With the new year comes resolutions, organization, goal setting.  Most of us kick off the new year saying we’re going to do more of this and less of that so we can accomplish more and realize more of our goals.    I believe that all gym owners share the goal of making their gyms safer.  I also believe that many of us share a feeling of being overwhelmed by the task of cleaning, inspecting, fixing, maintaining, replacing, updating our equipment. 

We all tend to fill up every bit of space we have. This is true not just in our gyms, but in our homes, out closets, our offices, our smart phones, and even our minds.  We tend to think that more is better so we add, and add, and add.  Because of our compulsion to add, the word clutter fast became a dominant word in our vocabulary and our communication.  In reality, clutter can be more than just stuff.  It can be physical, digital, and even mental, and as we start the new year, before we add more to our thoughts, and goals, and gyms, perhaps we should spend some time removing some clutter.

Let’s take a good look around our gym and start by just removing what isn’t used on a regular basis.  Just because it worked well to teach one student one skill one time, doesn’t mean it should be a permanent fixture in our gym. Let’s start by removing those items that could cause a problem.  The old mat that’s been in the gym for 15 years and you tell yourself one day you’re going to patch the vinyl and replace the foam.  If you haven’t addressed the problem for a year, chances are you’re not going to and you should retire that mat.  It’s just like the sweater in the bottom of a drawer that you swear one day you will where it on “National Lime Green Day”. The vaulting board with springs missing, the vaulting horse that hasn’t been used since the introduction of the vault table, and the low beam with no legs that none of the kids ever use.   Some people are very handy and can fix their equipment, or repurpose it, but if you are like most of us, you mostly just work around it. The things that aren’t used are called obstacles and clutter.

All of the clutter in the gym once had a great purpose, but now it’s reducing the efficiency of your gym and creating trip hazards, and taking up space.

Like your closet, your office, or your mind, the first positive step forward is to clear space.  With room to maneuver or think, you discover efficiency, creativity, and safety!  Start the new year off by removing something from your mind, your home, your office, and your gym.  Even goals that don’t have an in-progress action plan are clutter.  Don’t add anything new until you make room for it. 

Steve Cook
AAI National Sales Director