As individuals, many of us make New Year’s Resolutions. We want to lose weight, learn to play the piano, exercise or spend more time with our kids. At times, these resolutions are stored in our minds, and other times we write them down for reassurance. The resolutions we store mentally are often interchangeable and contingent upon the many obstacles that befall us throughout the year. We progress through the months only to find ourselves failing to meet those initial weight goals, or having learned only a handful of piano notes and an off-beat rendition of Chopsticks. However, when we write down our resolutions, and look at them regularly, we re-affirm our commitment and begin to measure our success or lack thereof.
According to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology 1.1.14, the top resolutions for 2014 were:
Spend less, save more
Enjoy life to the fullest
Stay fit and healthy
Resolutions maintained throughout the year were:
The first week (75%)
Two weeks (71%)
One month (64%)
Six months (46%)
Affirmed by the study, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who do not explicitly make resolutions.
Companies also have resolutions, and when they relate to employee health plans those resolutions typically include the improvement of health, lowering costs and fostering a happier, more productive workforce. Most company resolutions come in the form of strategies and goals that become the focus for the year ahead. They include wellness programs for employees, benefit changes that will hopefully inspire amendment to employee behavior and “better pricing” from providers and networks.
Comparable to our personal goals, when companies make explicit goals they are more likely to be met. If an organization wants to have “50% of their workforce participate in wellness programs,” it will specifically measure to that focus.
Our personal goals can lack much needed clarity and explicitness. We wish to spend more time with our kids, but have no explicit plan or conceptualization of how to accomplish this goal and what it’s going to look like when achieved. Does this goal necessitate the creation of a weekly game night? Or perhaps it means more vacations.
Whatever the goal, companies need clarity, and explicitness. If our wellness program example is expected to work, it becomes important to clearly understand what the outcome is meant to accomplish and look like. If improving health is part of the goal, determine what standards will be used to evaluate the success of the program. Perhaps it’s a reduction in visits to the ER. If reducing cost is part of the goal, key matrixes will need to be measured and monitored over the course of the year. Bottom line: measurement is KEY to the success of achieving a goal.