If you’re like a lot of wellness managers, sometime this fall you’ll set aside a day or so to plan for 2014. Instead of waiting until then to think about it, take steps now to prepare for creating your best annual plan ever. Some questions to ponder:

  • Should your plan include extras above and beyond what you did this year? We’re not talking about just different program topics, but whole new initiatives — things you’ve never done or new twists to existing services. What steps can you take this week to explore options?
  • Should you go outside your own program and organization — or even outside the industry — for creative solutions to health promotion challenges? Can you begin making at least 1 attempt a week to reach out for inspiration?
  • Do you have specific plans for staying on the leading edge of health promotion research and practice in 2014? Reading the Health Promotion Practitioner is a good start, but there’s more to be learned specific to your needs. If you don’t already have concrete professional development goals for next year, take some time this week to seek input from other managers and those you supervise.
  • Can you apply more or better technology to your program? Though it never will replace personal contact, technology has become the great equalizer. Everything from HRAs to targeted health information to medical consumer advice is available free or at low cost online; a growing number of consumers are using mobile technology to support healthy behaviors.
  • Can you get an outside colleague or consultant to review your plan for gaps? Sometimes you’re so close you can’t be objective. Start thinking now about who would be a good reviewer.

Share your plan with other experienced health promoters, including the specific request to check for soft spots — areas where you’re not as strong as you could be.

What will you do if you find gaps and feel you’re already stretched to the max? Remember, this exercise isn’t necessarily intended to get you to do more; it’s to help you focus on what’s most important.

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