Motion vs. Action

I am reading James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.  I was introduced to this book via a Craig Groeschel Instagram post (I look for intriguing books every where!).

In Chapter 11, Clear describes the difference between motion and actions.  If you are like me, you probably think these 2 words are the same.  But they really are quite different.

Motion, Clear explains, is about “planning and strategizing and learning.”  While these are good and necessary steps to take, “they don’t produce a result.”

Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will deliver an outcome.”

Think about your world right now.  I’m sure you spend a good amount of time in meetings – project meetings, strategy meetings, coaching sessions, planning meetings, etc.  Are you getting results in those meetings?  No!  You are planning.  You are outlining.  You are discussing.  You are meeting.

The real work begins when you take ACTION. In a meeting you coach your team member to increase client visits.  But that won’t happen until that team member takes ACTION towards that desired outcome.

In a meeting, you can talk about the need to improve the results in a particular metric, but those results will not happen until individuals in various departments actually DO something to improve the results – by taking ACTION that will lead to improvement.

Clear lands on a sensible idea.  We tend to procrastinate because we want to delay failure.  And because of this, many of us don’t take the necessary action because we are trying to find the perfect way of taking action, which can never be found, and thus we put off taking action because we are always researching, meeting, wondering…

“You want to be practicing.”  Repetition, taking action, is key to getting to your results.

Does your sales team need to increase sales?  Sure they do!  Perhaps they need to take action in making more calls.  Or asking better questions in the middle of a sales call.  Or by following up with every client after a call.  Take more and better actions to improve results.

Habits that improve our lives, Clear points out, works in the same way.  You can listen to lectures, podcasts, and seminars about improving your life, but until you take ACTION, you will remain as you are.

You may know this by now, but I am a proponent of reading.  A lot of people I run in to don’t want to read.  “I don’t have time.”  “I can’t read that entire book.”  “I stopped reading right after college.”  “I’m too tired to read at night.”  But they all (mostly) admit they would like to read more.

Make reading a habit by reading (take action) just 10 pages per day.  That’s it. TRead 10 pages per day.  Every day.  Find a consistent time and read those 10 pages.  It will only take about 15-20 minutes.  We all have that time.  Don’t think about reading.  Don’t talk about reading.  Read.  If you do this, you can finish a 300 page book in 30 days.

This works for dieting, exercising, journaling, etc.  It’s good to learn about theses things, but you will not see results in your life until you start doing them.  And the more you take action (repetition), the more results you will see.  And the beginning steps don’t have to be big:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast at home vs hitting the fast-food drive-up lane at the nearest fast food restaurant.
  • Walk for 10 minutes a day.
  • Write one sentence in your journal every day.
  • Read 10 pages per day.

take action

“Repetition is a form of change” Clear explains.  “What matters is that you take the actions you need to take to make progress.”



So, stop reading and get out there and start taking ACTION!  I’m going to do the same!



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