It must be wonderful to own a gym. Every day you get to accompany ordinary people on their journeys from floppiness to fitness, and you get to witness individuals achieving their goals using nothing but willpower, tenacity and your expertise. Best of all, you sell more annual memberships in January than any other time of the year, but you only need to provide membership privileges to most of your new members for a few weeks. According to research, four per cent of all people who join a gym in January quit by the end of the month, 14 per cent quit by the end of February, and 80 per cent quit within five months. To be honest, I would have thought those percentages would be the other way around.
So why don’t more people go to the gym, and why do so many of those who do go quit so easily? I don’t know for sure and I have no relevant statistics to share, so I will make some assumptions based on my personal experience and my limited knowledge of people.
First, I think some people quit or don’t even start because of self-consciousness. They don’t want to go into
a gym which they assume will be full of fit, muscular, motivated people who will only make them feel worse about themselves.
Second, I think it is just too much hassle for many people. Going to the gym in the morning means getting up earlier, and going in the evening means they need to make an extra effort when they are already tired after a day’s work. It also means carrying around a change of clothes, toiletries and other personal products.
Third, I believe that many people just can’t afford to spend money on a gym membership. If they can afford it, they fear they will be wasting the money on something they subconsciously know they won’t use as often or for as long as they intended.
However, in my opinion, many people use one (or more) of the above challenges as an excuse for not going to the gym because they simply don’t want to. It is only the social pressure to look good that makes them even think about it.
In my humble and completely unqualified opinion, if you are genuinely happy with the way you are, then nothing else matters. Be who you are and be happy. True happiness alone will extend your life expectancy. If you’re worried about fitness, take the stairs for the last few floors instead of taking the lift all the way. Get out of the taxi a kilometer away from your destination and walk the rest. Walk up and down escalators instead of just standing still. Eat what you like but don’t eat too much. Drink what you like but don’t drink too much. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and don’t pretend you don’t know how much is “too much”.