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Did you know that 45% of us drop our New Year’s resolution after just a month! What’s the point in having them anyway, right?

Interestingly, you might be more aware of this fact, that 67% of gym memberships go unused.

So are we all just naturally lazy people or is there perhaps a reason why some can stay motivated daily and stick to a program, while others fall off? Hmm…


To understand this better, we did some homework on the science behind motivation. Ready for this? Turns out that play is the strongest motivator for behavioral sustained changes, according to scientific studies. Sounds so simple right? Do the things that you love and work will be more fun, kinda like play time. Hence, the old saying, when you find a job that you love, you will never work another day in your life again. So where are we going with this and how can this apply to you?

We realize that most of us got into the business of owning a gym because we are passionate about our own health, enjoy helping others and love CrossFit. At the end of the day, as a gym owner our goals are to build a sustainable business & the healthiest community possible. But it seems that more often than not, the business of owning a gym is by nature very time consuming due to the fact that there are many areas of the business to manage. Does this sound familiar?

“I got into this business because I love CrossFit, wanted to share my passion, and turn it into a business. But i did not realize how many sleepless nights would go into this line of work and I feel at times that the day to day admin work is draining me, and the passion I once had is waining.” – gym owner

We don’t have a magic cure for this problem, but we do know that it most likely has to do with balance. If you are spending too much time managing and not enough time with your community, then you need to schedule your time better. It’s important that you feel rested each day and ready, so that you can provide your members with the level of support and care they deserve, but also that you are capable of. Making sure that you schedule time to do the things that you love in your gym is important and here’s why.

Psychologists have identified three critical elements that support motivation, all of which you can tweak to your & your gym community’s benefit.


1. Autonomy

Whether you pursue an activity for its own sake or because external forces compel you, psychologists Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan of the University of Rochester argue that you gain motivation when you feel in charge. In evaluations of students, athletes and employees, the researchers have found that the perception of autonomy predicts the energy with which individuals pursue a goal.

In 2006 Deci and Ryan, with psychologist Arlen C. Moller, designed several experiments to evaluate the effects of feeling controlled versus self-directed. They found that subjects given the opportunity to select a course of action based on their own opinions (for example, giving a speech for or against teaching psychology in high school) persisted longer in a subsequent puzzle-solving activity than participants who were either given no choice or pressured to select one side over another. Deci and Ryan posit that acting under duress is taxing, whereas pursuing a task you endorse is energizing.

2. Value

Motivation also blossoms when you stay true to your beliefs and values. Assigning value to an activity can restore one’s sense of autonomy, a finding of great interest to educators. In a 2010 review article, University of Maryland psychologists Allan Wigfield and Jenna Cambria noted that several studies have found a positive correlation between valuing a subject in school and a student’s willingness to investigate a question independently.

The good news is that value can be modified. In 2009 University of Virginia psychologist Christopher S. Hulleman described a semester-long intervention in which one group of high school students wrote about how science related to their lives and another group simply summarized what they had learned in science class. The most striking results came from students with low expectations of their performance. Those who described the importance of science in their lives improved their grades more and reported greater interest than similar students in the summary-writing group. In short, reflecting on why an activity is meaningful could make you more invested in it.

3. Competence

As you devote more time to an activity, you notice your skills improve, and you gain a sense of competence. In 2006 psychologists at the Democritus University of Thrace and the University of Thessaly in Greece surveyed 882 students on their attitudes and engagement with athletics during a two-year period. They found a strong link between a student’s sense of prowess and his or her desire to pursue sports. The connection worked in both directions—practice made students more likely to consider themselves competent, and a sense of competence strongly predicted that they would engage in athletic activity. Similar studies in music and academics bolster these findings.

Carol S. Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University, has shown that competence comes from recognizing the basis of accomplishment. In numerous studies, she has found that those who credit innate talents rather than hard work give up more easily when facing a novel challenge because they assume it exceeds their ability. Believing that effort fosters excellence can inspire you to keep learning.

The next time you struggle to lace up your sneakers and you feel the doldrums, ask yourself what is missing. Often the answer lies in one of these three areas—feeling forced, finding an activity pointless or doubting your capabilities. Tackling such sources of resistance can strengthen your resolve.


We hope this helps to keep your gym’s motor running!


If you want to learn more about our CrossFit gym management software, please visit our other pages or send us an email at Thanks.


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