Understanding the potentially devastating implications of poor health during the pandemic has served as something of a wakeup call according to a survey conducted on behalf of Public Health England. It found that 80% of adults are motivated to get healthier in 2021, with seven in 10 saying this desire to change is fuelled by Covid-19.
This drive for health improvement is great news, both for these individuals but also for society more broadly, but it’s well known that even the very best of intentions can evaporate pretty quickly. Living through a pandemic may prove to be a bigger motivator than a New Year’s resolution but finding ways to keep motivation levels high is key to making individuals’ good intentions stick and driving real and long-term improvements in health risk.
How to improve health and wellness
As we’re all motivated by our own unique set of things, and are also likely to approach any health management programme from very different starting points, a ‘one-size fits all’ approach is destined to fall very flat.
Instead, variety is essential. Mixing up the content that’s available, but also the way in which it’s delivered, will help to engage as many people as possible with a health improvement programme.
Setting achievable health goals
Alongside ensuring there’s something for everyone, setting personalised and achievable targets is another key part of driving long-lasting change and improvement in health risk.
Expecting someone to switch from a sedentary lifestyle to one where they clock up 10,000 plus steps a day is unrealistic and likely to mean they remain resolutely on the sofa. Making the goals achievable will give them the boost they need to stick with the programme, turning the steps they take into a lifestyle change that has massive benefits for their health.
Supporting health improvement
Just as a successful health management programme needs to be personalised and contain achievable steps and goals, it can also benefit from a bit of behavioural science.
Nudge theory, which uses prompts to help people make lasting changes to their behaviour, is a good example of this. Sending someone a reminder to drink water, take a break from their screen or to clock up some steps is easy through health and wellbeing apps and can quickly turn from a regular notification on a smartphone to an individual’s lifestyle habit.
Rewarding health improvement is another great way to cement healthy habits. Everyone likes to know they’ve done good and health and wellbeing apps use everything from virtual badges to leader boards to applaud the achievers.
Driving long-lasting improvement in health risk
Understanding exactly what drives people to make lasting changes to their health risk is key to the success of any programme. At Tictrac, we’ve invested heavily in understanding what motivates people to make the lasting lifestyle changes that matter. As a result, after years of research, we’ve developed our HEAL behavioural change methodology. This is built upon four simple and intentional principles (Healthier, over healthy. Effort, over ability. Action, over outcomes. Lifestyle, over routines.), which underpin our health and wellbeing platform and make it a place where meaningful change happens.
Health risk benefits for all
Its ability to create change and improve risk makes health and wellbeing of huge interest to insurers, especially at a time when so many people are motivated to get healthier. But, to deliver real, lasting benefits to these individuals and insurers, these health and wellbeing programmes must be able to transform good intentions into lifestyle changes that stick.
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