Editor’s Note: This branded article is written in collaboration and with insights from Bevi, a smart water cooler for the office.
Raise your hand if you’re among the more than 32 percent of Americans who chose better health as a resolution this year. Though they’re common, health goals are some of the hardest to reach. In a world where Netflix marathons are more appealing than actual marathons, it’s easy to opt for convenience over long-term benefits. And reaching the finish line takes more than conviction. If making the decision to be healthier is the only step you and your team take, you’ll never get there.
Instead, adopt a methodical approach that consists of writing the goal, milestones, how you’ll measure results, and what you’ll do to learn and adjust along the way. Treat it like an ordinary work project with multiple steps (no pun intended).
To ensure co-workers are as attentive to team health goals as they are to endless free snacks in the breakroom, decide what’s going to be measured on your team. As a group, choose whether the end game is losing a few pounds, reducing sugar intake, or drinking more water. Be sure to document the specifics since writing down goals is a proven way to give you and your team a leg up.
For any health metric chosen, accountability will be your secret weapon to getting the job done. And since the average worker spends about nine hours a day with a team, announcing health goals at the office instantly inspires a team mentality that will provide a strong form of motivation—which is hard to come by when training or eating better is involved. According to psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, an expert on helping people reach goals,
“When no one is around to say anything about an incomplete task, it’s easy to push it to the next day and the next week, and so on. Putting the task out there for others to see helps motivate us to get it done so we don’t look bad to others.”
After planning clear goals from the start and sharing those notes, you and your team will have already accomplished half the battle. Since no one likes having her reputation tarnished, going public makes all the difference. And when it comes to the other half, turn to keystone habits to help everyone make progress together.
Why Your Team Needs a Keystone Habit
Did you know there are different kinds of habits? The most powerful of the bunch are called keystone habits—a concept coined by author Charles Duhigg.
Keystone habits are unique because they aren’t your typical cause-and-effect actions. For example, making your bed doesn’t achieve anything besides tidy sheets, but Charles suggests it’s associated with increased productivity and greater well-being. If all it takes to achieve those benefits is fluffing a few pillows, it’s easy to see why keystone habits have such potential to lead to more.
… in both people’s lives as well as within companies, there are these things known as keystone habits. Some habits seem to have a disproportionate influence. When a keystone habit starts changing, it seems to set off a chain reaction that changes other habits. – Charles Duhigg
Beyond becoming a regular part of your day, keystone habits achieve three major things:
- They help build motivation from a sense of accomplishment
- They make a person more likely to engage in other good habits
- They generate the momentum and confidence needed to keep going
Choose Water as Your Keystone
Sam Kass, former White House chef and Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition, said it best when he said,
“Water is our original energy drink.”
And since the purpose of keystone habits is to “spark chain reactions,” upping water intake is a great one to adopt. At first glance, it may not seem like a game changer—but it may be the small, repeatable action that ignites and sustains your team’s drive.
After you round up the gang, make a water challenge part of the group’s plan. This easy way to get your colleagues off to a good start doesn’t have to be boring, either. Bevi, a modern water cooler, makes the prospect of chugging a few extra glasses much more exciting with flavored bubbly, and still water.
Nikki W., an Office and People Support Coordinator, upped the ante on her team’s Drink More Water Challenge by using Bevi to reduce monotony and satisfy carbonation lovers in one fell swoop. Nikki shared that since the machine connects to her office’s existing water supply, she never has to worry about running low—especially as the machine tracks when to reorder each flavor. Having limitless water with a fruity twist helps keep Nikki’s colleagues on track. Nikki shares,
“We have a weekly chart, that shows what each person has decided their daily water goal will be, and we mark tallies on the board every time a glass/jar/bottle is finished. It’s not a ‘scoreboard’ per se, but seeing how you compare to your teammates is certainly a great motivator!”
After starting healthier habits in the office with Bevi leading the charge, Nikki says she saw her team transition to a healthier lifestyle in other ways too. Activities such as impromptu cycling, dance, and rock climbing classes made it into the team’s afterhours outings—something that probably wouldn’t surprise Charles Duhigg one bit.
How to Monitor Your Team’s Progress
As Nikki mentioned, creating a water drinking chart helps monitor and share her team’s progress. This form of visual accountability is key, so give your own team something fun to look at along the way. If you need some inspiration, consider grouping employees by flavor preferences so can you pit the lemon lovers against the cucumber crusaders. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone!
Another option—or water badge of honor—is using rubber bands on water bottles to show how much each person drinks. You can turn to technology too. Apps like MyFitnessPal or iHydrate track consumption and allow users to set reminders, and diary-sharing or swapping progress updates with pals can support the initiative outside of work.
Since not everyone responds the same way to competition—overt with prizes or not—it’s important to assess your team dynamics before picking a progress monitor. If the group does better in a collaborative environment, chat apps may do the trick. Slack, a real-time communication app, can house channels specific to a health goal (did someone say “Water Warrior”?) where participants can swap pictures and other updates. Using free resources like this also ensures that everyone can participate.
Consider Timeframe & Reflection
To help your team take major health strides, be sure to flesh out the details of the timeline for specific challenges. Ultimately, making health a part of daily life in the office is what you’re working toward, but short-term initiatives should factor into the on-going push to be a healthier group.
Since Ninjas never run a project without absolutely crushing it, you should also check in with individuals to assess the program from the inside out by cycling between participants at even intervals. Even if you’re not able to overcome each person’s obstacles, speaking with co-workers on a one-to-one basis may inspire new ways to improve your company’s wellness program as a whole.
In the end, the goal is to create an environment where all team members feel supported and encouraged to reach their health goals in and outside of the office. Water is just one of the many ways to get started, and if it happens to taste like coconut or blueberry cucumber, that’s even better.
“While I can’t speak for everyone, I know that my personal water consumption has gone WAY up since we installed Bevi!” – Nikki W., Office and People Support Coordinator
Cheers, Ninjas! Do you do anything special to focus on team health goals? Have you ever held a water challenge? Tell us all about it in the comments!
Bevi is a smart water cooler for the office that helps you create your own flavored and sparkling drinks. It’s your one-stop shop for cold beverages. Mix and match a variety of naturally sweetened or unsweetened flavors, or keep it simple with sparkling or plain filtered water. Want to learn more about Bevi? Reach out here!