Prioritizing what actions to take will make your wellness program 90% more successful.

There is always so much to do, and no matter how much you complete at the end of the evening, it never feels fully “done.” It's a feeling of overwhelm, of not having enough help, of having more to do than anyone could even realize. It’s a very stressful state to be in. So no wonder when initiating the company’s wellness program got put on your plate, you thought, “Oh my gosh, how will I do this, too? I need more time! I need a bigger budget! I need a bigger team!!”

 

 

Yes, all of those things sound wonderful, and I hope you get them!

But let’s pretend that even as your boss has heard your case, and reinforcements may be on the way, for now, it’s just you and I. You are not going to be given more time, more budget, or a bigger team. We’ve got to figure this out with the limited time and resources you currently have. This means, we’ve got to be really, really, smart about what we do. Therefore the most critical component in making your wellness program successful, (in addition to knowing that it must be rooted in culture change), is prioritizing.

Let’s prioritize what you create within your wellness program so that you spend your time and money as effectively as possible. This exercise will take 20 minutes, and is vital for success.

Here is how to do it:

In blog post #1, “One secret that trumps all”, your homework was to write out a list of the healthy and unhealthy habits that exist at your company. (If you haven’t read or done the 15 minute homework from post #1 in this series, I recommend you pause here and go. It’s step 1 in creating your wellness program). We are now going to prioritize your list, and get you ready for action. There are two steps:

Order the unhealthy habits into a ranked list.

Let’s start with the unhealthy habits list. Take the list, and rank each item based on how detrimental the habit is to the well-being of your team. Use a scale from 1-10, 1 being barely, and 10 being extremely detrimental. Try not to have anything rank in a tie on your list. You want each habit to be ranked with it’s own number,  in relation to one another. At the end, each item on the list should have a number assigned to it. If your list is longer than 10, by all means rank the full list! Now take a new piece of paper and fold it into two columns length-wise. Re-write the bad habits list on the left side of the paper in the order of most detrimental to least (highest numbers first). Ah. Now, we know where to focus. The top of the list. But wait, there’s more!

Re-frame the unhealthy habits to uncover healthy opportunity.

Now, in order for this list to become actionable, we are going to re-frame those unhealthy habits into habits that you’d rather have in their place. Here's why. In order for our focus to be successful, we must think of the things we want to be doing, rather than what we don't want to be doing. The reason for this is that the brain does not understand the words “no”, and “not”. It’s fascinating, actually. When you say to yourself, “I don’t want to be late”, your mind is picturing the exact thing you don’t want to create--it sees you being late. And the thing is, your mind cannot tell that you don’t want to create it. It just sees a vision, and gets to work making it a reality.

Wow, thoughts are powerful, huh.

So let’s be intentional with what you’re creating. Instead of taking that list of unhealthy habits and broadcasting that "We must stop working until 8pm!”, let’s intentionally envision what we want to happen instead. Because as you now know, your mind will create what it sees. Here’s a simple example of re-framing in everyday life: Whenever I tell myself, “I don’t want to be late!”, I am usually at least 10 minutes late. Using the above principle, if I re-frame that thought to, “I can’t wait to be on time!”, I magically find ways to get to my destination on time. It feels quite effortless, too. It’s a beautiful life hack.

Now, let’s get to work re-framing your company culture. What do you wish you and your team was doing instead of those unhealthy habits? Here are some examples:

 

Original habit: “We eat a lot of sweets throughout the day”

Re-framed: “We cut up fresh fruit for snacks throughout the day.”

 

Original habit: “We usually work through lunch.”

Re-framed: “We value lunch time as an opportunity to unplug and connect face to face.”

 

Integrate this new list with the list of good behaviors you’ve already identified.

While creating new habits is wonderful, we also want to honor and hone the healthy habits you already have because those are currently your biggest asset. So, let’s go back to the original list you made from blog post #1 and look at the healthy behaviors you listed. Rank those behaviors in order of most impactful, to least impactful,  just as you did with the unhealthy list. Once you’ve re-ordered the list, get a clean sheet of paper ready.

Okay, we're getting close to finished! Now, take this existing list, along with the list recently “re-framed” unhealthy behaviors, and rank them altogether into ONE master list. All of the items on this list should be healthy behaviors. After you rank them, you’ll have the most impactful healthy behaviors at the top.

You now have a treasure map for wellness at your company: where to start, and why. You don’t have to do it all, you just have to show up for what matters. Thank you for showing up this week.


Stay tuned for next Wednesday's post, where we’ll start making your most impactful changes a reality.