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Making New Year's Resolutions That Stick

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Angie PattengaleAngie Pattengale

It's hard to believe it's that time of year again. We all know what this means, right? It means more than a few million New Year's resolutions. It is estimated that 40% of all Americans make a New Year's resolution, and most are related to some area of self-improvement. Resolving to improve one's health, fitness and wellbeing are common, admirable goals. So, how can we create a win-win that keeps that resolution steam rolling?

Here are a few ideas to get some New Year's faces in the door and sticking to the program:

  1. 1. A New Year's Party - Okay, maybe the gym isn't the place most people want to be at the stroke of midnight December 31st. But, they'll be ready come January 1st, and you can be there to kick off their "New Year, New You" attitude. Consider this kind of celebratory theme and create a party style atmosphere that says, "fitness is fun," as you walk through the door. Offer an open gym, a free personal training assessment, a tasting of healthy snacks and drinks: no strings, just free fun and fitness!
  2. 2. New Year's Challenge - Everyone loves a good challenge, and we all thrive with accountability. Help new and prospective members set reasonable goals that you know will provide results when followed. It is key to the success of the challenge that attainability over time be part of the formula. Not everyone will be challenged by the same thing... goals are personal. Also, the types of goals which come with the "getting fit" territory do not happen in one week or one month; it is crucially important going into a long-term challenge that the participant understand this and even that they understand why this is (to the degree that they don't need to be a physiologist to get it). An example of a New Year's Challenge might be to offer a free personal training assessment that is followed up by discounted CPT services for three months. After three months, if they have reached the personal goal established together with the trainer, they get some type of incentive to keep going. This does not have to be a weight goal. The goal could be in the form of some other measurable increment. As long as the challenge that is established is reasonable and there is a foreseeable finish line, then you can help yourself by helping the new member to reach their goal.
  3. 3. New Year's Goal Incentives - Fitness goals are attained in increments over time; quick fitness fixes are the wishful thinking of impractical optimists. Set the goals established by the challenge and then incentivize steps along the way. Draw out a flowchart of sorts for the process and show them (with your artistic skill or use some app or program to create an illustration). Illustrate each step along the way with gold stars at finish lines that represent the next phase in the challenge (gold stars could be literal but definitely figurative). When they meet the goal and move to the next phase, give them something that is of value to them (ideally, something with $0 hard cost or close). This could be a massage with your staff therapist, a personal training session(s), free tanning, discounted membership dues or give them a choice at each stage and let them decide (the "prizes" could get bigger and better along the way of their challenge). Maybe, if they make it all the way through the year and reach every goal, they pay no club dues the following year.

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