News for HR Professionals

Recommit to Healthy New Year’s Resolutions


Getting fit. Eating healthy. Spending more quality time with loved ones. Every January your employees step into the New Year with renewed commitment and enthusiasm to improving their lives. New Year’s resolutions are an annual tradition. Unfortunately, another tradition soon follows: trading in those New Year’s resolutions for a large pizza and some quality couch time. Often this happens a mere couple of weeks after the ball drops. In fact, January 17th is commonly known as the day most resolutions are left behind for good.

The good news is that leaves nearly 50 weeks in the year for your employees to pick that resolution up, dust it off, and get back on track. How? The answer may be lovingly staring back at them from the other end of a leash.

Put Some Spring Back into Your Resolution with Pets.

On January 1st, resolutions are everywhere. But by the second week of February, some 80 percent of those resolution-ers are back to their less healthy ways with a little added remorse thrown in.¹ Fortunately, spring is here. The perfect time to encourage your employees to reassess those New Year’s resolutions, figure out why they aren’t sticking, and get back on track. One way may be to include their pets.

Resolutions and pets seem to be a match made in heaven. While 67% of U.S. consumers plan to exercise more in the new year, people with pets are proven to get more exercise than those without. In fact, the top two resolutions in the U.S. in 2016, “staying fit and healthy” and “losing weight,”² also happen to be two of the primary benefits attributed to pet ownership.³

Re-setting Resolution Goals

Of course, simply owning a pet doesn’t guarantee your employees resolution success. In many cases, the success and failure of a resolution can come down to motivations. Resolutions can generally be broken down into two types: promotion goals and prevention goals. Promotion goals represent a goal one would ideally like to achieve. But promotion goal-type resolutions are easier to break, often because a better alternative arises, like getting an extra hour of sleep instead of taking the dog for an early morning walk.

Prevention goals are efforts that feel like responsibilities - like getting healthier to be there for family or taking pets to the veterinarian at least once a year to ensure their well being. In addition to being harder to break due to the sense of obligation, prevention goal resolutions are better motivators when people slip up.⁴

Help Employees Make Their Resolutions Stay. And Heel.

Everybody knows that sticking to resolutions isn’t quite as easy as rephrasing them. The truth is long-term behavior changes are always difficult. Making resolutions stick often requires putting a number of strategies to use. One common strategy your employees can employ is to start with small goals. Instead of going from couch to triathlon, start by setting a goal of getting 30 minutes of exercise a day. That can mean the gym, a dog walk, or simply active playtime with family and/or pets. Inventing challenges can also keep up motivation and engagement throughout the day, such as doing 100 jumping jacks during a commercial break or trying to beat Spot to the ball during a game of fetch. Regardless of the preferred strategy, focusing on the positive aspects of the activity and keeping goals realistic will be vital to your employees’ success.⁵

Say Yes to Getting Resolutions Back on Track.

Ultimately, whether the goal is to get more exercise, eat more healthfully, or simply being more on top of health needs for both employees and pets, making sure you have the strategies, resources and support needed to achieve it goes a long way. Fortunately, Nationwide® pet insurance is here to help. The Say Yes Wellness Kit from Nationwide® contains a multitude of materials, signage and tips to help employees create healthier habits for themselves and their pets.