How many of you out there started a fitness program by buying something expensive like a big piece of exercise equipment or a long-term plan at the gym? And how often did you think, “If I paid all this money for it, I’ll surely stick with it!”? Did ya think feeling guilty about your purchase would make you work out? Did it work? Or do you have an extremely fancy place to hang fine washables otherwise known as a treadmill?
Look, I myself have gone down this path many times. And it has failed me many times. Because there is a very annoyed little kid inside me that resents being coerced into exercise based on guilt. And she rebels. That kids says, “No way! I ain’t gonna play!”
This cycle of spending money, feeling guilty about spending money, trying to use that guilt to fuel an exercise routine, not exercising and feeling extremely mad at myself went on for a long time in my life. In fact, I had to declare a moratorium in order to stop the cycle. I can remember for a period of two years here in Los Angeles, I took a moderately-priced and absolutely fantastic dance class. You could for the classes one at a time, or pay in groups of 10 or 30 classes. Of course the more classes you bought at one time, the cheaper the class was. One day, the teacher finally asked me, “Why do you not buy a group pass, when you come week after week?” I finally admitted, “You know, I think I come week after week because I never bought a group pass.” Yup, this was a cheap Jedi mind trick, but it worked for me. I went to that class two or three times every week for nearly two years.
I think this is because handing the money over for each class allowed it to feel like a treat. I had saved up for that class and was lucky to get to dance rather than fulfilling an obligation. It may seem crazy that I went through all of that and paid extra money because I couldn’t get my inner kid to stop pouting over my previous and devious attempts to fuel exercise with money. But that kid pouts to this day. And I still pay for exercise options a little at a time.
Now that I teach exercise and sell books and DVDs and sell training, of course I’d love for people to make big investments in exercise. But I really just want people to work out and learn to love their bodies and love exercise again. And I’d rather that folks just buy a book and then read it or buy a DVD and then watch it, than have them buy a gabillion dollars worth of my stuff and never use it.
So my little chicklettes, I’m encouraging you to dip your toe in the water. Try before you buy. Just buy one book or one DVD. Buy one week of training or consulting. Find a gym that doesn’t penalize you too heavily for paying weekly or monthly. Because working out is not an obligation to be dreaded, but a very special treat.
The Fat Chick
I often find that every time I try to buy a solution rather than work a solution, it flops. I thought of this today as I sorted through my piles of notecards, birthday cards, etc. I want to be the type of person who remembers birthdays… but buying more cards is NOT going to help!
I’ve also always found guilt to be a demotivator rather than a motivator.