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So I have done something recently that most people will only be doing in a few weeks time. Hopefully I will have already beaten most of those people in terms of time spent on this as well. At least that’s what all the statistics we are presented with say.

In just over 2 weeks time, as part of their new year’s resolution, lots of people will be joining a gym. It’s a good thing to do. We get regularly told about the obesity epidemic in the country and the effect that will have on the health system, especially in years to come.   Most we are lead to believe will go a couple of times, spend a lot of money via direct debits in not attending and final cancel having only visited a few times in the months they have subscribed.

I’ve beaten the New Year rush and joined up early.   I’ve done this before but this time it seems to be sticking, so I’m looking at why. There are a few things that contribute to this so here’s my guide to making going to a gym stick, or at least stick a little longer!

The first and most important thing is don’t go alone!   Finding someone to go with is vital if you are going to make it stick. Not only does it make you accountable to someone else, but it will help make it a little more of a social event as well. In this it is important to try to find someone on a similar level as splitting up as soon as you get to the gym is the same as working out alone.   A smile from a friend when you are both exhausted on the treadmill can help a lot. Having someone to exercise with will also help with encouraging each other. There will be times when you should go but don’t feel like it and in that situation having someone else to encourage you will get you to the gym when you don’t feel like it. A side effect of this is less opportunity to feel guilty about not going as it’s less likely to happen.

The second is before you start, work out when you and your gym buddy can go. Obviously there will be things that get in the way occasionally, but if you have regular times you have committed to, it makes it easier. You know in advance when you will be there and can plan other stuff around it. There is through a second trick to this as well, though I accept it won’t be easy for everyone. When planning this out, plan for double the time you plan to spend at the gym, or longer if possible. This isn’t for travel, changing, etc, but to give you both flexibility of when you turn up.   If you have a fixed ‘hour’ slot each week, if you find you’re going to be 20 mins late, you’re more likely to cancel altogether. However if you have a few hours put aside, then it can take place any ‘hour’ during that time. In that situation it becomes a more likely event then a less likely one!

The third is to ignore people. I don’t mean this in a rude way and there will, hopefully, be people you meet at the gym and people often form friendships there. What I’m angling at is not letting yourself be intimidated by some of the people there. Especially when you are starting out it is easy to look at others on the treadmill going faster, people on the weights lifting heavier and feel you are wasting your time. The thing to try to remember is that as good as they may be, there are still people who would make them look slow. Everyone goes at their own pace and should not be worried about other people’s pace.

And that’s it. No majorly long list. Just three things. Obviously in all of this you have to really want to do it. If it is a half-hearted ‘let’s have a go’ then it will soon fall to the bottom of the list of things to do, but then if that is the case, then these three things won’t help anyway.