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Leaders can help employees achieve their New Year’s resolutions - new frontiers

When the new year rolls around, what kind of person are you? Do you roll your eyes at your peers’ overly ambitious attempts to abolish decades of deeply entrenched habits in the hope of metamorphosing into a new, glossier, 2.0 version of themselves? Or do you cheer them on while dusting yourself off from the overindulgence of the previous month and get busy picking your own shiny goals to hurtle towards?

Whichever person you are, there are a few statistics we’d like to share with you because we think they’ll bring a bit of perspective to the setting of New Year’s resolutions and how you can make them more than just a passing fad at the beginning of the year.

What the data says about New Year’s resolutions

Strava conducted a survey studying over 31.5 million online global activities with regard to the setting and keeping of New Year’s resolutions. Their findings were grim:

  • 80% of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions
  • The 12th January is the date people are most likely to give up on their resolutions
  • The main reasons for failure are a lack of motivation and unrealistic expectations

Now, you could look at those statistics and take them as the evidence you’ve been keenly waiting for never to set a New Year’s resolution again! But business leaders are all about the challenge, so we’re going to guess that you’ve zeroed in on the obvious obstacles here and are already thinking up ways that this problem can be solved. That’s what we’ve been doing, and we think the solution is to bring New Year’s resolutions into the workplace!

Introducing New Year’s Resolutions to the workplace

Ask for feedback from your team

Creating a partnership between work and personal goals could seem daunting at first. You might be wondering whether your team appreciates this new-fangled project of yours or considerate it a hindrance. The best way to find out the answer to that question is to ask. Bord Bia research found that 70% of Irish people would appreciate help with maintaining a healthy diet and less than one-third of us get the correct amount of exercise because we cannot find the time.

How to help your employees achieve their resolutions

There are many ways you can go about helping your team achieve their goals. The methods you pick will be based on what will suit your company best. You could decide to add a few additional activities to the workweek, or you could make smaller but equally effective tweaks to the workday. Alternatively, you could design a whole employee wellness programme!

Deciding which route you’ll take will involve taking some time to think about your budget, assessing how many people you expect to get involved, finding out what their New Year’s resolutions were and determining what kind of activities would benefit them best. Then map out how you imagine these activities will realistically coincide with job tasks and decide who will be in charge of making it all happen. If that sounds like far too much work, don’t worry; no matter how small or comprehensive your approach, we have a few ideas to get you started!

Great resolution ideas you can support all year long

Let’s dive into some ideas for how you can support your team in reaching their goals – not just in January, but all year long!


  • Ditch those pastries packed with saturated fat in meetings and instead think strawberries! Popcorn! Whole-grain sandwiches with low-fat fillings! Parfaits!
  • Combine healthy eating and team building by organising activities such as “Come Dine With Me” style lunches, food tastings, cookery classes and smooth- making competitions.
  • Request an employee discount from your local health-conscious eatery.

Spend more time with friends and family

  • Remote working puts an end to wasted hours spent commuting so your employees can spend more time with the people they love.
  • Offer an automatic day off for three important family events that occur annually.
  • Trial a four-day workweek. New Zealand company Perpetual Guardian reported a 20% increase in productivity when they did it and Pursuit Marketing in Glasgow enjoyed a 30% increase!


  • Incentivise walk-to-work and/or cycle schemes.
  • Set up company sports teams and organise a gym buddy system to get peer pressure working in everyone’s favour!
  • Create a calendar for local fitness events, such as marathons for charity, and encourage people to sign up.

Quit smoking

  • Establish a tobacco-free workplace.
  • Include quit smoking programmes in your wellness initiative with one-to-one coaching or, if your budget can’t stretch to that, make external resources easily available for them.
  • Consider ways you can help employees through the withdrawal period, i.e. exercise regimes, improving diet, stress management.

Read more

  • Hold a monthly book club that people can either participate in after work or during the lunch break.
  • Include a book recommendation in the company newsletter.
  • Invite local authors to speak at your company.

Drink less alcohol

  • Organise alternatives to ‘after-work drinks’ such as movie nights, bowling, going to exhibitions, volunteering, sports training, attending a class, seeking out drink-free events, etc.
  • With your team’s help, set alcohol-free days to reduce the chance of hitting the pub at 5 pm on particularly tempting evenings.

None of these ideas are earth-shattering, but that’s precisely the point! Small changes that are simple to implement and easy to take up are most likely to be successful. If all goes to plan, not only will you have a happier, healthier team by the end of 2020, but you’ll have simultaneously increased job satisfaction and productivity.

About the author

scarlet-merrillScarlet Bierman

Scarlet Bierman is a content consultant, commissioned by Enterprise Ireland to fulfil the role of Editor of the New Frontiers website. She is an expert in designing and executing ethical marketing strategies and passionate about helping businesses to develop a quality online presence.