Motion vs. Action

Motion vs. Action

When you first look at it you might not think there is a big difference between the two. This is a mistake that a lot of people make though.

They cannot tell the difference between when they are in motion vs when they are actually taking action.

What is the difference?

James Clear does a great job of defining the difference between being in motion and taking action. His definitions:

Motion is when you’re busy doing something, but that task will never produce an outcome by itself.

Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will get you a result.

Far too many people are in constant motion thinking they are being super productive when in reality, they never truly achieve anything!


If I wanted to try to lose weight I might do some of the following:

  • Look up healthy recipes to cook.
  • Call up local gyms to inquire about rates for a personal trainer.
  • Schedule out all my meals for the week.
  • Browse the internet for a workout I can follow.

On the surface these all look like good things and some might be necessary. However, they are all just motions. They are not actually giving you a result, just making you feel like you are getting closer to your goals.

To actually make progress you need to take action:

  • Hire a personal trainer and actually go workout.
  • Go grocery shopping for the meals you planned.
  • Cook the meals and eat them.

This is where most people make the mistake. They get too stuck in the motion phase and never make it to the action steps.

Why is this?

If we realize that only action leads to results, shouldn’t everyone be taking action all the time?

You would think so, but this isn’t the case. We stay in motion for a couple reasons.

The first is viable; sometimes we need more information or planning before we can start the action steps.

Take for example this blog post. I researched the idea, jotted down ideas, even sketched up a quick outline. These actions did not provide an actual result but were needed to help me finally write.

The second reason you may be stuck in motion is more common – we like to feel like we are making progress without the risk of failure.

Nobody likes to be turned down, made fun of or fail. Being in motion gives us the opportunity to feel good with no chance of failing.


What to do about it?

There are plenty of “productivity tips” or planners out there that will say they will help you take action. The problem is, most of us research them and read blogs about productivity all day long but do nothing about it.

This makes us feel like we are making progress but in fact is just a form of procrastination.

Instead, keep it simple. I am going to refer back to James Clear again as he has two simple ideas for taking action.

1) Set a schedule for your actions

This works well for lifestyle and on-going goals.

If you want to lose weight, set a schedule and workout Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Actually go to the gym and do the work.

Go grocery shopping every Sunday and Wednesday. Set up your bulk cooking every Sunday afternoon. This is action. Set a schedule and stick to it.


2) Pick a date

If you have a goal that a weekly schedule will not work for, pick a date instead. This is good for a big, one time projects.

Maybe you have a new product you want to film or an idea for a cooking workshop for your clients. Set a date!

They will probably need motion in the beginning to get set up but by setting an actual date, you can switch from motion to action. Otherwise you can easily just run on the hamster wheel, thinking you are making progress without ever accomplishing anything.

Remember, motion will never produce a result. Action will.

Choose action!

-The Habit Team


p.s. If you want help taking action and starting your first Habit Catalyst 6 Week Nutrition Challenge with your clients just let us know. We will upload your list of clients for you to make it even easier! Shoot us an email at to get started.


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