The Difference Between Motion and Action

Reading two books
back-to-back on the subject of habits has really created a lot of new directions for me to pursue.  I have struggled with procrastination all my life and change has come slowly. One book, Atomic Habits by James Clear, has been an eye opener. I am especially drawn to his discussion of MOTION versus ACTION. 

"When you're in motion, you're planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things but they don't produce a result. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will deliver an outcome...It's easy to be in motion and convince yourself that you're still making progress. ..Motion makes you feel like you're getting things done." - Atomic Habits

Stop a minute and think on that.  Past advice I had been given always focused on setting goals, making lists, creating a vision board, planning, reading, classes, workshops, etc. While planning is important, the author is asking us to look at our actions as well.  I wasn't totally on board at first.  Then it started to sink in when he offered several examples. I saw myself immersed in dreaming and planning, but never getting around to the daily actions necessary to realize my dreams.  

I have shared many times I have an ADD driven racing mind. It can be a challenge to rein in, and create a lot of tension at times. But the ADD also has come with many blessings. I can juggle several inputs at once, and when I start a project, I get an amazing laser focus and burst of energy that lets me dive in with my entire being. I can produce huge results in a short span of time. When that initial burst  is over, however, the follow through can be hard as the next adrenaline rush starts calling.  Projects die on the vine.

Photo by Katt Yukawa on Unsplash

As an author, the distractions are always an issue.  I meet people, I reach out for interviews, I think about future books I want to write. I think of titles and subtitles. I create a list of chapters for a book and/or a title page. I connect with other authors. I talk about writing. I plan and dream. I build my presence on social media. I work on marketing myself, my books and my blog. What's missing here? I'm not sitting down every day to write. 

My initial energy is spent totally on the motions of getting starting and I never quite get to the action part of producing new work. It's the habit of writing every day, day after day, where the material needed for an article or book is created. It is writing every day where I continue to hone my skills.  

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it—but all that had gone before.” - Atomic Habits

I have started this process already by committing to showing up as often as I can to the November NaNoWritMo writing sessions organized on zoom by Melody Owen of Author Nation.  In December, when this is finished, I will have to come up with a new way to encourage myself to SHOW UP for my daily writing practice.  And I have committed to be in Pursuit 365, 2022 edition, social media blast day of September 20, 2022.  The idea is to aim for this as a launch day for a new book. 

Another secret?  New habits take both repetition and time to develop, and showing up is the only path to getting there. Regular repetition may feel like a waste, like nothing is happening. Then BAM - things shift. Beginning to work out at a gym, starting out on a learn to run program, trying to write your first book.....each of these take constantly showing up and doing the work before you begin to see serious results.  

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

The process has begun, the secret will be creating a habit that continues.  What small step could you take starting today to move from Motion (planning), to Action (doing) that will move your towards the person you want to become?