People who are ready, and I mean really ready to make positive changes in their lives have the ability to transform themselves. What really speaks to me is how positive changes in one's health leads to other lifestyle changes such as stronger relationships, new friendships, better jobs, and mental wellness. I see it all the time. Wellness has the power to change people in profound ways.
The best and most rewarding part of my job is leading teams of unhealthy people, who are ready to change, through a "get fit" program. I put some of the unhealthiest employees through an intensive six month program. We call it a "get fit" program because while getting physically fit we are also getting mentally fit, gaining self confidence, becoming go-getters, experiencing more life, and many other by-products to being fit. Simply said, fit people view and experience life differently.
As two of my groups (40 people) enter their final month in the program we spend a lot of time reflecting on the past 5 months and planning for the future- the future looks so different than it did before the program. The participants have added new words to their vocabulary like, sustainable, plans, goals, choices, change, dedication, future, responsibilities, turning points, lifestyle, attitude, challenge, achievements, pride, progress, excited, energetic, inspired, and so many other words that reflect real change. These people have morphed into high energy motivated people who are approaching life with zest. They are curious and for the first time in a long time are discovering themselves. They now inspire me.
Lifestyle changes are not for everyone. They are scary. And hard. A person has to be ready. They likely have had enough of feeling like crap or something has scared them into change like a heart attack or the loss of a family member. When they are ready, there are a lot of components that go into change. It's not all about exercise and diet, although that is critical. It is also about valuing yourself enough to change, learning new habits and breaking old ones, taking care of your mental health, finding and staying motivated, and education.
If you are considering implementing a "get fit" program at your organization, I highly recommend a program that offers relationship building with those who are ready to change. People need to trust the person who is guiding them through this lifestyle change. Trust is built over time. In my experience, six months is a nice amount of time to progress to the point of being able to be set free in the scary world of temptations and choices. Also, make sure your program offers leaders who are knowledgable in behavior modification. You can educate people all day, but without behavior change the information is useless. These programs are powerful and are likely to have a ripple affect on others in the organization as well. Those who may not have been ready to change may be watching a peer go through the program. They will see a new and improved co-worker emerge. Who wouldn't want to feel and look that good? Lastly, find a way to know your employees readiness to change stage. An intensive hands-on program comprised of those who are ready for change is a powerful transformation for the individual, their families, and your company.