29 December 2015

No! You Will Not …

On King Street (main commercial street) in Alexandria VA there was a promotional booth for a (fancy) gym last weekend. The two men promoting the gym’s services approached passers-by and explained how each training program is designed by I don’t know what specialist.

Being in a rather bad mood at the time, my gut-reaction was: You Suckers!

Late December is a fantastic time to sell annual gym memberships at a premium. It is the perfect time to charge a lot for something that will not be used that much. This time of year lots of people make resolutions for the New Year to come, including going to the gym (more often). Coupling this wishful thinking and over-optimism with the large amount of money spent on Christmas festivities, paying 1000$ on a one year gym membership (discounted from 1200$, of course) makes all the sense in the world.

Gyms are full in January and virtually unpopulated starting mid-February.

The filled with optimism final days of any year are a fabulous time to sell, among others, the most expensive clothes racks and dust gatherers. I’m talking about home-gym appliances.

If you wish to get back in shape and restore the look you had in your early 20s, I strongly advise to become realistic. The early 20s look is long gone and will forever be so.

However, the over-inflated optimism can be put to good use for yourself, not for the marketers who sell you things that you’ll probably not use much.

If there’s one useful lesson from behavioral science, that is:

Who controls the context controls the behavior.  

Are you controlling the context? Because for sure the context controls you to a very large extent.

If you want to get in shape, buying 100 gym subscriptions and 10.000 home gym appliances won’t do much good as long as your context is the same as last year. Making changes in your daily context will help you.

Begin by rearranging your kitchen and eating space (Slim by Design by Brian Wansink is a great source of inspiration).

Join a food delivery service such as Hello Fresh and cook!

Walk! And take the long way home, literally! Get one of those activity monitoring devices such as fitbit to motivate you to make a few more steps. You could also try moving to a different home, though that is a bit difficult.

Discover where the stairs are in the building you live or work… use them, they will not bite even if you climb them.

Probably the most effective way of getting back in shape is to go back on the mating market - start dating, fall in love etc. While highly effective, this approach is a bit difficult for people in committed relationships.   

I wish you a good and down to Earth 2016.  

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