Our Actions Speak Louder than Our Words

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die, and the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.  ~~Eleanor Roosevelt


I’m very careful when I speak or type.  I want to make sure that when I say something to you, when I make a commitment to you, that I’m reasonably sure that I can make good on it and you can count on me to do what I say I’m going to do. I don’t want to disappoint you, but even more importantly, I want to know that I can believe what I say. I want to be able to trust myself.

For many years longer than I care to remember, I lied to myself about so many things.  I lied about starting my diet on Monday morning.  I lied to myself when I bought two dozen donuts at Krispy Kreme on the way to work, telling myself that I was bringing them in to work to share with my co-workers. Guess where most of those ended up? I lied to myself when I purchased healthy veggies on Sunday to eat during the week, only to throw them in the trash the following Saturday because they had spoiled, uneaten.

Do you trust yourself to do what you say you’re going to do? 

I had to learn to do this and it took a lot of time and patience, but the basic premise is simple. It’s something that I first heard of from the many time management seminars I attended for work.  Even though I had heard about this for years, I was ripe for the lesson when it was presented again in Body-for-LIFE:  the Daily Win List.

Each night I would make a list of five things that I needed to accomplish the next day. Some days they had to do with my physical transformation: water intake, exercise, try a new vegetable. Some days they had to do with personal: email an old friend, tell my daughter what I like about her. Some days they had to do with business:  send out business marketing cards,  deliver referral gift. 

This next part is the important part. You ready?  Actually do what you wrote down. Yes, do it.  No matter how small or insignificant or hard and impossible it seems, do it. Then check it off and give yourself credit for doing it. Each day that you take the action to make happen what you wrote, you are making deposits in your “I can trust myself and can believe in myself” account. Over time, what you build up in that account will give you the confidence to achieve anything in your life. 

People are watching and listening to you. What are you telling them? What are you telling yourself?





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15 Responses to Our Actions Speak Louder than Our Words

  1. Clara says:

    I love my Daily Win list. Some days it had things on it like, “get out of bed”. It seems so self evident, but being able to check that off as a WIN made such a huge impact on me.

    I have 3 years worth of index cards with WINS on them. Some days I got 100, some days not, but I always tried. That’s been such a huge lesson.

  2. kek says:

    These behaviours, the little things, day after day after day, are what really makes a hero, Michelle.

    You’re right up there on my hero list.

  3. Richard says:

    Excellent Post Michelle!

  4. Janelle says:

    I have learned to only agree to things that mean something to me, not to make success easy, but, rather – why would we constantly agree to do something we really don’t want to do? So I am really careful of what I agree to now. So often we think we have to do what everyone else is doing just because it works for them. Sometimes our own list is just very, very different and that’s okay. I now get all things done on my list because I made everyhing I put there mean something to me. 🙂

    • Linda Ann Smith says:

      Power is in these words, you made me STOP and THINK, I am certainly telling everyone I see the right things, what I tell myself is a whole different story on some days, Thanks for the powerful message Michelle, time to get back on track full time. Part time just isn’t cutting it. You know you think when you are 20. if I was 30 I wouldn’t care, then when you are 30 you think 40 and so time marches on I’m almost 57 and you know what? I still care!

      Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.

      – Christopher Reeve

  5. maryann says:

    excellent stuff here. *sigh* i know all to well the weight of INTENTIONS followed by INACTION or…worse yet…OPPOSITIONAL SABOTAUGE ACTIONS. learning daily to enjoy the JOY of follow-thru and its great. thanks for the reminders. list of 5? i tend to think too hard and end up with a too-long (impossible) list and then when other people or things create a demand in my time and schedule i get cranky and out of shape….i still have my long list, but if things happen i assume they happen for a reason and the “other” undone stuff gets pushed to the next available time slot or delegated to another person. i’m gonna be 47 and i’m just beginning to live my life. joy.

  6. Paul McMahon says:

    Excellent topic Michelle
    I always get a lot more done when I have a “To Do” list at work and can prioritise tasks using and A, B or C designation which equates to “Urgent and Important”, “Important but not urgent” and “Urgent but not important” respectively (“Not urgent and not important” don’t get to stay on the list”).
    When it came to my daily win lists though, over time I became overzealous and created lists of 20 things that would give me a total daily score of 100 … no prizes for guessing how many times I didn’t score top marks … and how it made me feel.
    For me, the trick is to keep my list small and balanced, ensuring that every day can be a “win” – recalling the saying “don’t create a game you can’t win”.
    My daily list now reflects my priorities in life – health, relationship, family, friends, fun, personal development, contribution and work … for me, these are the things that determine my success in life, not the number on the scale or single-digit bodyfat readings obsession of times gone by. As you so rightly said yourself “it’s not about the bikini”!

    “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out” (Robert Collier)

  7. Sara says:

    Thank you for this post—I think that I will start my own list of 5 every day!

  8. Dianne says:

    I especially love the WIN list because it keeps you focused on all the things that went right – all the things you want to keep doing. This always spills over into more and more things that keep going right.

    “You become what you think about the majority of the time.” ~ Wayne Dyer

    Thanks for the beautiful reminder, Michelle!

  9. Paul Bagley says:

    Thanks Michelle,

    Time to be honest so that I can start moving in the right direction.

    I am a chronic liar to myself (and others) and really do not trust what I say I am going to do as I rarely follow through on my plan which snowballs into daily self hate. I too need to be more cautious in putting my lies out there as it tears holes in my being with each lie and who wants to be around a negative loser/liar?(answer – No one as is evident in my life right now). I have pushed so many people close to me away to the point it is affecting my relationship with my wife and children!

    As Paul Mc says – I need to start creating a game I can win and stop following the same patterns that lead to me losing!

    Time to gain back my self-respect so I can work on getting back respect from others in my life. I will start writing down a daily win list and taking it one day at a time.

    Thanks for this post Michelle as it really struck home reading that message this morning, Paul B

  10. Ediegram says:

    What a timely message for me. My problem has always been my daily list are things that I have no problem accomplishing. The easy stuff. I get the workouts done, but I DON’T always come clean with the nutrition, and I am not always accountable. I need to remember to do the daily list and execute it. And make sure that I have items on the list that are hard for me. 🙂

  11. Troy says:

    Michelle, I am so blessed to have met you and that I get to be your friend! You are intelligent and it is an incredible thing to see what you have learned in your own life, put it into words and spread that message to help others with their own journeys.
    Your words and actions make a difference!

  12. kdfitness says:

    Beautiful blog Michelle. Thank you for the reminder of the value and importance of the win list. I have had a major shift in my goals and direction over the summer. I need to get back to implementing the win list to help me be more productive. I have a mission to help others and the more organized and efficient I more I can help others.
    Thank You – Love and miss you Kathy

  13. Laura Howe says:

    I loved reading this. I am a very truthful person and know what I need to do to move forward in life and most times “Just Do It”. But for years finding….or I should say making the time for “ME” was the hardest. After several gallant attempts at weight loss..I saw a “pattern…me loosing focus on me …me lying to myself that I would get re focused over and over. Each time I had valid reasons…being 42 and having a high risk, bed rest only pregnancy, having a c section, having 3 special needs foster teenagers move in, 3 litters of Boxer pups etc etc …but in wanting BALANCE I could no longer use excuses or distractions as in my living for the moment of meetings, diaper changes, puppy poop and so on I was losing valuable energy and living against the current instead of riding with it. I lived once again on coffee and adrenaline which leads me down the same dangerous path each time. I knew all the “stuff” I needed to know but somehow lacked the focus I needed and felt it most important to everyone that depends on me daily and especially to myself to stay on track this time. So I asked Dianne Orwig for her help. I stopped lying to myself that I could do this alone as I KNOW all to well the insanity of my daily grind. Since I have asked her assistance I am going along my eating plan better than ever in my past attempts. I realize that stopping the “promise myself cycle” had to end for me and move forward instead for a Promise for the Future. A healthier wife, mom, foster parent, friend etc. My goal is to live as healthy, active, happy and long as my 99 yr old grandfather did. I surely could not of reached that goal if I continued swimming against the tide as then I would drown for sure eventually. Now I feel like I am on a surf board of life enjoying the up’s and down’s with far better balance. And I am so glad I am swimming with the BEST OF EM'((((hugs))) Laura & Baby Reggie

  14. Jill says:

    Thank you Michelle and everyone else who posted! This is me. I thought I was the only one who made these promises over and over and never followed through. My family and friends used to roll their eyes when I would tell them “Monday is Day 1.” Now I roll my eyes at the thought of sayig it again.

    Sure enough, this morning I was going to really start over (Eyes roll) and then I realized that I had an early morning meeting that would prevent me from going to the gym. I got up, got dressed, had coffee, and looked at my phone to see that my meeting had been cancelled. It was too late to go to the gym. Tonight I have a conference I have to attend so I told myself I will hit the gym tomorrow. (Eyes roll).

    Mihelle, your blog today and everyone’s posts made me see that I can change this habit of planning Day 1’s. I like what Maryann posted.. Intention followed by inaction.” and Oppositional Sabotage Actions. That made me laugh but realize how true it is.

    So here is my promise to myself…a Daily Win List. The 2nd paragraph hit home. So I guess I am not alone and will follow in your footsteps.

    Thanks so much everyone!

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