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Let's take a look at two personalities we're all familiar with: The out of shape guy and the in shape guy.

Have you ever decided to try to get into shape?

You're sitting in front of the television set one Saturday afternoon, watching an athletic competition, awed by the athletes' stamina and dexterity.

You're eating a sandwich, your second since you sat down to watch the event two hours before.

You're feeling sluggish in the face of all the action on the screen when, suddenly, somebody wakes up in you and says, "What are you doing? Look at yourself. You're out of shape! Do something about it!"

It has happened to us all. Somebody wakes up inside us with a totally different picture of who we should be and what we should be doing. In this case, let's call him in shape guy.

Who's the in shape guy? He's the one who uses words like discipline, exercise, organization. The in shape guy is intolerant, self-righteous, a stickler for detail, a compulsive tyrant.

The in shape guy can't understand why people fail to take care of themselves. He can't stand sitting around. He needs to be on the move and lives for action. The in shape guy has just taken over. Watch out - things are about to change.

Before you know it, you're cleaning all the fattening foods out of the refrigerator. You're buying a new pair of running shoes, barbells, and sweats. Things are going to be different around here. You have a new lease on life. You plan your new physical regimen: up at five, run six miles, cold shower at six, a breakfast of wheat toast, banana, and half a grapefruit; then, ride your bicycle to work, home by seven, run another two miles, to bed at ten - the world's already a different place!

You actually pull it off! By Monday night, you've lost two pounds. You go to sleep dreaming of winning the Boston Marathon. Why not? The way things are going, it's only a matter of time.

Tuesday night you get on the scale. Another pound gone! You're incredible. Gorgeous. A lean machine.

On Wednesday, you really pour it on. You work out an extra hour in the morning, an extra half-hour at night. You can't wait to get on the scale. You strip down to your bare skin, shivering in the bathroom, filled with expectation of what your scale is going to tell you. You step lightly onto it and look down. What you see is…nothing. You haven't lost an ounce. You're exactly the same as you were on Tuesday.

Dejection creeps in. You begin to feel a slight twinge of resentment. "After all that work! After all that sweat and effort!

Then - nothing. It isn't fair." But you shrug it off. After all, tomorrow's another day. You go to bet, vowing to work harder on Thursday. But somehow something has changed.

You don't know what's changed until Thursday morning. It's raining. The room is cold. Something feels different. What is it? For a minute or two you can't quite put your finger on it. And then you get it: somebody else is in your body.

It's the out of shape guy! He's back. And he doesn't want to run. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even want to get out of bed. It's cold outside. "Run? Are you kidding me?" The out of shape guy doesn't want anything to do with it. The only exercise he might be interested in is eating!

And all of a sudden you find yourself in front of the refrigerator - inside the refrigerator - all over the kitchen! Food is now your major interest. The Marathon is gone, the lean machine is gone, the sweats and barbells and running shoes are gone. The out of shape guy is back. He's running the show again. It happens to all of us, time and time again. When the out of shape guy decides to change things we actually believe that it's him who's making that decision. When the in shape guy wakes up and changes it all back again, we think it's him who's making that decision.

The in shape guy and out of shape guy are two totally different personalities, with different needs, different interests, and different lifestyles. That's why they are always trying to influence each other.

They each want totally different things. The problem is that when you're the in shape guy, you're totally consumed by his needs, his interests, his lifestyle. Then something happens - the scale disappoints you, the weather turns cold, somebody offers you a ham sandwich. At that moment, the out of shape guy, who's been waiting in the wings all this time, grabs your attention. Grabs control. You're him again.
Is it any wonder we have such a tough time keeping our commitments to ourselves? It's not that we're indecisive or unreliable, it's that each and every one of us is a whole set of different personalities, each with his own interests and way of doing things. Asking anyone of them to defer to any of the others is inviting a battle or even a full scale war.

Anyone who has ever experienced the conflict between the in shape guy and the out of shape guy (and haven't we all?) knows what I mean. You can't be both. One of them has to lose and they both know it.

- Unknown

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