Healthy Living

Being in motion versus taking action can keep you from making progress

I recently read “Atomic Habits” by habits guru James Clear and had a huge aha moment when he discussed the difference between “being in motion” and “taking action.”

Clear explains that while motion and action sound very similar, they are quite different.

Being in motion: When you’re in motion, you are gathering information, strategizing and learning. Even though preparation is important before

taking action … we often get stuck in motion and never really get to action.

Taking action: Motion can support a goal — but motion doesn’t produce a result. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that delivers a

result. For example, motion is buying lettuce at the grocery store. Action is eating the lettuce before it goes bad.

Stuck In Motion

The best example I can give of being “stuck in motion” is when my husband and I got excited about swimming laps.

My husband purchased swim goggles, I bought a swim cap, flipflops and looked up open swim times. We had great intentions to swim laps. However, we got

stuck in the motion phase and never once jumped into the pool. Even though it felt like we were making progress toward our goal, it didn’t make a difference because we never got wet. Can you relate?

Here Are More Examples Of Being In Motion Vs. Taking Action:

• Being in motion:

Researching healthy recipes, purchasing healthy food at the store.

• Taking action:

Eating a healthy dinner.

• Being in motion:

Talking to a personal trainer at the gym.

• Taking action:

Doing pushups with the personal trainer.

• Being in motion:

Making a list of potential clients.

• Taking action:

Calling a potential client.

Avoiding Risk Of Failure

If motion doesn’t lead to results, then why do we do it?

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“More often than not, we do it because motion allows us to feel like we’re making progress without running the risk of failure,” Clear says. “It’s easy to be in motion and convince yourself that you’re still making progress.

“When preparation becomes a form of procrastination, you need to change something. You don’t want to merely be planning. You want to be

practicing.”

Move To Action

While preparation and planning are important, and necessary to achieve goals, you don’t want to get stuck in the “motion” phase.

For my husband and me, we had the false belief that we were making progress toward our goal of swimming laps. But in reality, we needed to dive in and get wet to swim laps, not just plan to dive in.

Are you “in motion” or “taking action” with your New Year’s goals? Where can you take action and “dive in” in 2020? How will you take action this week?

• Kylie Alger is a certified wellness coach and co-owner of the Well-Woman: Body, Mind & Spirit. Comments: kylie@thewellwoman.org

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