How to Create a New Year’s Challenge That Works

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We’ve all heard it said thousands of times and in a multitude of ways: “2020 is the worst year in our history. When will 2020 be over? I’m so done with this year. Bring on 2021.”

Here we are on the brink of a new year. But just because the calendar changes from 2020 to 2021 doesn’t mean that all the horrors and challenges of 2020 will suddenly disappear. What can we do to turn the page and get back on track to healthier, happier, and overall better times? After all, we all know that research supports that healthier and happier employees are more productive, and in the case of truck drivers, they are also safer.

I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s health or fitness goals or challenges, because when we look at the data, the results are dismal. According to a large study of 800 million activities, only 8% of people actually hit their goals and stick to them for longer than six months. Most people have given up just three weeks in. This creates frustration and lack of confidence, which often leads to even unhealthier behaviors over time. In a work environment, the negative effects can be even more challenging. Employees often influence others to adopt unhealthy behaviors, or the failure can lead to feelings of embarrassment and alienation.

Sergio Rojas

Sergio Rojas

With all that said, I do believe for 2021, New Year’s Health Challenges can actually have a very positive impact on people – and might even be essential. They can give people in your organization something positive to focus on while distracting from the day-to-day challenges of the pandemic and improving their health at the same time. And done correctly, challenges can reconnect employees and create a sense of community – something needed as many employees have felt disconnected over the past year. The key is to not fall into the same traps we do year after year and create typical weight loss challenges where people feel alienated or fall off within a few weeks.

There are two keys to making it positive and helping people get lasting results:

  1. Create challenges and programs that build on small habits
  2. Develop challenges that create a sense of community.

For example, instead of a 10-week weight loss challenge, you can create five different two-week challenges, such as:

  • a water challenge
  • a sleep challenge
  • a steps challenge
  • a fruits and veggies challenge
  • a self-care challenge.

Each of these are smaller habits that lead to weight loss and a healthier lifestyle, but the focus is not on the weight – instead it’s on the actual habits and on community. In order to emphasize community and cohesive culture, create teams that work together to support each other throughout the challenges. To optimize this even further, have teams made up of both office staff and truck drivers.

This is one great way to turn the page on 2020 and start 2021 in a positive and productive manner for your drivers and the entire organization.

About the author
Sergio Rojas

Sergio Rojas

[Former] Driver Wellness Advisor

After working as a health and fitness professional since 1997, Sergio Rojas created a holistic corporate wellness program. Once he discovered the health challenges faced by truck drivers, he turned full time to wellness in the trucking industry.

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