"Three (fitness) agreements"
- You may be aware of Don Miguel
Ruiz's 1997 book entitled
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,
<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
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
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.