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5 Tips for Designing Successful Wellness Challenges

5 Tips for Designing Successful Wellness Challenges

If you have ever designed wellness challenges for your organization, you know that it is trickier than it looks. While poorly-designed challenges aren't necessarily created on purpose, when a not-so-great one launches and eventually fails, it fosters animosity towards the overall wellness program. Below are some tips that will help you avoid the mistakes of your predecessors.
1) Make Everyone a Winner
One of the easiest traps to be caught in is creating a challenge like The Biggest Loser or a step challenge where the top person or team wins. The minute the leaders pull ahead of the crowd, everyone else gives up, resulting in a challenge for a select few and frustrating everyone else. Instead, design challenges that allow everyone to achieve the goal.

2) Encourage Daily Activity
In life, slow and steady wins the race. This is also true for wellness challenges. It’s much better to foster a habit rather than quickly meeting a goal and quitting. For example, instead of making the goal to walk 250,000 steps, make the goal to walk 5,000 steps each day for 30 days.

3) Level the Playing Field
In an effort to make a challenge challenging, sometimes it becomes out of reach for some people—especially the ones that need it the most. Instead of tracking steps, try tracking minutes walking outside. This allows less mobile people to compete fairly with marathon runners. Try nutrition challenges like eating 5 fruits or vegetables a day or mental wellness challenges like doing 30 good deeds over a month timespan.

4) Allow for Exceptions
If someone falls short, there should be a way for them to get back in the game. For example, if the goal is to not eat sugar, there needs to be a way to have an exception for a birthday or special occasion. One way to do this is to allow for a set number of exceptions during the period of the challenge. Another way is to allow people to earn exceptions by doing something extra that is of benefit, like exercising for an additional half hour.

5) Keep It Simple
In an effort to create the perfect challenge, things can sometimes get out of hand. For example, a challenge might require 15 minutes of exercise, 5 minutes of meditation, and 8 glasses of water each day. The more complex a challenge is, the less likely it is that people will be successful.

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