Did you ever see that Seinfeld episode where Jerry gets to the rental car counter only to find out that they don’t have a car for him?
Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation.
Rental Agent: I know why we have reservations.
Jerry: I don’t think you do. If you did, I’d have a car. See, you know how to take the reservations; you just don’t know how to hold the reservations. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take ‘em!
Jerry’s feelings about this rental car company are the same as my feelings about New Year’s Resolutions. We’re all good at making New Year’s resolutions; we’re just not very good about keeping the resolutions.
According to surveys conducted by Anthem, two out of three Americans made New Year’s resolutions in 2015, but just one month into the year, 90 percent of resolution-setters already admitted they were struggling to keep them. Resolutions to quit smoking were particularly fleeting – with 31 percent admitting abandoning that resolution during the first week.
So this year, instead of making a resolution, how about starting a revolution? I don’t mean a revolution as defined in political science textbooks. What I do mean is making a sustained effort to create positive change.
You might ask: isn’t that just a resolution?
I refer to this as a revolution because we tend to expect revolutions to be long, messy processes. Revolutions often take a few tries to get right, whereas resolutions in our society have become like a single-elimination playoff. Messed up on January 6? Better luck next year.
We still don’t like to hear it, but the real health experts will tell you the key to better health is sustainable, incremental change – not miracle pills or overnight slim downs.
- Don’t resolve to lose 20 pounds.
- Do commit to replacing at least one fast food lunch per week with a lower-calorie lunch packed at home.
- Don’t resolve to run eight miles a day.
- Do commit to getting 30 minutes of exercise (any kind) at least five times a week.
These are minor changes in perspective, but they can produce the kind of health revolution many of us seek.
Our survey also found a disconnect between aspiration and action. Three-quarters of Americans agreed that sticking to their New Year’s resolution makes them feel good, but only 29 percent sought help to keep their resolutions.
Remember, needing help is not a sign of weakness. (if it was, do you think we’d have professional sports coaches and celebrity fitness trainers?)
The good news is that when it comes to health and wellness, your health insurance company and your employer may already have coaches and programs to available to help, such as:
- Employee Assistance Programs – Often offered via your insurer or another outside vendor, these programs can help with things ranging from stress management to crisis counseling.
- Gym Reimbursement – Many health insurance plans will help pay for the cost of a gym membership, giving you one less reason to avoid the elliptical machine.
- Weight Loss Groups – From the national chains to in-office meetings, having friends to share your triumphs and tribulations with can help you on your weight loss journey.
- Smoking Cessation – If your workplace doesn’t offer a stop smoking program, there are many great options out there such as those run by the American Lung Association and the March of Dimes.
No matter what path you choose, remember that your goal is to start a revolution. It will be long. It will be faced with challenges. But if you do it right, you stand a much better chance of achieving your goals than the average resolver.
Here are some free tools and resources from Anthem you can use to get started and spark your own revolution.
Time Well Spent Website
Wellness Flyer Sleep
The latest health care prescription: Vitamin N
Preventing Work Burnout: How to Help Your Employees Stay Productive