A funny thing will occur in gyms all across the country in the early part of 2018.  It is something that happened in the early part of nearly every year since the modern health club was established decades ago.  Scores of enthusiastic patrons will sign up for a new membership and make the same New Year’s Resolution that they made last year – “This is the year I finally get into shape, lose the fat, and improve my health!”  Unfortunately the vast majority of these patrons won’t make it to February before they are back into their old habits.

Why does this scenario repeat itself year after year?  Is everyone just lazy?

After nearly 15 years in the personal training industry, my observation has been that laziness really isn’t the driving factor behind this epidemic of failure.  The primary reason that people fail is because they never actually develop a workable plan of action necessary for success.  They are simply drifting along hoping that they will make their goals.  When you don’t have a plan, everything occurs at random, and random never leads to success.

Randomly going to the gym when a window of free time opens up, is not a plan.  Unfortunately, busy working adults don’t have too many windows of free time open up for them.  You have to make the time!  This might mean eliminating some of your other professional and personal commitments.

If a doctor diagnosed you with a serious illness and asked that you come in twice per week for 1 hour of treatment – the majority of people would make the time in their schedule to make this happen.  But most don’t approach exercise with the same level of seriousness.  One thing I always like to tell my prospective clients is that you can make the time for exercise now, or make the time for illness later.  Which one would you rather sacrifice a few hours of your week for?

When I start working with a new personal training client, the most important goal for the first several weeks is simply to show up.  It takes time, effort, and discipline to establish a new pattern of behavior.  There will always be reasons to avoid the workout.  But clients have to learn how to get organized with their schedule, learn how to prioritize important commitments like exercise, and most importantly they have to learn how to say NO to potential distractions.

There are a few very helpful steps you can take to help make your commitment last past February this year:

  • Plan for a morning workout.  My most consistent personal training clients almost always train in the morning.  They get this out of the way first before any unexpected obstacles spring up.
  • Don’t over commit. Dramatic physical change in your health or your level of fitness isn’t necessarily a 7-day per week commitment.  If you have a habit of falling off the wagon, just commit to 2 days per week of serious exercise.  If you do that every week in 2015, that’s 104 workouts.  Did you do 104 workouts last year?  Overcommitting to a schedule you can’t meet is not good for your mindset.  When you start missing some of those sessions you’ll be frustrated with yourself, and you’ll be more likely to give up on the whole endeavor.  But if you set a goal of twice per week and you make it – you’ll create positive mental momentum that carries you forward.