for people to make healthier food choices than the vending machine pretzels or leftover birthday cake.

Wellness is an active practice. The goal is to build an environment that instills healthy choices as the default way of being. By focusing on the few things that matter most, committing to them long term, and communicating support and enablement for these choices, you will give your company a really strong foundation for healthy culture change.