Welcome to the fourth part in my series on examining motivational quotes for fitness!
Just as a reminder of why we are examining these quotes, many people look online for them before they start a workout or an exercise program to get their blood pumping and their minds ready for the work they are about to undertake.
While this can be a great practice, as there are so many quotes online to check out, I wanted to take a deeper look at what these quotes mean to see if they are definitely something you want to follow or if they contain anything we should be cautious about.
Our quote for today is one that is near and dear to my heart. It’s one that has caused a great deal of frustration for me as well as, I am sure, many of you.
It actually comes, not from the fitness field, but from the artistic and is attributed to Pablo Picasso:
“Action is the foundational key to all success.”
Plenty Of Ideas – My Personal Struggle
This one hurts. Action is an area that has haunted me for many years. I enjoy coming up with ideas and plans. However, my follow through has never quite lived up what I conceived in my own head. Much of the reason for that has to do with several personal issues that serve as hindrances to success.
As a side note, don’t get me wrong. There are many times when I would say that inaction is a good thing as well and our thoughts win out. For instance, I may have thought I’d like to steal something or curse out the guy who cut me off on the highway. However, it is a good thing if I don’t act on those thoughts because one is against the law and the other could lead to a confrontation I don’t want.
My purpose is not to say we should always choose action, but more when it is something positive for us and/or those around us, moving beyond thoughts and taking action is incredibly important.
Now, back to my personal struggle:
One part of it has to do with having A.D.D. Once I start something, I struggle to stick with it if my interest begins to wane. I tend to lose attention and focus very quickly. That can and has become extremely frustrating and makes me wonder how many things I have given up on before they could have a chance to take off.
Another part of it has to do with having a low tolerance for failure. I’m a perfectionist and sometimes my expectations and what I will be able to do or what should happen don’t match up. As a result, I have given up on more than one occasion because it’s not good enough.
Usually that leads to me having ideas, but not having the confidence that they will pan out, so I never take action. I give up before I even start because I “know” it’s going to fail. It’s hard to have success when you don’t even take action.
There’s The Rub
And yet, that’s what this quote is trying to say. Without action, there really is no possibility for success. You can have every idea in the world about how to achieve a goal, get somewhere, or do something, but without taking a first step, it’s never going to happen.
Trying to base a foundation, whether it is for fitness, business, or just life in general, solely on ideas is about as effective as a screen door in a submarine (for all you Back to the Future fans out there). It’s not going to work!
No mountain was ever climbed without taking a first step.
Relating it back to fitness, so many people have the idea that they want to lose a certain amount of weight, run a certain amount during the week, or go to the gym a certain amount of times. Ideas are the basis for many of our New Year’s resolutions and how many of those work out long term?
Continuous Action Requires Building Resolve
That New Year’s resolution idea brings me a thought. How many of us actually do start to take action, but then can’t keep going? Like I described above with my A.D.D., starting isn’t always the problem. When it comes to fitness, I have little to no problem getting started.
However, we all hit bumps in the road. Whether there are family issues, injuries, or it is simply 95 degrees outside and you are supposed to be going for a run, things come up that test your ability to stick with it.
You build resolve, and therefore adherence, by consciously choosing to continue on with the course of action you are taking. That’s not to say that you will never fail (something I struggle mightily with, as also described above). However, when you do, if action is your foundation, you will try again.
It’s the same reason you get up when you trip and fall down in the mud.
Follow me here for a second. Imagine lying face down in that mud. You want to get up. In fact, you know you need to get up. First off, it will start to look silly if you don’t. Either that or someone will think there is an emergency. Secondly, you are going to need food at some point and there are other things you need to take care of during the day.
However, you are a bit of a germaphobe, so as much as you want to get up, you know that by rolling on your back, you will get even muddier and it might get in your hair. If you stay face down, you’ll have to push yourself up and that means your hands are going to be disgusting.
Left alone to your ideas, you’ll be constantly going back and forth about the risks of staying put and the risks of trying to get up. You can know you want to get up, but unless you take action and risk getting dirty and uncomfortable, you aren’t going anywhere.
While this example might seem silly, I think it has merit. Putting your hands in the mud might just help you to see it isn’t has bad as your thoughts had you believing and may build your resolve so that you get up quicker next time you fall.
It certainly rings true for me.
How that relates to fitness is simple. It will be different, uncomfortable, and downright hard. You may have failed in the past. However, take action. Get back up if you have failed. Build your resolve by doing things that aren’t most comfortable. You may find out that it isn’t as bad as your thoughts made it seem.
What If I Just Can’t Decide To Take Action?
This also rings true for me, as I have covered a bit. There are some instances when I just can’t get out of the mud. My lack of confidence and getting overwhelmed by my own thoughts of how unpleasant it will be to get up wins out. What then?
There is no shame in calling out for help! Support is key to taking action as well! You can’t always go it alone because there are some situations that you just aren’t ready to tackle on your own and that is fine.
Sometimes, we need someone to show us it is OK to take action in order to build up our confidence and ability to do it ourselves. Sometimes we need someone to help keep us accountable while we build up our own personal accountability.
As long as we don’t become solely reliant being bailed out or motivated by others, being able to ask for help can be a truly wonderful tool for taking action.
Having a workout buddy is a great way to keep yourself motivated, accountable, and taking action! It may be just the thing that keeps you moving until you are able to do it on your own.
Actions Speak Louder Than Thoughts
Thoughts will only get you so far. Whether you are talking about fitness or any number of other areas of life, it’s what you DO that counts the most.
So many times, I have been hindered by what I was thinking and that caused me to either give up or not act at all. That certainly didn’t put me on the road to success or achieving my goals. However, by taking action, or finding someone to help you, the story can change.
Now it’s your turn. Does this quote ring true for you? Does anyone else share my experience with thoughts vs. actions? If so, would you feel comfortable sharing your experience and perhaps victory over it to help both myself and perhaps someone else out?
Leave your stories in the comments below! As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave those as well!
Additionally, if you are looking for ways to get motivated, feel free to check out some of my other posts on various subjects touched upon in this article:
- Fitness Motivators – Overcome Your Best Excuse: Part 1
- How To Start Exercising For Beginners – Setting SMART Goals
- Why A Support System Is Important – Staying On Track
Until next time, God bless and take action!