More on the way...

Here are a couple, for starters...

"Three (fitness) agreements" -  You may be aware of Don Miguel Ruiz's 1997 book entitled "The Four Agreements."  If you haven't read it (or read it lately), I highly recommend doing so.  There's alot of good, positive stuff in that book.

In that same spirit, I offer these three 'fitness agreements.'  I follow these every day, and have always suggested them to my clients, as well.  Bear in mind that these agreements work a little differently than Ruiz's, as these represent a sort of 'output/performance hierarchy,' and are intended to be followed in order - allowing each layer to build upon the other, over time...

<1.>  Show up.  This first guideline is very closely tied to avoiding the "all or nothing trap" that's discussed in my next entry.  It is a very real phenomenon that your subconscious mind really just knows that you've done something, and what the nature of that something is.  So, if I worked out yesterday, it doesn't matter to my subconscious whether it was an "easy" or "hard" workout, it just knows what working out is (what it represents), and it knows that I did it.  As a result, taking even the babiest of baby steps will work to re-wire your psyche, and over time you'll naturally take bigger and more advanced steps.  In essence, this gradual "re-wiring" changes you into a different person, with altered attitudes, habits and abilities.

All you have to do is "show up."  On the days when you're just not feeling it, agree with yourself to just show up.  Agree that's all you have to do, and just do that much.  If you only sit on an exercise bike for a minute and get a drink of water, that's OK, because you at least showed-up... and then you can at least say to yourself: "I showed-up today."  And that's no small thing.

And "showing up" does not even have to mean going to the gym, the jogging trail, or anywhere else, because it's all relative.  For one person "showing up" may very well mean simply putting on some walking shoes and going out to the mailbox, while for someone else it could be a matter of standing up at their desk a few times while at work, and for another person it could be more about just getting in the pool on a cold day.  In fact, for today, right now, the simple act of visiting this website and reading this blog post may very well be "showing up," for you.  Only you really know what it means for you.

<2.>  Do something.  Here's where we play an obvious little 'trick' on ourselves.  I mean, once you're "there" (outside with your walking shoes, or standing at you desk, or in the pool despite the norther that blew-in last night), you might as well go ahead and do a 'little something' while you're there:  maybe just walk to the end of the block and back... maybe just an easy side to side twist plus a few toes touches at your desk... just swim a few laps in that lonely pool, maybe.  That's it.  Just do something.  And now you can say you've not only showed-up, but that you've also "done something."

For me, "doing something" can mean very different things on different days.  Some days I really didn't even want to show up, at all... but I did, anyway.  So at that point, the idea of doing something kinda gets under my skin, if you know what I mean.  On days like that, I might just (grudgingly) get through my warm-ups... and that's it.  My little voice says something like: "That's all I'm gonna do for the day, and the workout gods better be just be glad I even did that much, 'cause they're lucky I'm even here."

So, lets say simply contemplating the fitness carnival wins you a balsa wood airplane.  'Showing up,' then, ought to be good for at least little toy ballerina, or maybe a little doggy bobble head.  And, 'doing something' is definitely worth that teddy bear you've had your eye on.

<3.>  Apply yourself.  This could mean going ahead and waling all the way around the block, or ordering yourself a stand-up desk so you can spend more time on your feet at the office, or just going ahead and doing your full swimming workout.  Or, it could mean working-out as hard as you can today.  However this agreement should realistically be applied to you, in a given situation, is the point.

And with this third step, you're now getting into the realm of realizing your potential, which is awesome.  So go ahead and get yourself one of those giant teddy bears from the top shelf of prizes.  You've earned it.

One other thing I should stress here, is that these 'agreements' only have meaning in a personal way.  What each of the three sentiments mean to you is all that matters.  This is not something that anyone needs to (or really even ought to) discuss with anyone else.  This is between you, and you.  Just be honest with yourself about it, and never forget there is a whole lot more to life than working out... so don't encourage any squirrels to chase themselves around inside your head, or shoot yourself in the foot with needless guilt.

One last thing I'd like you to seriously consider is in regard to how you judge yourself, relative to these three guidelines.  I would say "don't judge yourself," but we all know that's impossible, don't we?  That "little voice" is going to have its say.  There's no avoiding it.  So I'm going to put this whole concept into perspective for you, and I strongly urge you to hear what I'm telling you:  If you are even thinking about fitness/exercise and making any effort at all to get yourself going - even if it's simply thinking about it or researching it/ reading about it (which you're clearly doing) - then you already get a passing grade.

What you have on your mind, and are actively caring about in your day-to-day life, sets the stage for what 'day-to-day' will consist of in the future.  Your attention is powerful and plays an enormous role in your development.  It's huge.  It really is.  So, if you're also showing-up on top of giving fitness some of your valuable mental energy & focus, then you're doing just fine.  Give yourself some credit, and just keep doing what you're doing, because it's definitely 'enough,' for now.  Negative thinking will only sabotage you, so please practice emphasizing the constructive aspects of this.

The "all or nothing" trap -  Guilty as charged.  I've fallen into this trap hundreds of times over the years.  But I've gotten alot better about it, and have even started-up a couple of new programs that were basically inspired by this common workout roadblock.

Imagine that you're sitting there, thinking about the workout you have planned for today.  It's a hard workout, and you're really not in the mood... or don't have as much extra time as you thought you'd have today... or whatever else may be standing in the way of doing that whole, hard workout.  Well, I've got some good news for you: you don't have to do the whole workout.  There's no law that says you can't call an audible.  And doing something is better than not doing something.

It's weird, because there's some crazy notion that gets into our minds sometimes that keeps us from doing anything at all just because we can't do what we had planned... or because, on a particular day, the idea of that whole, hard workout is making it tough to get ourselves moving.

On those kinds of days, remember that you're your own boss.  You can do whatever the heck you want to do.  And if that means you're going to do an easier workout - in the name of doing something rather than nothing - then more power to you... because fitness is never an all-or-nothing proposition.  And who knows, once you're at the gym (or the track, or wherever), you might very well feel differently about it than you do now.  But, regardless of that, you'll be doing more than you would have if you hadn't allowed for some flexibility in your plans.

More to come!


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