It’s about a week into the new year and there is no “New Me” (as expected). I have no regrets about how many times I’ve eaten pasta or how much I’ve spent on cocktails. I’ve been to the gym once so far and plan to go again. Soonish. The exact date or time has not been set, but I am serious about getting back into a routine and am planning to take the necessary steps to make it happen.
Based on my extensive research and experience, there are a number of important things that need to happen before one can get back to the gym. I’ve broken them down into two phases…
Phase 1: Investigation
1. Identify the gym that is closest to where you spend your time. Mine is the one right across from my office, and unfortunately, even with the 15 minute train ride, it’s the closest one to my apartment too…which means I’m so much less likely to go on a weekend.
2. Make a note of when the gym you want to go to us open. Spoiler: Everyday. Remind yourself that you probably won’t go everyday.
3. Start a Pinterest board for inspiration, pin a bunch of workouts. Mine is called Fit-spiration and I’ll admit that despite all the pushup/squat/plank challenges and resistant band workouts I’ve pinned, I have done zero of them.
4. Purchase all new workout gear. Colorful leggings with cool cut outs and cute tops that say things like “Strong is the New Skinny” and “I Don’t Sweat, I Sparkle”.
5. Browse the group fitness classes that are offered and immediately disregard 95% of them because they seem unnecessarily difficult. #ionlydozumba
This might sound like an unnecessary waste of time and money, but the investigation phase is crucial! Not only does it pump you up so you’re inspired to tackle this new challenge, it provides a bit of a reality check and makes you realize that you will not become the next Jillian Michaels because you are inherently lazy and will not work out for four hours a day.
Now that you know where the gym is, when it’s open, and some exercises you want to try, it’s time to go!
Phase 2: Implementation
1. Schedule recurring “gym” blocks on your Google calendar and duplicated these appointments in the new planner you bought yourself for Christmas so it looks like you have plans.
2. Buy a lock for your locker! This is important. I have definitely not worked out before because I didn’t have a lock.
3. Sign up for a gym membership if you don’t have one already. You’ll feel like Ariel in The Little Mermaid signing your life away. Remind yourself how much you’ll be paying each month. If you don’t go, you will feel guilty.
4. Pack a gym bag and bring it to work and tell your one work friend that you’re planning on going to the gym at lunch or after work. They’ll send you a passive aggressive email that starts with “It was my understanding that…” if you don’t go, and you will feel guilty.
5. Wear your new workout clothes on the weekend when you run errands or when you go to brunch so you always have the option to go to the gym afterwards. If you make brunch plans near your gym, it’ll be so close that if you don’t go you will feel guilty.
So by “implementation”, I actually mean make yourself feel really guilty for not going. Once you feel guilty enough, you’ll actually go. And even if you half ass your workout, you went and it’s a good first step.
Eventually, going will become a habit and you’ll enjoy it, the people at the front desk will at least recognize you, and the building security guard will wave at you excitedly every time he sees you. One day you’ll actually talk to him and contemplate asking him out for coffee, but you don’t because you realize that if you went out and he turned out to be The Moaner 2.0 (see When is a Deal Breaker Really a Deal Breaker), things would get awkward and you wouldn’t be able to go to the gym anymore… and right now, going to the gym is priority.