For many of us, there are few things we struggle to find the motivation for more than regular exercise. Whether we are looking to put on some muscle or to shed a few pounds, the physical effort and psychological fortitude that a consistent workout routine requires is unfortunately a taller mental mountain than many are willing to climb.
But what about those who have risen beyond the challenge and have accomplished incredible athletic feats? We may not have the same aspirations as they do, but their success can often be the exact fuel we need to get ourselves off of the couch and onto the treadmill or playing field.
As someone who values staying in shape and being active throughout my entire life, here are 8 of my favourite quotes from successful athletes that help to get me going:
1. “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you, I don’t want to understand you.” – Kobe Bryant
As the 18-time NBA All-Star, 2-time NBA Finals MVP, and 5-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant tells us, it’s a lack of recognition for laziness that helped to get him there. It’s not to say that there isn’t a time and place for a little R&R, but it’s when we let that R&R become a recurrent theme, rather than a needed retreat, that we hit a snag. Work hard and give yourself a true reason to deserve the downtime!
2. “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan
14-time NBA All-Star, 6-time NBA Finals MVP, and 6-time NBA champion Michael Jordan reminds us that obstacles are only as big we make them. We are all bound to come across them in everything that we do in life, so it’s our response to them that dictates whether or not we give ourselves the opportunity to achieve our goals.
3. “I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” – Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali is arguably one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of boxing, and this quote shows us what helped to get him there. Think of how many times you hit the gym and do the same routine you are comfortable with. We all know our bodies adapt, and the only way we can give it the tools to create concrete change is to push it beyond what it has become comfortable with.
4. “Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.” – Mia Hamm
Unless you happen to be a professional athlete, this quote from the FIFA Women’s World Cup winner and two time olympic gold medallist may seem non-applicable, but I beg to differ. We may not have the same passion for a particular sport, but we do all have a younger version of ourselves who loved life, and would love to see you push yourself to maintain your health and live as long as possible.
5. “I’m scared of failure all the time but I’m not scared enough to stop trying.” – Ronda Rousey
As an MMA Champion and olympic gold medallist for women’s judo, Ronda Rousey opens up through this quote by sharing that even those who have achieved success still have fears to conquer. We may be afraid to make a fool of ourselves in a public gym, not make it through a class, or never hit a goal, but that isn’t reason enough to avoid trying altogether.
6. “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you.” – Derek Jeter
14-time MLB All Star and 5-time World Series champion Derek Jeter is arguably the best shortstop to ever play the game of baseball, and it’s clearly his hard work ethic that helped to get him there. The metaphorical cards of talent may have fallen more favourably for others, but the cards of work ethic start equal within all of us. Challenge yourself and see just how far your work ethic can take you and how strong it can grow.
7. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
Even if we work out with regularity, we may never hit our goals, but if we never work out in the first place we are guaranteed never to do so. The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, reminds us that we need to at least give ourselves a chance to succeed, enjoy the learning process, and see whether or not we attain our goals — rather than write them off without even trying.
8. “For me, winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream.” – Emmitt Smith
As a Superbowl MVP and 3-time Superbowl Champion, Emmitt Smith knows what it means to win at the highest levels possible. But even with that degree of success, Emmitt reminds us of the power in the process to getting there, and that every moment in the gym is just as important as even the highest accolade.