I'm not a huge fan of so-called motivational quotes. However, when I was on my weight loss and fitness journey, I did come across a few quotes that I liked and that I feel helped to keep me on the right track. Here's just a selection. I got some of them from the sub-reddit called GetMotivated which, though the quality could most kindly be described as uneven, does contain occasional gems.
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“If it’s important, you’ll find a way.
If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse”.
If you held a contest to describe human nature as succinctly as possible, I think it would be hard to improve on this. This is, apparently, quite an old quotation but I only stumbled across it in recent years and I think it's wonderful. I would willingly give credit to the author but, despite a lot of searching, I don't know of any sure attribution. I've seen it attributed to Jim Rohn, Ryan Blair and others but I don't think anyone really knows where it comes from.
I guess I like this so much not just because it packs a lot of truth into a few words but because it helped me learn not to make excuses. To put it another way, it helped me to realise when I was making excuses.
With regards to exercise and many other things besides, the commonest example, of course, is "I don't have time." I often tell the story of someone I knew in real life who wanted to make progress with a particular goal but claimed, alas, she just didn't have time. This person watched every episode of four different soap operas every week.
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“Exercise is a celebration of what you can do, not a punishment for what you ate.”
This is another one that I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. If you have read my book, 'TEWTL WAGF', you will know that I was very surprised to discover that I actually liked jogging and found it enjoyable. I had always associated exercise with discomfort, humilitation and a dreary sense of trying to make myself do something I just fundamentally didn't want to do (and didn't see the point of).
It wasn't long before I really started to enjoy the feeling I got from my heart and lungs working at an elevated level for a period of time — from a few minutes at first to over an hour when I did my first 10 km run (I never said I was fast!).
It's true. Exercise is a celebration to be enjoyed, not a punishment to be endured.
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It’s amazing how much joy, power and magic
there is in ‘Just Turn Up’.
I do know who wrote this because it was me! I made a little poster of this for myself during my weight loss and fitness journey. One of the points I make in my book is that, when it comes to fitness, you never need to consciously try to improve. The improvement just happens automatically. If you ask your body to do something that it can't quite do yet, it rebuilds itself so that it can. This happens surely and certainly without any effort on your part (within practical limits). All you have to do is turn up and try. Each time, you'll get a little closer to the goal until, one day, you can do it.
That's an awful lot of power in three short words.
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“Losers quit when they fail.
Winners fail until they succeed.”
One of the books I constantly recommend to friends is 'Black Box Thinking' by Matthew Syed. It's about our attitudes towards so-called 'failure' and why they need to change. As Syed demonstrates with shimmering brilliance in the book, we should warmly embrace 'failure' instead of feeling bad about it or trying to hide it. Failure is how we learn and is a truly wonderful teacher.
I'm pleased that I can go out and jog for 5k or 10k whenever I feel like it (which is pretty often). But the only reason I can do it is because I failed, over and over and over again, until my body finally learned how to do it.
Failing is learning (some people see 'FAIL' as 'First Adventure In Learning'). Failing is progress. Failing is what you do on the road to success and achievement. It doesn't necessarily always feel nice and you occasionally have to peacefully tolerate the sneering of small minds. Nonetheless, failing is delightfully powerful.
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“If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how — the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
— Abraham Lincoln
I love this and I even included it in TEWTL WAGF. The world is never short of critics, detractors and people who, at their current stage on their personal journey, still prefer negative words to postive ones. This beautiful quotation says so much and says it with clarity, force and eloquence.
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“To succeed in life you need not only initiative, but also finishiative.”
— Zaida Jones Blaine
Once I had discovered how to overcome my addiction to sugar and starch, I realised that, for the first time in my life, I had the chance to finally get fit once and for all. This is when I started to exercise and set myself some long-term targets that I wanted to achieve (in terms of my weight loss, my waist size and the distances I could jog or run). At the time, there was a lot I didn't know and was unsure about. However, I knew I was going to see it through to the end. As Zaida says, 'finishiative' is essential.
'Finishiative' isn't a word but I feel it ought to be.
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“And those who were seen dancing were thought insane by those who could not hear the music.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche
I've always loved this one. There have been many times in my life when I've done things that might look strange to most other people. Well, if they can't hear the music, that's not my fault and not my problem!
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“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”
— No attribution, from ‘75 Reminders for Tough Times’ website
Always a good one, I feel, for anyone on their weight loss and fitness journey.
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