The Gym Partner Strategy to Building Discipline
“I want to read more”
“I want to drink less”
Well, when I was eighteen, I wanted to get ripped.
I left school thin and scrawny, so top of the list for post-school life was to get ripped and impress girls.
So I joined a gym.
And I only went every-so often. The first time you go to the gym I’m afraid to say is absolutely terrifying. You don’t know how to use any of the equipment and are afraid of looking like a fool on a very public stage.
Then one day, I realised my friend Carl had signed up at the same gym. As such I stumbled upon the next greatest discovery since gyms were invented – the gym partner.
Suddenly two people were accountable to one another, supporting one another. Suddenly I would be picking Carl up on the way to our work-outs.
And work-out frequency increased.
Then our Gym relocated
We went our separate ways but for the years after I consistently maintained my discipline around working out, but I now did it alone.
We don’t use the gym partner strategy in other important areas of life
Online courses have a 98% drop-out rate – this statistic is well documented.
Like signing up for a gym membership, the initial opt-in is very aspirational, prompted perhaps by a new year’s resolution that comes from an impulse rather than a serious commitment.
Yet last week I completed an online course that ran from midnight to 3am five days in a row. How?
I did it with other people
Don’t forget that our ancestors come from tribes – and so belonging to the group is still hard-wired into us. It is important to manipulate belonging to our advantage, rather than our downfall.
People will drop out of online courses and not show up to the gym, but they will commit to both when they go through it with a group.
We think of any number of ways to build discipline and do complicated things – so often we overlook the most simple and most powerful.
Without relying on someone, or anyone, try not to do things on your own all the time.
How to drink less and read more
It helps when you have a community with the same goal, with the same mindset. It helps to use the gym partner strategy.
There’s Alcoholics Anonymous, and there’s our Alohomora Digital Book Club.
One skill that will never hurt you – learning how to meet and work effectively with others.
Who do you think of when you read this? Would this piece ‘open a door’ for someone you know? If so, share it with them.