Date: April 25th, 2012
A common pattern we see in our MediFit corporate weight loss programs is clients who start out gung ho with say, an exercise routine. At first, our professionals have to hold them back from hitting it hard at the gym for an hour every day. Magically, they find a big gap in their schedule and enthusiastically use it to burn calories. Then, after a few months, weeks — or even in a matter of days — they can’t seem to find the time to squeeze in a workout. Just as magically as it opened, that schedule gap disappears into the ether.
Of course, it’s not really time expanding and contracting here. It’s motivation. It starts out strong then fizzles. This is why we design our weight loss programs (and all our wellness programs for that matter) to keep the motivational fires burning for as long as possible.
There’s some solid science on what motivates people to change their health habits. Studies show that if you wish to confront a persistent problem behavior such as overeating and under-exercising, you need to find out what influences a person and then use that information to power them in the direction of positive change. Not only that, you must combine multiple “influencers” into one overwhelming strategy so that in effect, you help each client “overshoot” success.
Five categories of influence encourage behavior modification: Personal motivation, personal ability, social motivation, social ability and structural motivation. The goal of any wellness program should be to inspire at least four of these categories. When this happens, all the stars align and the effort is up to ten times more likely to produce substantial and sustainable change compared to an effort that addresses three or fewer.
Weight loss is a perfect example of how effective the influence model can be. In a study published by the MIT Sloan Review, social scientists focused on personal health challenges such as overeating, smoking, overspending, or binge drinking. They randomly surveyed more than one thousand individuals, asking them to describe the strategies they had tried to kick their bad habits and replace them with healthier ones. Many had attempted to alter their own behavior using a single approach like for example, joining a gym. Only 14 percent had approached their problem using four or more strategies that touched upon their influencers. The ones who did saw their success rate jump from 4 to 40 percent – four times higher than average.
At MediFit we embrace the influence model because we recognize that there are no quick fixes to complex problems. Bad behavior rarely has a single cause. If there’s any chance of wiping out chronically unhealthy actions and replacing them with ones that improve quality of life and promote health, it’s with a thoughtful, multifaceted, evidence-based approach.
With over 20 years of experience, MediFit delivers corporate wellness programs that focus on each individual as well the entire organization. This is the way to maximize return on investment. If you’re interested in learning more about MediFit’s corporate wellness management solutions we invite you to contact tk.