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A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” – Confucius

“Actions prove who someone is, words just prove who they want to be.” – Unknown

“Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.” – Mark Twain

If you want to avoid being fooled by someone, watch what they do and ignore what they say. All of these quotes are ones I’ve come across from time-to-time, but I never really applied them until I was in the Army for about 10 years. This was also the time I finished Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Every action you take is a demonstration of what you really want, who you really are, and what you are committed to. Use these quotes as a way to gauge your own commitment. Do you do what you say you will do (to yourself) or are you just talking to make yourself feel good? You can apply these to goals you’ve set for yourself, things you’d like to do for yourself or others, habits you’d like to be rid of or build, anything at all.

One of the things I truly believe in is the conscience. We all have this internal compass that tells us what is right and what is wrong. This “voice” is also good at telling us what we should be doing. If you really listen to this voice, it will get louder as time passes. If you ignore it, it will become so silent that you won’t hear it at all. We all know smoking, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, and eating refined sugars and flours are horrible for us, but we continue to do what we know deep down is totally wrong because we are too weak to change the patterns we’ve established for ourselves. This is where your actions are louder than your words, even the ones you tell yourself.

As a veteran of the Army for over 20 years, one of my regrets was the use of tobacco. The Army is full of folks who chew tobacco, smoke tobacco, and “dip” tobacco. Dipping is the use of snuff like Skoal or Copenhagen tobacco. This is what I used to do for the greater part of my 21-year career. I’m not proud of it. It literally took me 10 tries over a 12-year period to break this habit. I wanted to quit and I did. The same goes for alcohol. The Army likes to drink, so does corporate America. What did I do? I drank right along with everyone. Again, another habit I wanted to quit, not just for personal reasons, but also for spiritual ones. Alcohol was much easier to quit than tobacco.

The point I’m trying to make here is that we all have our vices. They aren’t just about the physical things. What about addictions to junk food, caffeine, soda, refined sugar, and flour? Whatever your addictions or bad habits are, commit to dropping the ones that are the worst for you and stick with quitting them. You have to want it more than someone else. You can have someone nag you all day long, but if you don’t want to quit, you’ll just do it when they aren’t around, or leave them instead of the habit.

The key is to really commit to something you want to do, not what someone else wants you to do. If you want to exercise, don’t talk about it–do it. If you want to quit smoking or limit your alcohol intake, don’t talk about it–do it. If you want to start some big project like writing a book, starting a blog, or run a marathon, don’t talk about it–do it. It’s a great way to really measure what you really want vs. what you are just dreaming about. Get out there and execute. The integration this brings (when you actually do what you say you are going to) is very liberating.

As a reminder, the workout section of my blog will begin on Monday, the 24th. I hope this inspires some people to get out there and exercise. It is so important to remain healthy and enjoy a really good quality of life.

I’ll be back again tomorrow with more quotes…