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Year after year, some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions revolve around improving one’s health: losing weight, eating better, exercising more, quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol or sugar or caffeine. We always start the year with renewed enthusiasm and determination to change our bad habits and be healthier, but after a few weeks or months, it is easy to lose motivation and fall back into our old ways.

Break the cycle for this New Year’s resolutions, and make 2011 a year of positive change. Start a wellness plan in your organization that is energizing and fun for employees, and use teamwork (and maybe a little friendly competition) to stay on track and social collaboration for motivation. The payoff will be substantial for everyone involved — healthy, focused, productive employees.

1. Find power in numbers.

It is easy to give up on healthy resolutions when you are the only person invested in them. It becomes much more difficult when a whole group of people is working for a common goal. Set out to achieve goals as a team– whether it’s losing a collective amount of weight or logging a certain number of steps per week or training together for a 5K. You are able to support each other when times get tough (and use guilt and peer pressure for good if necessary).

2. Get rid of the junk food.

Nothing derails a good wellness plan like bad eating habits. During the work day, it is tempting to grab a quick burger and fries for lunch or a bag of potato chips from the vending machine for an afternoon snack. Make an effort to make your own lunch and pack snacks from home in advance, and encourage other employees to do the same.

Create a welcoming environment in the employee lounge or lunch area with comfortable seating, bookcases and tables. Consider setting aside a small budget to buy fresh fruit and healthy snacks and drinks for the office. Reevaluate the contents of the vending machine, and lobby to stock it with healthier options such as granola bars and mixed nuts instead of candy bars and chips.  Subscribe to a blog that offers social media tips on wellness.

3. Make it a contest.

Sometimes we need a little push to stay interested in our own health and fitness. Start an organization-wide competition as part of your wellness plan and continue it over the course of several months. Hold fitness challenges, healthy recipe contests or other creative activities employees will be excited about.

Some organizations even hold competitions in the style of the television show, “The Biggest Loser,” where participants compete for money or prizes. One inexpensive method is to require each participant to pay an entry fee, usually between $20 and $50, and weight loss winners in the male and female categories will split the money at the end of the contest. (Participants should consult a doctor before starting this kind of program.)

Have you implemented a wellness plan in your organization? Share your comments below.

Learn more about how team building can strengthen your workplace.

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