By January 31st, many of us will have abandoned our New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Here’s how to motivate yourself to go to the gym — or cut your losses.
Updated: January 31, 2018
It may be almost over for you.
You know it, I know it, and the data proves it: By January 31, more than one in three of you will have already abandoned your new year’s resolutions, a six-month long study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found. Come June, less than half of you will still be at it. The most common resolution you’ll break: Losing weight/getting healthy, which one in five people say is among their biggest annual goals.
Americans spend an average of $58 a month on gym memberships, despite the fact that 67% of us don’t use them, according to data from Statista. But even those who do go to the gym don’t go often enough to make it financially worth it. A study of more than 7,700 gym members over three years by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found that members who signed up for a contract with a flat monthly fee went to the gym on average of just 4.3 times in a month, which averaged out to $17 per visit; they would have been better off, the researchers concluded, by buying one-off passes for the day.
So it’s key you either find a way to motivate yourself to hit that treadmill or cut your losses.
Make a list, check it twice. Then tell a friend.
Set clear goals — and name someone to hold you accountable for them. Put workout times and dates on your calendar, know what you plan to do achieve at each session and then have someone to hold you accountable to the schedule. Research by psychology professor Gail Matthews at Dominican University in California found that 76% of people who wrote down their goals, made detailed plans for how to achieve them, and sent weekly progress reports of their goals had either achieved or were on track to achieve those goals; that is compared with less than half who just thought about their goals.
Getting addicted takes longer than you think.
You may have heard that it will take 21 days to make something a habit. That “rule” has been around since the ‘60s, and new research debunks it. A study published in 2009 in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that it takes people an average of 66 days of doing something each day — like going for a short run each night — before it becomes a habit. (You can miss one time of doing the activity without having a huge impact, but don’t make that a habit)
Figure out your exit strategy.
If 66-days and a detailed plan just isn’t going to happen for you, consider canceling your gym membership. ASAP. Research from the University of California at Berkeley found that, on average, more than two months lapses between when we stop going to the gym and when we get around to canceling that membership. The average cost of not canceling: $187, the researchers found.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, as this now-viral Reddit post — a man’s open letter to his gym to cancel his membership — reminds us. If you don’t qualify for cancellation under your gym’s terms, remember this: Your state may have consumer protections that apply. Some states have rules on when you’re allowed to cancel, for example. Don’t feel like doing the legwork to cancel? Sites like GetHuman.com and Trim will try to cancel for you, though they will charge a fee.
This story was originally published on MarketWatch and was originally published in January 2017.
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