There is a famous quote from the Greek philosopher Socrates.

It reads: “Knowing is not the same as doing.” For most people, that is something they understand but don’t do.

In other words, most people know what to do in different situations — whether at work or in their personal lives — but don’t do those things often enough.

Most people know that eating healthier is better for their body and their health. They know to drink more water, but they don’t.

They know exercising regularly is good for them, but they don’t. They know being social is vital for their health, but they still feel lonely.

Knowing and doing are two different steps. If you are stuck at the first step, you are experiencing a disconnection between knowledge and action.

Most people know what to do; they just don’t commit to action often enough

Make plans. Learn something new. But always remember, what you do matters more. Jason Fried is right, “What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.”

Knowledge is great, but action is what makes a difference in your life. Taking small steps towards positive change will lead you to a healthier you.

It can be as simple as taking the time to get more exercise or as big as becoming more involved in your community through volunteering or serving on a board. Whatever it may be, action is critical in creating the life you want to live and staying healthy and happy does not have to be complicated.

Some people buy more books and read many great books, but they fall short of the most important step: practice.

You can learn all the important life skills in the world, but without consistent practice, you won’t make progress.

The only way to make a new behavior second nature is to take consistent action.

The same is true for career development. All the training won’t help you become a better version of yourself if you fall short of practicing what you know in the real world. You can improve, build confidence, and make progress by keeping your knowledge and action aligned.

The smartest people or highly productive people get good at both learning and applying knowledge. Learn how to write, but you are better off hitting publish and learning from your actions.

Pablo Picasso was right when he said, “Action is the foundational key to all success.”

Warren Buffet reads a lot. But applies what he is learning on the job — he makes excellent investing decisions that make him fortunes. Many wise and productive people use the same process to get what they want.

By all means, find better or smarter knowledge. Take it a step further, apply what you learn, and you will become unstoppable.

Intelligence is the ability to learn new knowledge, learn from experience and apply what you learn to new situations to achieve your goals.

Knowledge is power, but it’s not enough

“Action is the real measure of intelligence.” — Napoleon Hill

Knowledge alone is not action. To take action, you have to understand your personal situation and the goals you’re trying to achieve.

It’s hard to connect knowledge and action without clear goals. Achieving results is hard when you don’t know what you need or want.

Once you’ve established that baseline for action, then you can start applying the right knowledge to solve specific life challenges.

“Every action needs to be prompted by a motive,” Leonardo da Vinci said.

If you are struggling financially, identify specific areas you need improvement: budgeting, reducing spending, making more money or investing better. And then learn everything you can about that area and apply that knowledge consistently to improve your circumstances.

The same principle applies in almost all areas of life. “Action expresses priorities,” Mahatma Gandhi said.

Knowledge is critical to any long-term success because it allows you to take advantage of new opportunities to upgrade, improve or change. But you have to take the next step in the change process.

The challenge, however, is that many people struggle to translate their knowledge into action.

If you are struggling to bridge the gap, start small. Repeat good behaviors slowly. Don’t overwhelm your brain.

The most successful people take action and move forward. They create new opportunities, change things, and make a difference in their lives.

Smart people are constantly looking for ways to improve their lives and work toward their goals. People willing to take action go above and beyond to succeed in life. Action shows you’re capable of doing something because you’ve reached a point where you know how to do it.

You can make a difference in your life if you close the gap between knowledge and action. Nothing happens until something changes. Truly smart people focus on getting results. You are the sum of your actions.

This article originally appeared in Medium.