Confession time: exercise over the last few months has been frickin’ tough.
Like most (all?) of you, I was juggling a million different things when we first went into lockdown — work, admin, homeschooling, abject terror, Olympic-level comfort eating… Keeping up with my exercise regime didn’t really feel like priority no.1.
But, every week, without fail, my gym would send me a message reminding me to join their online workouts.
Now, nothing wrong with a healthy nudge to prioritise your health or to get back to something you usually enjoy.
But the messaging really started to bug me because it always felt like a total guilt trip.
- I was reminded that I’d feel crap if I didn’t work out.
- I was told that the instructors were taking time out of their day to be there so I shouldn’t let them down by not showing up.
- I was told that I’d regret it if I lost all of the fitness I’d built up pre-lockdown.
All totally true — granted — but I began to dread these messages. And while, yes, I mostly did show up it wasn’t because I wanted to, but because I wanted to avoid a lecture. I showed up out of a feeling of obligation, of duty.
That, my friends, isn’t what exercise should be about.
It should be about joy. It should be about chasing pleasure rather than avoiding guilt. It should be about showing up because you know it makes you feel great, not because you worry skipping it will make you feel shit.
And that’s what the messaging should have focused on: joy, pleasure, endorphins, and all that jazz. It should have been enticing me with a fresh juicy carrot instead of battering me on the ass with a big old stick.
Okay, so I get that some people need a bit of tough love. And in normal times, that might well be a strategy that works for you and for your target audience. However, these are not normal times, no matter how many people try to convince us that this is the ‘new normal’.
These are weird-ass times when everyone — literally everyone — is feeling just a little mentally worse for wear. And whether you’re selling an exercise programme, an online course or membership, or something else entirely, it’s worth considering a shift in focus.
Instead of scaring people about what they’re going to be missing out on, tap into what they’ll be gaining. Instead of guilt, tap into joy. Instead of obligation, tap into the reward.
I reckon that as we make our way through the rest of The Year from Hell™ a focus on positivity will mean that not only are your people more likely to show up, they’ll be ready to give it everything they’ve got when they do!
Not convinced you’re hitting the right note with your communications and need to inject your emails, newsletters, or blog posts with a healthy dose of pandemic-era positivity? Give me shout, I’d love to help.