For years I watched a colleague struggle with her attempts to quit tobacco. She would quit for months at a time, then relapse – going back to smoking as much as she was before she quit. Earlier this year, I noticed something about her that seemed different. When I inquired, she said “I finally did it. I quit smoking six months ago.” What I was noticing about her was her sense of accomplishment on achieving this goal.
For many people, adopting a new health behavior can be life changing. And it is something that they often want to tell the world about. Whether it is quitting tobacco, running your first 5K, participating in a charity walk/run with a group of colleagues or losing weight. Worksite wellness programs have an opportunity to use these stories to accomplish two purposes.
The first is to use this as a recognition opportunity for the individual that accomplished the goal. This provides them with the opportunity to be a role model for others and provide recognition for their personal accomplishment.
The second is to encourage others in the organization to work toward a goal of their own. When they see someone they know accomplish a goal, it can make their own goals feel more achievable. It can also be contagious. The worksite wellness program can help foster a sense of belonging by making employees feel part of something that is tied to the cultural norms of the organization. Create a ‘wall of fame’ with photos of those individuals who have achieved and sustained a new health behavior, such as quitting tobacco.
Look for success stories from individuals in your organization and make a practice of publishing these stories as part of your marketing and promotion for your worksite wellness program. Sharing successes can go a long way for your employees and your organization.