Three New Year’s Resolutions


Thank goodness for New Year’s resolutions. Where would we all be without those eggnog-fueled commitments to lose weight, run a marathon, or become the local CrossFit champion to attract new members and get our old members back in the gym?

But while you’re working hard to help others keep their resolutions, it’s also a good time to undertake some resolutions of your own, but for your Box not your body.  I have just the program, and you can remember it with three simple words – WOW, NOW and POW!

WOW means starting with a weekly plan to supercharge membership engagement, involvement and retention:

  • WELCOME every new member in person, not just the ones who you sign up or get introduced to you. Let them know how glad you are they’re there, and ask what they want to get out of their time at your Box. You’ll help them get over the new-kid awkwardness, pick up some insights that will make you a better owner, and be in a better position to add value to their experience going forward. If you can’t do it in person, consider email or social media, but do it.
  • OWNERSHIP – make sure your existing members feel it. Ask for their input on stuff that comes up around your Box; personally encourage them to participate in upcoming events or competitions; even ask them to help with simple things like working with a new member or making sure equipment gets put away correctly. The more people feel like they have a role, the more they feel like they belong. Even if they say no, they’ll still appreciate that you asked.
  • WINS – Create regular goals everyone can work to as a team. Set crazy whole-box targets, get everyone involved and make a big deal about hitting them. One week it might be bench-pressing a Boeing 747 – about 735,000 cumulative pounds – and another could be running the equivalent of the Appalachian Trail, which is 2,181 miles. The point is that everyone gets to contribute and everyone celebrates the win as a team.

NOW is your monthly plan for staying visible and active with members and in your community:

  • NEWS – post at least two items every month. Schedule them for whatever social platform your members use, and put stuff up on the bulletin boards in your Box. Use a little imagination; create photos, video or other content to add to the impact. But like everything else in our business, you have to commit to make it happen.
  • OFFERS – plan out your year of promotions in advance so they align with different seasons, holidays, and the natural ebb and flow of membership. Don’t wait until you need a little boost to start thinking about it.
  • WEBSITE – update at least one element every month. Introduce new photos; keep schedules and calendars up-to-date. Include news updates and new hires. Nothing makes a Box look old and tired more than a website with old content.

Finally, make August your month for POW, so when things pick up after Labor Day it feels a little new and different:

  • PAINT a feature wall in the gym, locker room or lobby with fresh new colors – the fastest and cheapest way to make an impact. 
  • OUTSIDE find opportunities to make a splash. Update your sign, change some plantings, paint the door or railings a new color.  
  • WEIGHTS and equipment – make it feel new.  Move things around a little. Change your storage. Add a new feature.  

You say it all the time to your members; it’s time you followed your own advice. Set some goals for you Box and stick to them. It’s easy to do if you remember WOW weekly for member engagement, NOW monthly to stay visible and active, and POW during August downtime to stay vital and energetic.

Michael McLinden earns his road rash as a serial entrepreneur, and consultant to health, wellness and fitness related companies in the U.S. and Europe with a focus on market analysis, branding and value creation. He has held executive management and strategic planning responsibilities in a number of regional and global advertising and marketing firms, including Mc|K Healthcare, which he co-founded and ran until 2014. He holds an MS from Purdue University and an MBA from TIAS Nimbas business school in the Netherlands. Email him at