“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.” – Aristotle.
Or as Will Durant recapitulated in ‘The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s Greatest Philosophers’, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
For our purposes as fitness enthusiasts, this is both bad news and good news. The bad news is that fitness is hard work. We must repeatedly “act rightly” in order to achieve our ends. We must show up repeatedly. We must give our full effort repeatedly. We must eat appropriately repeatedly. That’s hard work.
The good news is two-fold. The obvious is that when repeatedly do all these things we see results. And the longer we act this way, the greater the results!!
The second reason is not so immediately obvious; particularly to those who have high expectations of themselves. Since we are what we repeatedly do, we are NOT what we do only occasionally. As our friend Anthony Bainbridge of CrossFit Fredericton wrote, “One good meal won’t fix a bad diet, just like one bad meal won’t ruin a good diet. Get back on track at the very next meal.” The same is true for missed workouts. Just get yourself back on track the next day. There is no need to beat yourself up; to wallow in guilt and shame. If you are regularly acting rightly, you are a fitness creature of excellence and virtue. Act like it. Be proud of yourself and do the next right thing.