The Well-Being Journal

Is Improving Your Financial Well-Being on Your List of New Year's Resolutions?

Sandy Cummings

blog SAD JAN 2012Sometimes you read something and think, "Yep, that about says it." Check out this article from TheStreet -- not a place where you'll usually catch me hanging out for a good read, but the title, "2014: The Year of Change," drew me in. Here's a little sample to pique your interest:

I don't know what it is, but something about the new year makes us want to reflect on our own imperfections. It makes us think. It forces us face to face with our regrets. It also makes us consider what we can do to make this year better than the last.

"We as humans love fresh beginnings and we get a new chance every January 1st," says Shannon Ryan, a certified financial planner who has worked with individuals and businesses for the last 20 years.

And there's nothing wrong with new year's resolutions, right? In theory, choosing to make one positive change each year could only be a good thing. Think about it. This year could be the year you start exercising. Next year you could focus on nutrition. The year after that could be the year when you finally stop overspending, once and for all.

Then, boom, you've evolved from an exercise-hating spendthrift to a CrossFit enthusiast who saves 90 percent of their income. And you did it all over the span of just a few years, right?

Wrong.

...

In order to move beyond resolutions, you have to make a lifestyle change. And that's exactly why people compare their financial challenges with their relationship with food. The similarities are striking. After all, it's easy to start a new diet on a Monday (don't all diets start on Monday?) and do awesome until about Thursday night when your husband breaks out a giant block of cheese at 10:00 p.m. (story of my life). Then, all of a sudden it's Friday and you're scarfing down nachos at Applebee's while secretly hating yourself. Oh, but you're totally going to restart the whole thing on Monday, right?

The article goes on to share Ryan's tips for getting your financial house in order, which I'm guessing is on the resolutions list for many of us.

Why is it so hard to make lifestyle changes that ultimately improve our overall well-being? Sometimes we just need a little help making the small steps that lead to big change. Healthways is working with the Dave Ramsey organization to make achieving financial well-being a little easier for everyone. It doesn't have to start on January 1 -- you can start any time. Stay tuned -- we'll be sharing more in the coming months.

 

Topics: Healthy Living Financial Well-Being Well-Being Links of the Week In the News Lifestyle Change New Years Resolution

It's That Time of Year: 2013's Top 10 U.S. Well-Being Insights

Sandy Cummings

Gallup editors took a look back at the year in Americans' health and well-being, drawing on data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. See their picks for the top 10 most important findings here.

If you've been indulging in a few too many holiday treats, don't forget the exercise, as finding number 10 points out that it's lack of exercise that's most linked to obesity.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index provides an in-depth, real-time view of Americans' well-being, giving governments, communities, employers and health plans unmatched insight into the health of their populations. The Well-Being Index includes topics such as life evaluation, physical and emotional health, health behaviors, work environment, and basic access.

Topics: Healthy Living Links of the Week In the News Exercise Well-Being Index

Preventing Heart Disease and Stroke Deaths: Sizing Up the Opportunity

Sandy Cummings

Howard Lewine, M.D., wrote a compelling post yesterday on the Harvard Health Blog describing the recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report entitled, "Vital Signs: Avoidable Deaths from Heart Disease, Stroke, and Hypertensive Disease -- United States, 2001-2010."

He writes:

During a press conference to present the study results, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said, “As a doctor, I find it heartbreaking to know that the vast majority of people who are having a heart attack or stroke, under the age of 65 in particular, and dying from it didn’t have to have that happen.”

So, what does it take to change this story? Dr. Lewine cites research from the Harvard School of Public Health that points to the power of lifestyle changes (e.g., involving diet, exercise, and abstinence from smoking), following it up with tips to lower your own risk. It's a quick read, and a helpful one.

If you think this information isn't really relevant to you, consider this from Dr. Lewine:

No matter what your age and how good things look today, your future risk of heart disease, stroke and other related diseases is high. It’s true for all of us.

 

 

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Links of the Week In the News Healthcare Health Prevention Wellness Chronic Disease

Employee Well-Being Predicts Productivity and Retention

Jennifer Rudloff

As employers today struggle with the rising costs of healthcare, we at Healthways are compelled to form a deeper understanding of the impact of well-being. Taking a comprehensive look at the well-being of employees at a Fortune 100 company in a first of its kind longitudinal study, scientists found that overall well-being is not only a predictor of healthcare costs but also other business outcomes related to productivity and retention.

A recent press release announced the publishing of this latest Healthways study in Population Health Management. The study results show that overall well-being is a predictor of outcomes related to:

  • Medical and Rx spending
  • ER visits and hospital admission
  • Absenteeism
  • Short-term disability
  • Presenteeism
  • Job performance
  • Intention to stay
  • Voluntary and involuntary turnover

It was also found that well-being improvement was significantly related to positive changes in most employer outcomes.

How can this shape your company’s future?

These study results build a strong business case for well-being as an organizational performance strategy. If your company does adopt an effective one, you could see substantial savings through the improved health, performance and retention of your workers.

Enlarge Infographic Infographic shows findings from the first part of the study

So what is well-being and how is it measured?

Overall well-being is multidimensional, considering a range of important life domains related to work, finances, emotional health, physical health and behavioral risks, as well as the quality of one’s connections and community.

For this study, baseline overall well-being was measured using individual results from the Healthways Well-Being Assessment®, healthcare claims and human resource administrative data.

The first part of the study examined the impact of well-being on the employer’s outcomes over one year. To see a summary of findings, expand the infographic shown here.

The second part of the study measured the impact over a longer period.

 

Want to learn more about our proven approach to improving well-being? Visit our website or contact us.

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Predictions Workplace Well-Being Healthcare Business Performance Productivity Healthways Wellness Program Success Stories