The Commitment Equation

Commitment equals results.

Math! *mic drop

So, I signed up for a gym membership last night.

Well… let me back that up a bit.

I did some actual-factual numbers-and-money-related math and realized (ding-ding!) that calculating for the employee discount I get plus the savings from a payroll deduction credit against the pay-per-entry per-use cost of visiting the recreation center a mere four times per month, it would be better for me to just bite the bullet and sign up for an ongoing pass to the local facility.

Gym. Weights. Equipment. Track. Drop in classes. Instructors. Pool. Hot tub. Lockers. Cafe. Friends.

The math worked out, but (and I was explaining this to one of my fellow runners last night when he asked me about my decision to switch) there is another equation to consider besides just money: Commitment value.

See, buying a punch-pass is a great excuse to NOT go. Yeah, I get a discount. Yeah, I have a dozen punches on my card. But every one of those punches represents what (in my head, at least) could be a capital-W Workout. They have individual value in themselves, and I know myself: I want to find an optimal use for that value. One punch could (should… must) be a swim of a certain length, or a workout plus a run, or span a specific length of time.

If I’m smart, I set time aside and so having the time to go means I (optimally) think about my visit as I paid some bucks to be inside, so I gotta make it worthwhile.

But this quickly turns into I’ll need to pay some bucks to go inside, and I don’t have time to make it worthwhile so… maybe next time.

No commitment. No visit. No results. Fail.

In switching from a punch-card to a pass, I turn this whole calculation into, I’ve already paid a few more bucks to go inside whenever I feel like it, so any time that I go is worthwhile.

Where I might not have just gone to do some weights for twenty minutes after a run, it now seems like a no-brainer. Where I may have avoided a swim because just ten laps struck me as a waste of a punch, now: what the hell! Where I may have tried to optimize my visit by equating the value of a punch to the cost of a class, now I can go do a spin class or a yoga class and not worry about finding value beyond participation.

Results are not guaranteed, but adding commitment to that formula has gotta be a factor, right?