We are what we repeatedly do — not what we once did, and not what we did only once.

One mistake does not define you, nor does a single act of kindness. These events may provide glimpses of a potential you, but who you really are is revealed by what you do on a daily basis.

  • You can say that health is important to you, but if you don’t eat and act healthfully, it’s just not so.
  • Thinking about writing doesn’t make you a writer; writing makes you a writer. If you’re not writing, you’re not a writer.
  • You can say your life’s too busy and you want to slow down, but so long as you keep scheduling things, you’re showing that you value your busy-ness more than the downtime.

I’ve self-identified as fit for almost five years. For most of that time, I have been fit. I’ve eaten well and exercised often. But during the past year, my attention has been focused elsewhere. My priorities have shifted. As a result, I’ve allowed my diet and exercise regimen to slip until today they’re average at best. I can see it in my body and feel it in my mind.

Talking about fitness and having been fit in the past won’t make me fit today. To be fit, I have to be fit. Fitness will return when I choose to eat right and exercise once again. Not just once, but every day.

If you don’t like who you are, choose to be somebody new.

We are what we repeatedly do.

Note: This quote — “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” — is frequently attributed to the philosopher Aristotle. However, Aristotle never wrote this. Instead, the quote is Will Durant’s summary of Aristotle’s philosophy.

4 Replies to “We Are What We Repeatedly Do”

  1. Last Wednesday – sailing, Friday – sailing, Saturday – sailing, Sunday – Sailing.

    It’s Monday and I have to be at work all day. I’ll get to go sailing again on Wednesday.

    I think you can see what I’m aiming for here, though.

  2. I love this post. Short and simple, yet profound. I constantly struggle with the mental image of what I want to be and the actual habits that occupy my days. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. RR says:

    JD — this is a great post with a wonderful message. Thank you.

  4. Marie Zalbe says:

    A short yet meaningful post. Thanks for sharing this. I agree with you, there is nothing happened to us if we just kept on thinking. What should we do is to act also. Your post molds me to go through what I want to be for myself.

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