10 Wellness Clichés to Banish From Your Vocabulary


ROI. It’s nearly impossible to prove; if someone is trying to sell you something based on their 3:1 ROI, run.

Secret sauce. There really are no secrets in wellness. If something works (or sells), there are lots of copycats.

Incentivize/Incent. Just say “provide an incentive.” Yes, it’s more words, but it doesn’t sound silly. And sometimes “motivate” or “inspire” will work even better.

Bandwidth. Wellness people aren’t that geeky. If you don’t have enough, just say you need more help.

Seamless. Often used with “integration,” it’s a malleable term with multiple meanings. If you mean “not noticeable,” say so. If you mean “easy” or “coordinated” they work too.

Alignment. When you want to sound like a team player, just say you’re working with (fill in the blank).

Messaging. This term makes no sense for anything unless preceded by “text” or “instant.”

Synergy. If what you’re doing really is something where 1+1 equals more than 2, then it applies; otherwise, you’re really not “achieving synergies.”

Contagious. Sorry, health behaviors aren’t contagious. You can get large groups all pulling in the same direction, but it isn’t because you infected them, it’s because each person made a conscious decision.

Gamification. Okay, it’s a real thing. But don’t believe you can get people to change deep-rooted health behaviors just because you’re giving out badges for eating fruit.

Our new wellness intervention promises an ROI of 2.7:1 and is achieved by incentivizing employees through a gamification-based platform that aligns with HR’s messaging around total well-being. Because we don’t have the bandwidth internally, we’ve contracted ABC company, which has a reputation for seamless integration that creates synergies, to produce the contagious adoption of enhanced health behaviors.


Dean WitherspoonDean Witherspoon
Chief collaborator, nudger, tinkerer; leads the most inventive team creating well-being and sustainable living programs. Reach out if you’d like to talk about employee well-being, emotional fitness, or eco-friendly living.

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