Have you ever wanted to change something in your life, but felt stuck?
You know you need to make a change, but you don’t.
You are sitting there and “smelling it”
What in the world does that mean? Keep reading.
Back when I was a music major in college, I was in the Marching Band for 4 years. (I played piccolo and baritone btw). We had a very dynamic director (Hi Mike Davis!), who at the time became a very influential person in my life. His enthusiasm for teaching was contagious, and I wanted to be just like him when I became a teacher. Many of us wanted to be like him, and be able to get our students to love music, and love being part of a team that came together out of the love for what they were doing.
Mike Davis had many great quotes. So many in fact, that we made a song about them at the end of the a season.
But this quote has stuck with me for all of these years:
If It Stinks, Don’t Sit There and Smell It
He said this all the time to us. What he was referring to was pitch. Meaning, if you were sustaining a note or playing a part that didn’t sound good, or didn’t sound in tune, don’t just keep playing that out-of-tune note and do nothing. Change it. Do something.
As instrumentalists, we had the ability to alter pitch fairly easily. We could alter pitch by adjusting our mouth position, or even adjusting part of the instrument itself. If we pulled out the tuning slide, that was doing something. When playing flute, if we rolled out the head joint, that was doing something. If playing the trombone, moving the slide slightly one way or the other could make the difference.
What he was really saying was he wanted us to take action. Because if we didn’t take action, we would continue to sound bad.
Our director’s point was if something isn’t working, and you know it isn’t working, change it. Because it isn’t going to get any better by sitting there and “smelling it” (doing nothing)
I think about that quote a lot, and have used it through my teaching years many many times.
The quote is really about change, and how if you don’t like something, make a change. Change something. Take Action.
But Why Don’t We Take Action?
We all know that our life would be better if we took action, whether it be taking action on our fitness goals, our job, or even taking action on the clutter in the family room.
If we know things would get better, why don’t we take action?
Here are the main reasons we don’t take action:
Have you heard any of these sayings before?
“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side”
“Better the Devil you know”
You usually hear these as they relate to a job situation.
Many people stay in jobs they hate out of fear
➡️ Fear that it may not be better somewhere else- The Grass isn’t always greener on the other side
➡️ Fear that the new boss will be worse than the current one. Better the devil you know
Fear can be paralyzing. It can stop you in your tracks and keep you in the black hole you are already in.
Almost all of the excuses we give for not starting a fitness and nutrition program are based out of fear. Here are the more common fear-based excuses:
- I don’t have time. I am so busy. My life is crazy right now (translation: I am scared). Let’s face it. We are all busy. But the reality is, we can all find some time for things that are important to us.
- I can’t afford it. (translation: I am scared). We say we can’t afford the gym membership, or the coaching, but we don’t talk about ways we could save and prioritize. And if money was truly the issue, there are plenty of other ways to get that workout in, or change up your nutrition that don’t cost much if anything at all.
- “Nothing works for me. I have tried everything and I can’t lose the weight” (translation: I am scared that I won’t be successful again). Chances are people haven’t literally tried everything, but it is much easier to have something to blame the lack of success on.
I consider myself a reformed Perfectionist. I think I have been this way my entire life, but have literally just figured this out in more recent years.
The biggest problem with being a perfectionist is all of the wasted time you spend chasing that perfection could have been used for taking action, getting valuable feedback, making things better, and ultimately making progress towards your goals.
Perfectionism is another paralyzing trait that keeps us “marking time” ( a marching band term for marching in place – not moving forward).
Perfectionism is also based out of fear (see #1). Fear of failure.
For a perfectionist, the fear of failure can be overwhelming.
What if I don’t lose the weight? (Then I am not perfect anymore)
What if I miss a workout? (Then I am not perfect anymore)
And what comes with the above ^^ can be irrational feelings of others judging you for not being perfect. The Perfectionist’s worse nightmare: Being judged as less than perfect.
I know. I’ve been there.
“I will start this program when I have more time – when I am not so busy”
A perfectionist thinks there is a perfect time to start, but the reality is, there is no perfect time, and deep down, I think most perfectionists know that. There will always be busy schedules, practices to take the kids to, things that need to be done around the house. That perfect time will never come because it doesn’t exist. It’s all tied to fear. The fear of not being perfect.
3. We Spend Way Too Much Time Planning and Not Doing
I used to be guilty as charged. I love to learn (and still do). Learning something new that you are passionate about is exciting and energizing. But it won’t mean much if you don’t act on it.
We spend way too much time trying to plan something out perfectly (see #2 and #1) that we don’t get the valuable experience, hands- on- knowledge, and opportunities to fail and get better as a result.
Take that class, participate in that workshop, finish that research, then put it into practice.
So How Can I Take Action When it “Stinks”
Taking action doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor, or taking on many different things. So many people think they need to do a complete overhaul, when really it’s not like that at all. Taking on too much can get overwhelming, and can ultimately paralyze you from doing anything.
Taking action is making a change.
By changing one thing, it can feel doable and not so overwhelming. How many times have you walked into your house and felt like the whole house needs to be de-cluttered? There is so much, that you don’t even know where to start..
So you don’t.
Instead of focusing on the bigger picture (the whole house), focus on just one room, or even a closet. Something small that feels doable and that you can accomplish. Once that closet or room is finished, you will be motivated to take on another room.
Accomplishment breeds success and motivation.
“Life is Really Simple, but we insist on making it complicated” – ~Confucius
One simple change that you implement is all it takes to start
So how can I take action with my fitness goals?
We don’t like how we look, or how we feel. We want to lose weight. We want to change. How can we get started?
Here are some ideas on how you can take small actionable steps in your fitness journey:
If going all in on a low calorie diet is too overwhelming, or if trying to meal prep is too much, how about doing just one of these:
- Increase the amount of protein you are consuming. Just focus on your protein.
- Add more vegetables to your meals during the course of a day. Just focus on vegetables.
- Add more fruit to your meals throughout the day Just focus on fruit.
- Drink more water every day. Just focus on water.
By just focusing on one aspect of nutrition, you can begin to create habits and you will become better able and even more motivated to focus on other aspects of your nutrition.
Success breeds more Success.
If starting a whole new training program is too overwhelming, how about doing this:
✅ Go for a walk every day- Start small and gradually increase the amount of time you walk.
✅ If you are not already doing so, try committing to strength training once a week
✅ Try working out for 15 minutes 4-5 times a week rather than an hour. By keeping your workouts shorter, you will feel that you are accomplishing something and moving forward. Something is always better than nothing and you can always go longer.
✅ If you are already working out and need to change something up, how about adding one more workout to your schedule during the week? Or add a metabolic conditioning finisher to the end of one of your workouts?
It’s about just changing one thing at a time to start moving forward.
It’s about taking action towards your goals
If you have something that “stinks” in your life, remember this: It won’t get any better by sitting there and “smelling” it. Take action.
If I can help you take that first step, or help you with any part of your journey, hit reply below!
Here’s to your health!