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New Year's resolutions = Perfect way to talk up wellness programs

We’re the first to admit it is a little clichéd. But the New Year—with all the promises people make to themselves to live better and be healthier—can be the perfect way to start an ongoing conversation with your employees and their families.

Promote the ways your wellness and health programs can help support people’s resolutions:

  • Lose weight. The numbers don’t lie. As a nation, we’re fatter than ever before. Do you offer weight-loss support programs or benefits? Talk them up. If you don’t, consider adding those programs to your list for 2012.
  • Start (or keep) exercising. If you have fitness membership discounts, activity incentives or walking/running programs, promote ‘em! If your health plan providers offer these types of perks, remind employees. These programs and benefits can go a long way toward helping people get the 30 minutes of moderate activity five times per week recommended by the American Heart Association.
  • Stress less. Stress is linked to major health problems like heart disease, obesity, depression, sleep issues and digestive issues. Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a great resource to help manage stress and make referrals to qualified professionals your employees may need. Encouraging folks to do the things that help relieve stress—like actually taking lunch away from our desk or taking a short walk in the afternoon—is also a good idea. Sharing tips like the ones TLNT recently posted can give employees a place to start.
  • Save more. The 401(k) is still one of the best deals in town—especially if your company provides a match. Be sure to promote the importance of contributing, and encourage employees who may have scaled back contributions to ramp them up. Remember, you need to get ahead of the 401(k) fee disclosures and make sure employees understand the value of this plan.
  • Sleep more. As a nation, we are sleep deprived. Only 7 percent of people get eight hours of sleep a night. We love Arianna Huffington’s TED talk about the power of a good night’s sleep—and how we can sleep our way to increased productivity, happiness and smarter decision-making. You may not be tucking any employees in at night, but you can promote the EAP for stress relief and exercise and good eating—all of which help people sleep better.
  • Eat better. The old adage is true: we are what we eat. And, after the holiday season, eating better is on the top of many New Year’s resolutions. You can make this easier by putting healthier options in your cafeterias and vending machines or offering healthy cooking seminars. You can also share tips for making healthier food choices, like the ones available on www.choosemyplate.gov.

So, what are you waiting for? Read more about how to make your New Year’s resolutions messages resonate with your team.

P.S. My New Year’s resolution is to sleep more, sit less and eat well. And I plan on taking advantage of all the perks and benefits my company offers to help me.

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