Creating a Culture of Healthy Habits

HealthHabitsAccording to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, culture is defined as a way of thinking, behaving or working that exists in a place or organization. We all encounter different cultures throughout our day, but many of us don’t stop to think consciously about how the cultures impact our thinking or behavior. When we find ourselves in an environment that has a culture that conflicts with the way we think or behave, we have options to explore. We can adapt, change behaviors or leave.

For the purpose of this article (and because I am a health and wellbeing professional), let’s focus on what it takes to change an unhealthy culture to a healthy culture.

Is it easy to change a culture? Yes and no.

Are you responsible for the way others think and behave? No. But can you change the way you think and behave? Yes. If you want or need to change, you can start by being the change you want to see. Here are some ways you can influence a culture in a healthy way:

  • Be consistent with your healthy behaviors
    • Remember it takes at least 21 consecutive times of doing a behavior for it to become a habit.
  • Be supportive and respectful to others
    • Bringing treats to work to share with coworkers is a nice gesture, but be courteous to others who may be trying to avoid certain foods
  • Look outside of the box to find solutions to challenges
    • Chronic sitting is becoming more and more of a problem. Look at all your options of how you can incorporate movement into daily routine.
  • Be open to new ways of doing things
    • Get out of the habit of thinking or saying, “This is the way we have always done things” and start thinking or saying, “You know, we haven’t done that before, but maybe we can explore that possibility.”

Because so many hours of our day are spent working, many employers like Avera are realizing the importance of wellness and are setting the goal of “Creating a Culture of Health and Wellbeing” to support their valued employees. In February 2014, Avera was recognized by the American Heart Association’s Fit-Friendly Platinum Level Award. This award symbolizes that Avera is working to improve its culture of health and wellbeing not only for the communities it serves, but also for its most valued asset — its employees.

By Amanda Harty

Program Manager, To Your Health at Avera Health

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