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  • Writer's pictureJessica Parsons

Being in Motion vs. Taking Action, The Difference



Let's talk about habit building, the "flower child" topic these days.


If you haven't already read the book "Atomic Habits," by James Clear, you are not in the clear...


Just halfway through, and you'll be amazed at how much you thought you knew about habits, habit building, and what it all means.


This is not a book review, but I do want to reference this book and the fine job it does talking about habits—specifically, the difference between staying in motion vs. taking action.


The two ideas sound similar, but they're not the same. When you're in motion, you're planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things, but they don't produce a result," (page 142).

And that's exactly the point of a habit; to produce a result. Whether we're creating good habits, or eliminating bad ones—though still equally important—is currently irrelevant.


But when we're in motion, we're still moving, so that's taking action, right? Well, not necessarily. Why? Because simply planning, creating, and learning are not the end goal, at least not when it comes to running a successful start up, for example.


Don't get me wrong; planning, creating, and learning are all necessary things. And to actually perform a task to develop a habit (such as exercising at the gym, or eating a healthier diet) might even start with planning and researching. But it isn't enough to stop there, even if it feels good.


It's easy to be in motion and convince yourself that you're still making progress," (page 143).

The problem is that simply staying in motion robs us of opportunities to be a success, to go for something more, to be more. When we talk about legacy building in leadership, we want our work and efforts to make an impact on not only the community around us, but the world we live in. The bottom line is we're afraid to fail, so we slip into safety mode and continue planning, while neglecting to act on those plans, whether we realize it or not.


If this isn't you, and you're full of initiative, that is amazing! You probably live a successful life you enjoy and often hear, "How do you do it?" But you know the simple answer, and it involves cracking the code: habits.

If this is you, however, you might think you're full of initiative, and maybe you're capable of producing. But you may find, more often than not, that you are surrounded with lots of ideas, creativity, and motivation, but you can't seem to "do" anything with what you have, even if you have the means to act.


  • Motion says, "I've got a gig lined up with a client and it's looking good. We are moving in the right direction."

  • Action says, "I just met with a client and have secured their investment. We are 1% better than we were yesterday."


Which one do you choose—to move or to act? How do you want to live your life?


"The starting point is always now. The end is up to you," (Ron Kaufman).

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1 comentário


shaffer.jeffreya
17 de mai. de 2023

Being in motion, without action makes me think of this quote: “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” (Thoreau)

There needs to be an action to accomplish what it is we are planning or want to achieve. Without it, we have a great plan which never gets executed, or fool ourselves it has been.

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