What are the real drivers of healthy habits? It’s definitely not a lack of information. Pretty much everyone knows junk food is bad and exercise is good. Does that knowledge drive them to eat less junk food and exercise more? With the rise of the world wide web, most citizens of the first world have access to information all day, every day. There are hundreds of websites dedicated to every topic imaginable from every point of view or perspective. Everyone has access to gobs of health information, yet it is still hard for most people to achieve their wellness goals. Still, many companies look to content based wellness programs such as newsletters and content-filled website. Sometimes it’s because they are easy to implement additions or very low cost. However, these content based wellness programs are a waste of human resources since they don’t yield real results.
What’s the problem?
A program that focuses on wellness content and information doesn’t yield high participation. Many people read the first few newsletters or bulletins and then stop paying attention after a month or two. There’s just nothing to draw them to keep reading. When they have questions about a topic, they just Google it…they don’t search your wellness blog/portal.
How to Fix it
Put the focus on action. Give a small, bite sized, piece of information and then use actionable challenges as drivers to get people to take action. Most habit experts agree that the key to creating successful habits is to start with a very tiny goal or challenge, that doesn’t require a lot of willpower to undertake. Companies wanting to create an effective wellness program should keep in mind this principle. How many jumping jacks can someone do in a minute? Can employees do one proper pushup a day? This can be in the office, or outside the office. Create a call to (a very tiny) action to get real engagement.
That’s not to say that content isn’t important. Include bite sized information in your wellness program that is easy to internalize. We’ve listed some ideas of small challenges and quick facts to show you what we mean:
- Eating whole fruit is much more nutritious than drinking fruit juice because it has all that wonderful fiber content! See if you can eat one piece of fruit a day, and notice the difference it makes.
- Walking is a great exercise that’s easy on your spine and joints. Most smart phones track your steps these days, can you get at least a mile in?
- The benefits of sleep are innumerable! How many days in a row can you get at least 7 hours of sleep?
We take this principle to heart in our challenge product. Every challenge we create utilizes content to drive employees to action. The challenge is not about learning the content, it’s about completing the actions and starting to form a habit. Ask us how you can use behavioral science to motivate employees even further!