Program Planner: The Break the Habit challenge

For too many employees, break time is smoke time. So why not encourage healthier alternatives to lighting up? Even employees who don’t smoke can benefit from taking a healthy break. With the Break the Habit challenge, employees can learn new, positive ways to relieve stress and manage cravings. Participation could help the smokers in your company kick the habit for good — and non-smokers will benefit, too, since they’ll learn tips for incorporating healthy habits into their day.

Here’s how it works:

  • At the start of the challenge, provide your employees with the challenge overview flyer, which contains a list of ways they can take short breaks without smoking.

  • Each week during the challenge, employees need to try 2 activities from all four of the break categories for a total of 8 breaks each week.

  • Each break should last about 10 minutes.

  • These breaks can occur both during work and on the employee’s own time.

Those meeting the requirements (eight smoke-free breaks per week, two activities from each break category for each week of the challenge) can submit their log sheets to be entered into a drawing for a prize.


Create a kickoff plan


Get leadership buy-in. Encourage key executives to become role models for the challenge. (For example, if you have a smoker on your executive team, have him or her tell their story, and pledge to take part in the challenge.)


Outline the details: challenge dates, activities, rewards, rules, marketing materials, communications and the promotion schedule.


Use the materials in this kit to raise awareness and encourage participation.


Announce the results in a big way.


Measure the impact and success of the program, reviewing what was successful and opportunities for adjustment.

Tips for program success:

  • Support and encourage participation. Make everyone aware of healthy stress-reducing break activities.

  • Provide onsite services that can support healthy break activities, such as a massage therapist, creativity corners, a yoga instructor/ class, therapeutic coaching, and seminars on meditation or breathing exercises.

  • Encourage non-smoking employees to support their smoking peers by inviting them to participate in break activities together.

  • Encourage employees to try a wide variety of break activities. That way, they can get a better idea of what works best for them.

  • Focus on those activities from the challenge that make sense for your organization.

  • Host positive lifestyle activities like a walk-at-lunch event or encourage walking meetings for the month. Exercise is great motivation for kicking unhealthy habits.

  • Make sure your communications tie to positive emotions and short-term goals. Emphasize feeling better and learning new alternatives to managing stress and avoiding cigarettes.

  • Promote! Keep the challenge top of mind. Post positive messages, promotional posters and signs around your workplace — in the stairwell, bathrooms, break rooms, etc.

The road to good health is yours to travel. But you don't have to do it alone. Whether you're managing a health condition or making changes in your life like quitting bad habits or getting in shape - we can help. Check out our new classes and resources below. Contact us to set personalized health and wellness goals and learn about the programs available to you.

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