Short Words, Small Changes, Same Impact

While cleaning out one of my short story folders yesterday, I found this short essay from Richard Lederer’s The Miracle of Language:

When you speak and write, there is no law that says you have to use big words. Short words are as good as long ones, and short, old words–like sun and grass and home–are best of all. A lot of small words, more than you might think, can meet your needs with a strength, grace, and charm that large words do not have…

Short words are bright like sparks that glow in the night, prompt like the dawn that greets the day, sharp like the blade of a knife, hot like salt tears that scald the cheek, quick like moths that flit from flame to flame, and terse like the dart and sting of a bee.

(You probably noticed that his entire essay is all one-syllable words.)

I’ve always loved this passage for it’s focus on simplicity and on using the best words possible. Amateur writers (that would be moi) sometimes tend to “go big” and write in an overly-complicated way that does nothing to further the story. Not in a good way, anyway, and I have boxes of bad short stories that prove it. :)

What the heck does this have to do with fitness, you ask? Well, think about it.

If you’re like me (and I pray that you’re NOT), your past contains multiple episodes of complicated weight loss and exercise plans…

First, there was the ‘Lose Weight without Trying’ approach:
Magical Fat-melting Medicine (available in 4 easy payments of $19.95)
Billy Bob’s Fantastic Fitness Machine (available in 4 easy payments of $39.95)
Fannybuster’s Fat-melting Miracle Bodysuit (available in 3 easy payments of $49.95)

Frustrated, ten pounds heavier with each effort, and now broke, you moved onto the magazine plans:
The Miracle Grapes-and-Turnips Diet
The Walk Backwards and Lose Weight Faster Exercise Program
The 40-Day Plan to lose 80 Pounds While You Sleep

Two years older and thirty additional pounds wiser, you decide to tackle the DIY approach: Three-a-day workouts, 800 calories, four gallons of water. No chocolate. Ever.

When that doesn’t work, you try again: Four-a-day workouts, 600 calories, six gallons of water, and no one is allowed to even say chocolate in your presence.

Hmmm, that doesn’t work and you decide it’s the quality of your calories, so you cut out any foods that contain any of the letters in the word chocolate.

On and on it goes. Or maybe that was just me.

And maybe I’m being a bit silly with it. :)

My point is that I think we sometimes get so caught up in making plans on how we can lose weight (or maintain the loss) that we over-complicate things. We build training programs that most athletes would find difficult to maintain, programs that often lead to injury or overstressed limbs and ligaments. We design eating plans that are nutrient-dense and reality poor, at least for the way we live. Instead of laying foundations and building on them, layer by layer, we build dreams that are destined to die.

It only took me 15-20 years to figure out that small changes, like small words, can make a big difference and completely change the tone of our stories.

What small change will you make today?

Will you toss, roast, broil, steam, or stew?

Will you dip, lunge, press, squat, lift, crunch, walk, run, jog, push, pull, play, laugh, rest, sip, and/or chew?

Will you TRY?

Will you DO?

Will you have some choc– shoot, I still can’t figure out how to make that one fit in, but I’m working on it? :)

Wishing you the simple joy of success today!