What if This Was Your Last Day in the Gym?


What if this was your last day in the gym?

If you are a gymnast: your last tumbling pass? Your final routine?

If you are a coach: your final day calling your athletes in to practice? Giving your last correction or compliment?

If you are a parent: watching your child’s final routine? Saying goodbye to the other parents, your child’s coaches or the front desk staff?

What would you do differently?

Am I being morbid? Maybe. But that’s not my intent.

After reading an excellent op-ed piece in the New York Times, “To be Happier, Start Thinking More About Your Death” I started to think about the author’s idea: “Without consciousness, we mindlessly blow the present moment on low-value activities.”

We complain. About the conditioning assignment, the lack of effort of an athlete or the amount of time the coach spent with one child in favor of ours.

We gossip. About our teammates, our coworkers, the gym management or other parents.

We whine. About our lack of free time, our too low pay, that others’ misunderstand us or the traffic.

We waste time. Wishing practice is over.

We tune out. We text. We don’t listen to what others are saying. We are thinking about what we have to do next. We aren’t engaged with what is happening in front of us.

But if we knew that this was the last time we would be at the gym: how would our behavior differ?

Would we spend our time otherwise? Would we feel the same irritations?   Would our attitude be different?

I suspect we might—in fact, I know I would.

Something to think about as we continue to set resolutions and goals for 2016: how would things be different if this were the last time? It just might change how we behave each day, for the better.

And it might just help us to remember to keep our eyes on the big picture, on the real purpose of what it is that we do.  It may reinforce that the value that gymnastics brings that is so much more important than medals and trophies: it brings life lessons, a community that supports one another and an opportunity to develop the future leaders of our world.

Cherish each moment and have a great 2016!