If your 2015 resolution is to get in shape and go to the gym, then you must read this…

firststepElephantI remember the day like it was yesterday, I was in my advanced statistics class when the professor asked us to look at the person sitting to our right. He then proceeded to tell us, “That person will fail this class.” And he was right, over half of the students dropped the class and many others failed it.

If you were to set a New Year’s resolution the odds are even worse. According to some studies, only 8% of the population will achieve their resolution. If you decide to join a gym and exercise, you may fare better: 12% of you will succeed. As a matter of fact, the gyms bank on those poor “undisciplined” souls. Can you imagine a gym in which everyone that joined showed up every day? It would be utter chaos.

I pondered if I should write this blog at all, the last thing I want is to see is more people at my gym (that is why I train at 3:30 am), but a healthier America is better for business. So the question remains, how can you succeed in going to the gym this year?

The answer is simple and painless: JUST GO TO THE GYM. That is it; just go to the gym for at least 21 days in a row (excluding your “rest” days). You don’t have to workout if you don’t want to. Just walk around, get acquainted with the staff, your fellow resolutionists, with the equipment, the building, etc. Three things will happen:

  1. It will create a habit. Dr. Maxwell Maltz was the first proponent that it takes about 21 days to create a habit. Was he right? Who knows and who cares, it just seems to work (at least with my clients this theory has never failed). At par, here is the good news: IT IS EASIER TO CREATE A HABIT THAN TO BREAK IT; and it gets even better, when you break a habit the worn-in synaptic pathways will only weaken without use, but they will never go away. They can be reactivated with the slightest provocation.
  2. All humans are social animals that love patterns and routines. As mentioned above, by going to the gym for 21 days you will become familiar with the employees and patrons, and you will become a member of the “(X) Gym Clan”. Have you ever gone to the grocery store or coffee shop and seen someone that belongs to your church, social club, etc. that you have never said a word to, and all of the sudden you are exchanging warm pleasantries with them as if you have known them for years? Well, it is the “clan phenomena” in full effect. What happens when you move away from the clan? You start missing them. What happens when you break a routine? You feel uncomfortable. Therefore, use this need to belong to a clan and to have some sort of routine in your life to your advantage. Try to go to the gym about the same time, so you can solidify the routine.
  3. If you go to the gym every day and all that you do is walk around, checking things out, you will feel either awkward at best or like a creep at worst. Thus, you will be compelled to start doing something and utilizing the equipment. Perhaps one day you want to try the bike, on another the pool, the next day the weights… who knows. But before you know it you will start taking action, and doing. Once you start doing, you start creating patterns, and those turn in to routines which end up as habits. I do request one thing from you, please do not go to the gym to park yourself in a weight training station and start playing candy crusher or checking your Facebook on your phone. Not cool, and the clan will get angry and outcast you, and you don’t want that.

Finally, if you want to boost your brand new habit, try the Pavlov trick, better known as “anchoring.” Every time you walk towards the gym, do so standing tall, with your core engaged, chest open, your gaze upwards, and smile as soon as you open the door to the gym (yes… you can fake it). What you are doing is anchoring feelings of goodness to opening the door of the gym. I have done this for many years, that no matter how tired I am, any time I open that door I feel invigorated and ready to go.

I wish you the best, and hope you don’t end up throwing your money in the garbage like 88% of the people that have joined a gym have done so far.

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