If you’re in Human Resources or Occupational Health and Safety, you already know the corporate advantages of a healthy lifestyle.
You see them every day in at least some of your workers: The ones who are more engaged, more productive, less stressed, and less likely to take sickies. Indeed, they’re the same people who project a positive corporate image for your organisation.
But, what of their colleagues? How do you motivate them to embrace a healthy change and get back into shape?
It can be a challenge. You may need the support of a GP, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP), or other health professional.
But, being on the ‘front line’, you can have the initial discussion to raise awareness of the benefits of a healthier lifestyle and be an agent of change in every step of the recognised Five Stages of Change, which are:
At this point, the person sees no downside to poor diet and lack of exercise and is happy to maintain the status quo.
You can… increase the person’s perception of the risks and problems associated with poor diet and lack of exercise, highlighting the benefits of eliminating (or at least reducing) negative practices.
Change is being considered (issues may even be surfacing as a result of their current lifestyle).
You can… Help tip the balance by (1) overcoming ambivalence, (2) identifying the pros/cons of changing/not changing, and (3) boosting confidence in their ability to make healthy changes.
The person recognises the need for change and may already be taking small steps in the right direction.
You can… help them to set goals, develop a realistic exercise and dietary plan, and support and encourage the change process.
Significant changes are apparent. This is the stage when the individual may try several different change techniques, but also the time when relapse is a real possibility.
You can… Leverage techniques to help them maintain their motivation and, if necessary, help them identify and implement strategies to prevent relapse.
Having learned to anticipate and handle temptations, the person is now better equipped to successfully recover from a temporary lapse and not see it as failure.
You can… Maintain your encouragement and support. In the event of a relapse, help them to avoid becoming demoralised as they get back on the rails.