Don’t Join the Gym…Not on Jan 1st


It’s Jan. 1, so I feel obligated to write this one warning: no matter what, don’t join the gym. Not when you are under the enormous pressure to change your life. But one in eight of us will cave under that pressure. You will dust off the unused membership card you finally found under a pile of health magazines, pristine as when you first got it, or you will sign up for a membership to a gym, ignoring the petition of your spouse pointing to the total-gym machine you got last New Year in your basement and the well-equipped fitness clubhouse which is part of your HOA fee and a sneaker’s-throw from your home. It’s different this year, you tell your spouse as you suit up in your new sneakers.

The second week of January in a gym is like the Vatican court on Easter, sardine-packed with seasonal guests. You can tell the regulars from the seasonal; they head back out with an audible sigh when they see a line on the elliptical. But they will patiently wait it out because by mid-February, the regulars will have their lockers and their ellipticals back as 60 percent of membership is destined to disappear. When the bill comes, the $50 dollars deducted will leave you feeling worse than before, not just about not having worked out since that first and only day in the gym, but having failed on another New Year’s resolution.

So don’t join the gym.

I am not advising a you-can’t-fail-if-you-don’t-try-method. I am warning against making promises under pressure. Such promises are like a warm spell in winter. They don’t last. Once the pressure is gone, so is the motivation for the promise. Any New Year’s resolution is a collective social pressure to change yourself….

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