It's that time of year again, when the gyms fill up and everyone starts planning how this year is going to be different.
We are going to get in shape, get ahead at work, get involved at church or do more in the community. For about a month.
And then, that wagon starts a-bucking and a-shaking and we fall off.
I regularly visit a couple of on-line communities for people interested in endurance sports and every January, the whining begins: "The gym is too crowded" "Someone is on my spin bike" "A slow person is in my lane" "People are walking on the treadmill" "I can't get on an elliptical machine" "How long until these Resolutioneers are gone?"
It's almost like people see the gym as an us versus them struggle.
Why not embrace the newbies?
Aren't we all at the gym to get in better shape? Isn't everyone happier as we get in better shape? Aren't looser clothes more comfortable than tight ones?
Full disclosure here => I had to wear a suit to work a couple of weeks ago and I chose one of the ones that I bought and wore before the girls were born. The jacket was fine (one of my work buddies thought it was too big), but the pants turned out to be too tight, way too tight, and hurt me all day. It was torturous. I was seriously crabby just because of those stupid pants. Now, can you imagine if all of your pants felt that way? Like they were torturing you? Biting into your waist all day? Reminding you that you used to be smaller? How pleasant would you be? How much would you be giving (time, energy, kindness) to those around you if all you could think of were those damn pants?
So, give the new folks a break this month. They have taken the first step and are poised on the edge of making activity a habit! That is such a great thing!
Help them out if they don't know how the treadmills work or where to find the paper towels to wipe off the equipment or that they even need to wipe off the equiment. Show them how to set up the spin bikes and where the earplugs are. Offer to split your lane or circle-swim.
Give advice or answer questions if someone asks you.
Because you could make the difference between the newbies feeling welcome and coming back and making activity their habit or getting discouraged again and quitting. Soon, those folks that stick with it will be getting in better shape and their pants will fit better and they will be getting stronger and happier and that is good for everyone.
Happy New Year!