Habits: How to Motivate Your Members to Make the Good and Break the Bad
by Carly Miller
Motivate Healthy Habits
Starting a new fitness journey is starting a new habit. It’s pretty easy to see how members are progressing or sticking to a routine by the number of times they’re checking in to the gym, attending classes, or taking advantage of your services. But there are other factors, or old habits that are hard to break, that may be holding them back from getting started and/or meeting their goals. Consider how you and your staff currently interact with your members to see if you can make modifications that will positively impact their motivation.
Easing Into a New Schedule
The hard part for me when starting a new workout routine is fitting it into my schedule when I want it to happen. Ideally, I’d wake up early and head to the gym, so I won’t be busy or less motivated to go later in the day. But some days when that alarm goes off at 5am, I just want to keep hitting snooze!
My coworker, Andi, offered a great system she has used to change her sleeping schedule:
“If I wake up at 8am every day, it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to flip a switch and expect myself to wake up at 5. That is without 3 alarms, turning on the lights and pressing the snooze button at least twice.
Forming habits is a bit like applying a formula to your daily routine. Employing a “jet lag” mentality to waking up 3 hours earlier may work traversing time zones, but it isn’t a method I’ve found effective in the long term. What I have found effective is planning out wake up times over the course of a few weeks. For example, in week 1 I’ll plan to wake up at 7:30am every day. As the weeks progress, I wake up a bit earlier until by week 5, I’m waking up at 5am. Pressing the snooze button twice will still happen but giving yourself grace throughout the transition can help you focus long-term.”
I love this plan, however it’s the weeks of waking up earlier but not early enough to fit in a gym session that can be tough. How can you be the angel on your member’s shoulder when their cozy, warm bed is beckoning them to lay down for just 5 more minutes? Using a club branded app can help you deliver personalized and curated on-demand fitness content. Additionally, you can create a group to send the workout of the day, create challenges, and boost interactions with and between members.
Understanding It’s a Lifestyle Change, Not a Diet
I’m sure when most members start a new program, they go in fully rather than taking their time and adjusting to a new routine. I know I’ve been a victim of my own delusions of grandeur when it comes to working out or changing how and what I eat.
Very similar to Andi’s sleep schedule advice, making incremental adjustments can help create healthy eating habits. But I think the biggest concern and where you can motivate your members the most is those times when they slip up. It’s inevitable…a bad day at work, a late night out with friends, pizza just sounded good…we’re going to give in to our cravings, and for some, this can derail the progress they’ve made.
To motivate healthy habits, you should encourage your members to understand that their progress is a marathon not a sprint helps to keep their mindset in the right place. Remind members to track their meals on your club branded app and checking in with them occasionally can help them get back, and stay, on track. Have your trainers take some time to review the changes they’ve made to see if they’re too extreme or don’t easily fit in with their daily activities. Sometimes small adjustments are all that are needed to make a habit successful or reduce any shame a member may feel when they falter.
Taking Time for Themselves
In the 2022 Market Research Report, participants were asked their goals for fitness and exercise. Surprisingly, losing weight decreased from the previous year, but maintaining or improving mental health and stress relief jumped to the second goal right under being active. As you’re talking to members, make sure you’re touching on the importance of mental health and the activities they can do in and outside of the gym. One thing I think is important is to keep a journal, especially if tracking their progress toward their goals and implementing new habits.
For many, we forget that just because the numbers on the scale aren’t decreasing, doesn’t mean progress isn’t being made. When you and your staff are checking in with members, encourage them to take a few minutes each day to reflect on where they’re at in their fitness journey. This can help members see results whether it’s the way they feel, their pants are fitting a little bit looser, or they skipped the birthday cake in the office breakroom. These are all motivations that are often forgotten because we focus too much on the scale, and we all need a reminder that we’re doing our best.
They say it takes 28 days to form a new habit and, on average, 3 months to retain a member. Consistent check-ins and changing the way your staff interacts with your members can motivate healthy habits, increase your member retention and grow your business.
About the Author
Carly Miller is a Product Marketing Manager for ABC Fitness Solutions. You can catch her walking her dog, Elliot, or giving her trainer a dirty look when she’s told to do more lunges.