Yesterday I worked out of our Fall River site, which may sound like a pain because it’s a much longer commute from the Boston area, but I don’t mind it because it’s a nice excuse to see my family that lives down there. After my work day, I met up with Papou and Auntie Paula at the new Jerry Remy’s.
I ordered a delicious summer berry salad to start. I haven’t had poppyseed dressing in so long! I also enjoyed a turkey burger (sans bun) and some sweet potato fries. Yum.
It was nice to catch up with my family. Auntie Paula and I spent a lot of time talking about work site wellness programs, as she has been tasked with creating a wellness program at her work as well. We talked not only about different ideas we’re each trying to carry out, but we also talked a lot about resistance. We mentioned the barriers and challenges that I’m sure every company faces in the infancy of their wellness programs (executive buy in, worries about cost, what’s the long-term benefit), but we actually spent quite some time discussing resistance at the staff level.
For example, Auntie Paula recently created a lunchtime wellness event that she dubbed the “lunchtime walk, run, or jog.” She made signs, everyone seemed excited about the hype, and then guess what? A whopping one person showed up.
How sad. But I think this happens often. Of course, if a wellness culture is promoted from the top down at a company it’s probably not as bad, but people always have an excuse to make. That’s what happened with Auntie Paula – she heard it all! It’s too hot. It’s too cold. It’s raining. I’m tired today. I’m busy today. I forgot my sneakers. Maybe tomorrow. Monday. But is there really anything truly magic about Monday? There’s always going to be something you could make an excuse over. Self included!
It’s mind-boggling to me the excuses people are willing to make, whether it be in regards to a work site wellness program, cooking a healthy meal at home, or actually using a gym membership. I’m even going to go out on a limb and say that in the time spent making excuses, someone could go for a ten minute brisk walk and complete 1/3 of their recommended daily physical activity for the day! Nevermind the benefits they’d feel in terms of productivity, energy levels, stress levels… the list goes on. Or if you add up the time spent on the Internet, yakking away, in the lunch line, etc…. don’t complain to me about not having time.
Oy! I could go on and on about this all day because it drives me nuts. But that would be negative, and I’m here to encourage and foster excitement and passion for a healthy lifestyle, not gripe. So instead I will tell you that the key with obtaining buy-in from those who make excuses all the time is accepting them where they are. Accepting that they simply aren’t ready for big changes or commitment. And that’s where starting small with something manageable is key for lasting changes. This is a key component behind the beauty of wellness coaching. And it works.
Instead of hosting a big lunchtime event, or pushing for activity every day, I have recently implemented “Walking Wednesdays” with my group at work. I try to increase my steps in many other ways during my workday, but for those that need that extra push, Walking Wednesdays is just once a week and provides a group camaraderie and motivation aspect. And you just have to know how to respond to the excuses.
No time? Use it as an opportunity to discuss an upcoming project or brainstorm with a co-worker.
Raining? Let’s take the indoor route instead.
Not ready for stairs? Walk a lap around the building, take one flight today. Next week, go for two.
Too cold? Here, you can borrow my jacket.
Have another meeting then? I’ll go with you now instead so you don’t have to miss out.
You also have to know when to just let something be. Please don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no issue at all with people just starting out, at a beginner level, inexperienced, whatever. I don’t care if you are the fittest person in the entire world or if you’ve never worn a pair of sneakers in your entire life. I just get frustrated when people don’t just try… because in all aspects of life, not even just in regards to wellness, just trying and giving something your best is SO important.
I’ve said before that one of the easiest (and cheapest!) ways to get people up and moving more is simply by walking.
And I’ll be out there, every Wednesday (at least). Work friends, I hope you’ll join me.
Do you know anyone that always makes excuses? Do any of you work for companies that offer wellness programs? If so, I’d love to connect and find out more about what’s offered, challenges faced, and get some new ideas!
For more of my “Wellness at Work” series, check out these posts: