What I learned from New Year’s resolution gym guy failure

With Christmas, eggnog, and multiple tins of Danish cookies in the rear-view, we’ve hit that time of the year when everybody starts talking about hitting the gym and getting in shape. Or, giving up Newport cigarettes. Well, maybe both.

For some folks, these New Year’s resolutions are life changers. They become gym rats and next year can just focus on cutting out starchy foods or something.

For a lot of others, however, they’ll be having this same conversation in 2015 because they either never made it to the gym, or once they did and logged in a few Facebook statuses and an awkward treadmill selfie, the wind left their sails and pretty soon they quit showing up.

Now there’s a laundry list of reasons, and excuses, that keep people from achieving their fitness resolutions, but there two types of New Year’s fitness resolution failure guys who stand out in my mind. (Of course these can, and often have been, ladies as well, but “guy” just sounds better in the titles.)

The first type is “I’m waiting until I’m in shape to make my gym appearance” guy.

I’m not sure how this happened, but apparently somewhere along the line, this guy got it in his head that everyone is required to enter the gym like it’s a 1995 WCW match. So, of course he’s not about to walk in, assuming all eyes are on him as “Smells Like Teen Spirit” plays in the background, until he overcomes his post-eggnog bloat.

Spoiler alert: This guy’s misconception prevents him from making it to the gym in January and then once February hits, it’s just easier to eat heart-shaped deliciousness instead.

The second type is “I’m now a gym member — game, match, set” guy.

If you’ve ever met this guy, it probably wasn’t at the gym. Sure, he went, he has the membership and Four Square check-in to prove it, but the problem is right after that he checked “get in shape” off on his resolution list. After a few weeks, and with his goal “met,” he lost motivation and started ditching his workouts.

He probably unofficially bailed on Valentine’s Day as well, but don’t you dare mention it. He’s still got that membership pass on his key chain and isn’t afraid to tout it. It kind of makes you wonder if his goal was to get in shape or simply get a t-shirt.

When I first started thinking about these two types of people, I kind of figured they’d each have their own set of problems, but what I realized is they are actually both suffering from the same misconception.

Both guys failed to make the changes they aimed for in their lives because they were viewing the gym as the end of the goal, rather than the beginning.

A similar misconceptions often gives people trouble when it comes to Christianity — viewing becoming a Christian as the end goal, rather than the beginning of a relationship.

This mindset causes some people to think they can’t join the church until they first get themselves in better shape.

They feel like they’ve got to clean up, stop listening unedited gangster rap, quit smoking, and get a fancy hipster scarf before ever considering gracing the doors of a Bible study or youth group karaoke night.

You see, somewhere along the line they were misinformed that the church was full of only non-smoking, non-rap music listening, shined up, collared shirt-wearing folks, who don’t have problem or issues, and don’t struggle with sin. And unfortunately, it won’t take much more than one snarky look or comment from a “church-goer” to confirm this in their own minds.

Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth, I mean if they kicked struggling folks out, my picture would be on the wall by the door. But regardless, if a person believes it, he or she can become super self-conscious and it can become a powerful deterrent to he or she ever joining the church.

Then there’s the second type, the person who checks off his or her to-do list as soon as he or she becomes a Christian.

This person might have taken a very big step in becoming a Christian, but he or she doesn’t really see anymore steps after that and sooner or later will likely quit looking all together.

It’s a pretty common trap to fall into because let’s face it, becoming a Christian is the biggest decision a person can make in his or her life, so a little let down after taking the plunge is a nature thing. It can kind of have that post-vacation drive home feeling to it.

But unlike your beach trip, the plunge is just the beginning of this trip, and sure, making the decision to take it was huge, but so is making the decision each day to continue traveling.

Of course if a person feels like the journey is over, what reason does he or she have to keep moving? How soon will it be before he or she gets beat with walking in place and decides maybe that plunge wasn’t such a big deal after-all?

Like the gym, Christianity should be a place filled with people constantly working to better themselves. No one should feel the need show up the first day in shape, and likewise, no one should ever be so bold as to think there’s not an area left for him or her to improve on.

Getting to the gym and becoming a Christian are both great, but they are also both beginnings, rather than ends.

— @TravisKWilliams





About travman44

I work as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia. I play as a writer specializing in deep thoughts on shallow, and occasionally not so shallow, subjects. I'm also a former history teacher, bible college alum, and lover of the NBA and kids' breakfast cereals. It's a delicate blend. -- @TravisKWilliams on Twitter
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