It’s that time of year – Halloween candy, Thanksgiving deliciousness and holiday treats galore. Oh and the holiday stress that causes many of us to seek comfort food. Lastly come the New Year’s resolutions to exercise and lose weight.

I’m often asked about opportunities for team building. Many opportunities seem contrived or forced. Here’s one though that just about everyone can participate in and rally around: a simple game that supports health through the holidays.

Now we’re not talking depravity. Nor demonizing caramel apples (actually a decent option), nor getting into anyone’s “personal” space.

So here’s the game:

The Theme: Health Through the Holidays

The Scoreboard: have an area designated where everyone (who wants to participate) can post their health goal for the next 2 months – provide notecards where individuals include their name and their weekly health goal with 8 boxes for the 8 weeks that remain in the year (if you start next Monday the 11th – takes you through January 3rd). Weekly health goals can look like:

  • Go for a walk on my lunch hour 3 days a week (and invite a different co-worker each week to join me)
  • Pack healthy fun holiday snacks weekly so I’m not tempted by other less healthy options
  • Maintain my weight or maintain my exercise regime
  • Up my exercise by an hour a week so I can eat another piece of aunt Emma’s fruit cake J
  • Only gain 2 lbs.
  • Pack a healthy lunch 3 days a week
  • Try a new sport each week that I could continue to do in the winter weather
  • Only indulge in one holiday treat/week
  • Meditate for 15 minutes on my lunch hour 3 days a week to reduce stress
  • Bring one healthy treat to share with my co-workers – or share one healthy yummy holiday recipe option and bring in samples

Provide small celebration stickers to mark weekly success (you would be amazed at how motivating stickers are – hails back to our elementary days). If an individual completes the goal for the week, they put a sticker on their card. This is self- monitored.

Goal: Then decide what the group goal is – how many total stickers do there need to be for everyone to “win”? Somewhere obvious on the board, put the goal.

Celebration: Choose something fun that the group who participated receives (small gift certificate to local health food store, gym, sports outfitter) or does together (5K run/walk with company shirts, Zumba class, basketball/soccer at local rec center, healthy potluck.)

Then on Monday, January 6th count up the number of sticker and see if the team won!

In addition, as a company consider supporting healthy habits by:

  • Have healthy snacks available in the break room
  • Offer a yoga/kickboxing class to those who are interested – either in your facility over the lunch hour or a certificate to a facility nearby
  • Share short articles around good health during the holidays
  • Consider having one “Friday free for all” day in which everyone is welcome to bring their favorite holiday recipe that’s full of butter and sugar (the way grandmother made it!), with the agreement that leftovers go home with those who brought them so they don’t sit in the break room
  • Beware of/ be prepared for vendor gifts of goodies – decide how you want to handle these (save for Friday Free for All day?)