Picture someone you would consider as a fit, active and healthy person- maybe a friend, family members or work colleague.
Why would you think of them as this?
Is it because they talk about doing the things that make them fit and healthy or is it because they actually do the work required that makes them fit and healthy?
I would bet that it’s the latter- it’s because they actually do the work required. They act on the goals they want to achieve.
You see, when it comes to achieving the results you want such as better health, a more rewarding lifestyle, better stress management, a leaner physique, less reliance on medication, less risk of life-style related illness, etc., the only way you will ever get it is by doing the work required.
And the thing about work is that it takes effort and you need to decide whether the effort required is worth the benefits that you want to see.
But what you see with a lot of people is that they focus on surface actions instead of core actions.
Surface actions make you look busy as if you are actually doing something but they rarely result in any true long-lasting benefit. They are often done to make ourselves look better in the eyes of other people and to give us a false sense of doing something pro-active.
Core actions on the other hand focus less on impressing other people and focus instead on channeling that energy into the task that will actually deliver the required result.
Before you can change this behaviour you must become aware of it. I’ve often found myself focusing on surface actions instead of core actions. Without awareness you are simply powerless to improve your situation.
While it’s true in all areas of life, we’ll focus on how this applies to getting fit and healthy so that you can enjoy a better quality of life.
An example of a surface action would be talking for 6 months about joining the gym, getting all the brochures, phoning up countless gyms, etc but never actually getting started.
Another one would be posting endless inspirational, health & fitness, etc. memes to your Facebook page without actually doing the work to implement them.
Another would be endless hours of planning, research and talking about what you are going to do without actually doing it.
Another would be overhauling your entire lifestyle at the start of January by quitting all junk food, going off the drink, quitting smoking, going from zero to 5 gym sessions a week and making your life revolve around your new fitness routine. You buy all the training gear, download all the fitness apps and buy all the fitness gadgets but come February it’s all after losing it’s sparkle.
You might look busy but all it’s all shallow work designed to impress others and sub-consciously fool yourself.
We all have limited energy available and all this ‘busy’ effort robs you of the energy that is required to implement the core actions necessary for you to see progress.
Core actions on the other hand focus on doing the work consistently. Eating healthily, exercising often, getting a good nights sleep, engaging hobbies, keeping yourself hydrated, eating your veg, reducing excessive processed foods, etc. are some of the core actions required to enjoy a great quality lifestyle.
People who follow this path rarely talk about it and definitely don’t try to define themselves by it. They have gotten clear on their ‘WHY’ for taking care of their personal health & fitness needs.
They simply don’t have the time or desire for trying to impress other people. They also hold themselves to a higher standard where shallow, surface actions aren’t acceptable once they become aware of them.
They might have the latest gadget but it’s an addition to their fitness plan and not the main event.
They might post an inspirational picture but they’ve been living the message it contains for months or years.
Take home message
Surface actions make us look busy but never deliver the results we want. They are designed to impress others and give us the false sense of taking action- ‘I’m serious about this, look at how busy I am.’ Surface actions lead to constant drama, stagnation and frustration. And of course, no sustainable results.
Core actions on the other hand focus on consistently taking action regardless of what others think. This doesn’t mean that it takes over your life. I t means that you know what kind of life you want and are committed to creating it.
If your goal is sustainable health, fitness and fat-loss and you’re serious about enjoying a high quality lifestyle then make it your goal to drop the surface actions once you become aware of them and start focusing on the core actions that will get you there.
What are your thoughts, let me know in the comments section below and have a great week.
Marie Bryan says
Thanks Steve! I lost december and january to christmas excess. Now is an opportunity for me to get rid of that junk weight. It can be done. I’m going to make an effort: eating just off my own plate; cutting back on evening overeating due to tiredness/habit. Also, i got a new bike and I’m going to get up to speed and get back with my club. Thank you for that; much appreciated!
Steve McGrath says
I think we all lost a little to those months Marie so don’t worry about it too much- you’re doing great
Donal Herlihy says
You are correct The biggest problem people have is that they do not treat their health seriously enough
The quality of life is vastly improved by Putting it on top of their agenda.
I have been following Steve’s advice for over 10 years and plan continuing to do so .
Steve McGrath says
Wise words from our longest serving client!! You’re a great example of focusing on core actions instead of surface actions Donal. If more people followed your example they would never go back!
Yes I would like to get involved have a back injury like to hear from you
Steve McGrath says
Hey Frank. If you email email@example.com we can organise a quick phone and take it from there.
Michael Quinn says
very good article and i can releate to it myself as i have been guilty of doing exactly the same.we can all make excuses about not being able to stick to a program ie work commitments, tiredness or family situations but these are only excuses as i would have no problem sitting on the couch for a couple of hours every night so i’m determined that this time i’m going to make a life change that will just become part of my normal life
Steve McGrath says
You’re off to a great start Micky. We all definitely have life challenges that can make it more challenging to keep ourselves fit, strong and healthy, but as you’re proving to yourself over the last few weeks, you can make it work if you go about it the right way.