My wife and I joined a gym that kicks off its membership with a six-week challenge to lose 20 pounds and get a refund of the cost of the six-week challenge.
Neither one of us hit the 20-pound goal, but we did lose 17 pounds and we both felt great at the end of the challenge, and we extended our memberships for a year-long contract.
Unfortunately, as is so common with these things, our nutrition plan got loose and permissive; and due to a variety of factors, not the least of which was the sleepless and busy nature of raising an infant, our workout frequency dropped off dramatically and we ended up gaining back some percentage of what we had lost.
Fast forward a few months, I found myself not wanting to go to the gym at all and wanting to cancel my membership. I had developed a finely-crafted set of criticisms and complaints about how they run their business, effectively souring my perspective.
Then one morning as I was contemplating this problem, I looked at the numbers and realized it would cost $300 – three months’ worth of membership fees – to cancel my membership ahead of schedule, and that I would basically be paying them to say a big fat NO to the opportunity of working out up to four times per week in a clean environment, led by a competent instructor.
It wasn’t even a “clean” NO! It was a NO filled with resentment, irritation, frustration, blame… All kinds of destructive emotion that had nothing to do with actually getting in shape, and may even have something to do with continually being overweight and tired.
I realized that this was counter-productive to the project I’d started months earlier when I’d gotten clear that being fit and healthy was of paramount importance. I realized that I was considering investing in the luxury of saying NO to a pathway to fulfilling that commitment.
I reframed the issue. I clarified that I’m paying for the opportunity to do a good, guided workout 2-4 times per week, and that were I to seize that opportunity, I could very well have the level of fitness and health and vitality that I desire by the time my contract is complete.
I decided to continue my membership for the remaining nine months – to invest in a big fat YES to the fulfillment of my desire and the attainment of those values.
So to summarize, I’d come to the conclusion that investing $900 over the course of 9 months in a YES to my body being strong, fit, lean, and looking great was a much better investment than $300 to tell them to jump off a cliff.
Is this wisdom? Am I growing out of the need to flip the bird wherever I can, whenever I run up against my own limitations? Seems like it might be, but it’s too early to tell.
Time to sign off, change my shoes, and go hit the gym.