Healthy Habits

Motion vs. Action

Woman cooking healthy meal

Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, describes a useful strategy when attempting to create, change, or eliminate a habit. When it comes to personal progression, what is the difference between being in motion vs. being in action?

Clear describes motion as planning, strategizing, and learning. It’s easy to get bogged down in this phase as you try to find the optimal plan for change. However, these things don’t produce a result. In all the time spent trying to figure out the best approach, you fail to start or act.

Action is the type of behavior that will deliver an outcome. Action is completing the behavior change (i.e., eating a vegetable, writing an article, taking the picture, etc.)

The following examples illustrate the differences between motion vs. action.

Researching the best way to save money.Saving money by not eating out.
Outlining twenty ideas for articles you want to write.Writing an article.
Searching for recipes and meal plans.Eating a healthy meal.
Talking to a personal trainer.Completing a workout.
Identifying business contacts.Calling a business contact.

James Clear stated, “If motion doesn’t lead to results, why do we do it? Sometimes we do it because we actually need to plan or learn more. But more often than not, we do it because motion allows us to feel like we’re making progress without running the risk of failure. Motion makes you feel like you’re getting things done. But really, you’re just preparing to get something done. When preparation becomes a form of procrastination, you need to change something.”

Are you in a motion or action phase regarding your desired behavior change? Take a moment to identify what steps could be helpful in both categories and start checking off the items in your “action” column.

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