Where Actions Speak Louder than Words

I think Mark Twain had something to do with that title quote but I’m unable to find a source for the saying “do as I say and not as I do”. The latter is often referred to as a statement in hypocrisy. Yet Dr. Samuel Johnson, a moralist and great contributor to English literature in the 1700s cautioned readers to  tread lightly when charging others with hypocrisy.


Johnson said that it was actually okay to express zeal for virtues that we neglect to practice. He equated it to honestly recommending a vacation destination to someone withouth having the courage or ability to visit ourselves. Whew! I feel better. I can continue to issue warnings to my husband as he approaches the buffet line – “that is all you CAN eat.”

Actually, I’ve been beating on myself about the fact that I advocate healthy living when perhaps I’m not living as healthy as I advocate. My eating habits aren’t the issue. They’re not perfect but my diet is loaded with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. My issue is getting myself out and moving like I know I ought to. And, the issue is brought to the forefront by a fast encroaching “big birthday” and a conversation with a new friend who politely said, “you should move to a position where your well being expresses you in full.  Your intention and your practice would match”.

Don’t worry. I’m not about to launch into a discussion on getting thinner from a world where girls as young as 6 years old around the globe think that they need to diet.  No, what I’m talking about is behavioral and the development of a commitment that would match my zeal for regular exercise to my practice of it.

So what’s the best way to create and hold myself accountable to an exercise plan? I’m going to start with a few simple steps. First, just like the adage about savings that talks about paying yourself first, I’m going to plan a week’s worth of exercise as opposed to simply seeing how each day unfolds. I’ll also eliminate excuses and one way to do that is to pack up and keep my gym bag in the car so that not having it isn’t an excuse. Next, I’m going to work to use hiking or attendance at a zumba class as a way to connect with friends instead meeting up for food or drink. And I’ll probably invest in a new pedometer. I’ve worn one for years and my last one isn’t holding a good count. Finally, there’ll be no more greedily checking my blog stats for comments when my body and therefore, my health, would be better served by an early morning bike ride. Wish me luck and do check in from time to time.

How do you create and keep yourself on an exercise regime?

Leave a comment


  1. It’s a great time of year to find a new exercise routine. My partner and I went hiking yesterday, and it was just marvelous. Though we hope to go every weekend (ideally), going even once a month is still joyous.

    I find that I like to set goals for myself. Last June I ran in a 5k for the first time, and worked my way up to it in the months prior to the race. It keeps me accountable, and it was so fun to run with other people, and to see myself growing stronger and have more endurance.

    • Setting goals sounds like a great way to keep yourself motivated Lisa!

    • Tammy, I simply made up in my mind — where I think is the only place to start anything — it was to be part of my routine, period. No matter what, I did it, rain or shine – no excuses.
      Then, like most things, very quickly it became automatic, like brushing my teeth – something I didn’t have to think about.
      The intention/attitude mattered.
      I couldn’t imagine my life without it now!
      Oh, and another thing — some people find they have to do something fun or they just wont. So, it may take some experimenting – which can be fun itself!
      I loved my martial arts training; it consisted of life lessons, personal growth, self defense, exhilarating exercise and the value of commitment..so much more
      I’ll be rooting for you! 🙂

  2. Hi Tammy–great post! And, I don’t think there are many of us that can say we live up to our ideals 100% of the time. That’s why they’re called ideals. So, I’m trying to be less judgmental of myself and just shrug off my iniequities and start each day with a renewed commitment to living up to the person I want to be. I’m getting there, slowly.

    But, as far as exercise–have you ever tried yoga? Over time, it doesn’t feel like dreaded exercise. It starts to become a way of life. I’ve never been one who liked to exercise just for the sake of exercise–I needed a deeper connection to whatever I was doing. I like the community–so I do recommend taking a class or two. I’m fortunate in that my gym has good classes and teachers so I don’t have to pay per class fees. But, I also like that all you need is a mat and some space and you can do yoga anytime, anywhere. Rodney Yee has a really good book titled Moving Towards Balance. I’d recommend picking that up. I’m about to start back on his ‘regimen’ (for lack of a better term) to reinvigorate myself. And there are tons of good DVD’s out there as well. There are many well-known health benefits to yoga—it is a ‘total’ workout–mind, strength, flexibility, and cardio (if a good flow routine is used). So, give it a try if you haven’t. Namaste.

  3. Hmm, this is a tough one to answer, as for the past 18 months (and still…) I’ve been unable to do any form of exercise beyond slow walking. I miss it, and yet I’ve never been good at keeping myself to a regime either.

    So the point of this comment is, well…. good luck? 😀

  4. My husband and I run together. This is one way we guarantee we have time for each other before our days get too hectic. Its a lot harder to slack off if you have an exercise buddy.

  5. GREAT post, Tammy. I’m with you, sister. However, i’m doing better than I used to because of 3 things:
    1. I keep a spreadhseet called “10 Daily Habits” on which I track 8-10 things i want to daily (or near daily – for instance, my kitty gets a pill every other day; weight training s/be every other day – rest should be daily). Visual reminder if i’m on track.
    2. I work out once/week with a personal trainer. Ya, some weeks that’s my only weightlifting, but it’s SOMETHING, ya know?
    3. Best of all – new job is a 20 minute walk from the train station downtown and i’m too cheap to park in the lot in my suburban town so i park about 6 minutes away. Presto! An easy 32 minutes of cardio per day with not much effort on my part.

    I WILL check in with you and I’m proud of you!


  6. Tammy, I know what you mean about having a zeal for something and not really following through with it in real life. My issue is not so much exercise. I get an adequate amount of exercise with all the biking I do around the city. My issue is more with the food that I eat. I’m a big advocate of natural “real” foods but I feel like I don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. Alas I think I’m at a point where I need to take some steps similar to what you’re doing to up the exercise in your life! Thanks for this post.

  7. Each morning, I remind myself that my body deserves to be given the time that I use up doing other stuff.

    As you said…sitting at the computer looking at comments then getting caught up on a thread or videos.

    So I get out and walk each morning first thing. If there’s more exercise during the day, that is wonderful, but at least I’ve treated my body to a good 30 minute walk. Before anything else.

    Discipline is hard, but it’s my door to freedom.

  8. Very motivational, thanks Tammy.

  9. That’s a great plan Tammy! Really admire your approach there 🙂
    I personally never could keep a regular exercise plan, my current so called plan is to walk anywhere closer than the other side of the city.
    But I may just start developing a better exercise plan myself 😉

  10. Lisa H

     /  October 5, 2010

    Exercise is always hard to keep up–it’s fun at first and then it becomes routine. One of the best ways I found to keep exercising is to write it in my calendar. It’s a block of time that is set in stone except for doctor’s appointments. No erasing for girlfriends! I also found it easier to work out in the mornings, since I dress directly into my workout clothes.
    Zumba sounds like a lot of fun. Please let us know how you like the class!

  11. Good luck and keep us posted. I think having a plan is key! If you just wait until you reach that day, it makes it so much easier to put it off.
    I know, being consistent with exercise is my struggle at times. For me, going to exercise classes work best. I enjoy them and having a specific time helps a lot.

    • I like classes too. I’m going to put a few copies of the class schedule where I will see them; on my desk, in my car, etc.

  12. I applaude you for this post. I have been thinking alot recently about the truth of my actions, and how they appear through others eyes. I appreciate that you are taking care of your self by accepting where you are today. I often have to do that. If you are moving forward toward your goals, that is what is important.

    And, never trust anyone who would deride you for not being up to someone else’s standard. We must all accept personal choices for just what they are–personal choices. Judgement isn’t fair, it doesn’t serve any purpose because we never have the full story!

  13. Brooke Thorpe

     /  October 5, 2010

    I think the biggest hindrance to exercise is our own aversion to it–it’s as though the mind gives up before the body does. I ran my first half-marathon on Saturday morning in Central Park. Going into it, I knew going the biggest challenge for first timers is finishing. While training, I re-framed the task. My solution was to put the run into terms that made me more comfortable and the distance more manageable. Rather than approaching it as a 13.1 mile run, I decided to think of it as a “long jog in Central Park on Saturday morning.”
    I also think you hit the nail on the head in terms of the social part of exercise–zumba is definitely more fun with a friend! Good luck!

  14. Go for it, Tammy. A wonderful piece:-)

  15. Good for you! I need to do the same!

  16. Ozarkhomesteader

     /  October 5, 2010

    I used to be an enthusiastic exerciser until Lyme disease almost killed me. After I got too sick to get out of bed much less exercise, I used to dream about running. During my long illness, I moved to the middle of nowhere. No gyms, no tracks. Now, I exercise by walking and occasionally running around the property with a good book on tape. I look forward to the time I spend because it’s one of the few times when I can “read” fiction and not feel guilty. It works for me. I also cue up workout videos on my computer and watch movies on the tv at the same time. Guilt-free movie watching. 🙂

    Some day I’ll talk about Lyme over at my little blog. I’m not ready yet.

    • Oh Ozark. I’m sorry about your bout with Lyme. I have a couple of friends with the same issue. It sounds like you are doing better and glad exercise is giving you an excuse to read fiction.

      • Ozarkhomesteader

         /  October 7, 2010

        I hope your friends are better. I was very, very sick by the time docs figured out what was wrong. I have been fighting the disease a long time too. I’m ready to declare the war won, but I’m not quite there yet. I started my blog in large part to start writing again, in a low-stress atmosphere.

        I hope your resolve is holding!

  17. I read some inspiring words in recent times. It is no doubt that with the advent of computers and more office jobs that we simply dont move as much as we did in the past. Having a dog forces you to move. Especially a border collie like ours, she needs constant exercise. I remember reading an article in a personal development magazine that said “If its raining, NO EXCUSE! Thats why raincoats were invented”. I took that further. If its cold, put an extra layer on, wear a beanie, gloves etc. Buy your cycling kit and cycle to work. I started cycling to work around 6 months ago. It was a mission to take all of my work clothes to work, toiletries etc. It takes me 40 mins each way. I now exercise a minimum of 80 mins a day on week days, plus the time i walk the dog. The best part about exercising to work is that you have effectively got your daily exercise hit, incorporating it into work.

    I also like your comments about exercising as a means to socialise. Cycling with mates is fantastic. Walking the dog gives you a chance to spend valuable time with your pet, and your partner/kids. We see a lot of people in our area walking their dogs in small groups. I guess they are neighbours. Its great.

    Its now spring here, and the sun is coming up at 5:30am. Whilst i do prefer daylight saving, we are not so fortunate. in Western Australia. But why not make the most of the early light. Its a great start to the day!

    Now, dont go looking at my Sunday breakfast post… 😛

    Happy exercising.

    Mark Owen http://www.starsandcloves.wordpress.com

    • Thanks Mark! Cycling to work sounds great. I did it once at my old office but now going on highways downtown, I’m too afraid. Jealous of early daylight that you are experiencing. It’s getting dark here!

  18. Walking, sometimes briskly, sometimes meditatively, works for me. We try to take early morning walks, or walks right after dinner. And, Yoga has been a part of my life for many years—it helps living with a yoga instructor!

    Try to not think of whatever activity you choose as “exercising.”

  19. Good luck! I used to be much better about exercising before we moved because I did it with a neighbor. We would call each other and if one of us didn’t want to go that day, the other one would be the motivator.

  20. I’ve never been too good about getting regular exercise, either, though I would love to be in better shape. Fortunately, the public transport in Paris is planning an “indefinite” strike starting next Tuesday. I’ll have no choice but to get in a 10-minute bike ride twice a day!

    • When that happened in London years ago, it began my running career. Of course, I’ve not kept up with it but it can be a catalyst.

  21. Kath (Eating for Living)

     /  October 7, 2010

    “The guidepost never goes to where it points.” I’ve forgotten who said that, but this was the witty answer of an unfortunaley unknown somebody when he was asked why he did the opposite (drinking and smoking) of what he told people they should no (no drinking and smoking).

    Personally, I think it’s okay to go for a middle way. Of course it’s more upright and convincing if you act in congruence with what you say, but it’s unrealistic to always do so. Rather, that would get you close to perfectionism, and perfectionism isn’t healthy – it’s stressful. A model meal and exercise plan, if it stresses you, can therefore be less healthy than letting things go a little more.

    Anyway, your wish so get some more and regular exercise is very familiar to me, and I think your plans and thoughts aroung it sound very good. I hope it’ll work out (literally)!

  22. I totally understand what you mean about feeling more excited about exercise. For me it’s not about getting thin, or looking fit for others or society to approve me, but for me it’s so that my body is happy. I read good books and my mind feels happy, but my body always feels neglected. So like you I want to feed it foods that make it happy and take it out for a ride! Good luck {to you and to me.}! 🙂

  23. jessiecarty

     /  October 8, 2010

    good luck with it! i just have this feeling you can do it 🙂

    If i structure anything in my life too much, I rebel against it. This week, however, I am hoping to walk each day for at least 20 minutes. Baby steps!

  24. Good Luck. You have plenty of good and common sense ideas. We are all way to sedentary – me especially. And I want to project a good image to my daughter.

  25. Discipline is good when it comes to health. I should also move more.



  26. Me and my wife are walking people. We walk or hike together always when it is possible. To her it is not always possible, but I walk in the nature on daily bases. That means from to 10 kilometers.

    Why I like walking? When in the nature, I can see the beauty of nature, listen to birds’ song and to smell the fragrance of flowers. My mind is resting when I have connection with Mother Nature. I like to listen to my own thoughts in peace, nearly it is like as talking with my inside. A camera is very good fellow to take with me on these walking tours, not to forget walking meter.

    My wife goes every Friday visiting to the gym. She wants to strengthen her bones. So we do it this way.

  27. Great ideas to get yourself committed! I work out with my husband so it really helps to hold each other accountable!

  28. Hiking is a great way to sneak in exercise. It feels so invigorating to get out in the fresh air and enjoy nature and the beautiful scenery. Group classes are also motivating and a good way to meet new people.
    Sometimes I find it hard to exercise after work especially when I’m tired, but I read somewhere that when you are presented with the choice to exercise or not, you will never regret choosing exercise.

  29. [the development of a commitment that would match my zeal for regular exercise to my practice of it. ]

    Just perfectly phrased – I go so far as to feel impatience when those who do live the commitment express their own zeal; find myself thinking, “I know all about that. I know so much about it I could preach it back you to you better!”

    And that’s the sad fact.

    (John Wain wrote a wonderful biography of Johnson, which I’ve not finished but go back to periodically. I’ll finish it one day.)

  30. Tanner

     /  January 13, 2011

    hi hi hi hi hi hi hi


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