[Morpheus to Neo]: Come on! Stop trying to hit me and hit me!
–The Matrix (1999)
Being in Motion Vs. Taking Action
Sometimes people confuse the two because being in motion can feel like taking action, but it’s important to recognize that they are not the same. Being in motion is a necessary step towards taking action, but it’s not enough on its own.
- Being in motion refers to the act of preparing, planning, or gathering information to take action. But in reality, you’re not actually taking any concrete steps towards achieving it. For example, researching and planning a workout routine without actually starting to exercise would be considered being in motion.
- Taking action, on the other hand, refers to actively engaging in behaviors or activities that directly contribute to achieving a goal or completing a task. It’s actually doing something to move towards your goal. This means actually starting to exercise instead of just planning to do so.
Taking Small, Consistent Actions Is The Key
In Atomic Habits, James Clear emphasizes the importance of taking action towards our goals, rather than just being in motion. He explains that taking small, consistent actions is the key to building positive habits and achieving success.
He also highlights the common traps of being in motion, such as analysis paralysis, overthinking, and procrastination, and provides practical strategies for overcoming these obstacles and taking action towards our goals.
How To Increase Motivation
Right! Science has shown that taking action is critical for achieving success and reaching our goals. But, what about if we don’t feel motivated?
You don’t need to feel motivated to take action.
Research has demonstrated that taking action can lead to increased motivation, greater confidence, and improved outcomes. Do something!
Studies have also found that when we take action towards our goals, we experience a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that can motivate us to continue working towards our goals. In contrast, being in motion without actually taking concrete steps towards our goals can lead to feelings of frustration and disappointment, as we fail to see progress or achieve our desired outcomes.
Furthermore, research has shown that taking action can help us overcome negative thoughts and emotions that may be holding us back. By focusing on the actions we can take towards our goals, we can shift our attention away from our fears and doubts and towards a more positive and productive mindset.
Overall, the science supports the importance of taking action towards our goals and demonstrates the positive impact it can have on our motivation, confidence, and outcomes.
Action expresses priorities.
– Mahatma Gandhi
Strategies For Taking Action
Here are some strategies that can help you take action towards your goals and avoid getting stuck in a cycle of being in motion:
1. Start with a small task
Choose a small task that you have been putting off and take action on it right now. This could be something as simple as sending an email, making a phone call, or cleaning your workspace.
2. Break down your goals into smaller, actionable steps
Instead of focusing on the big picture, break down your goals into smaller, more manageable steps that you can take action on. This makes it easier to get started and helps you stay motivated as you make progress towards your goals. For instance, write just a page a day.
3. Set a timer
Set a timer for 15-30 minutes and focus on taking action towards your goals during that time. Use the Pomodoro Technique or a similar time-management strategy to help you stay focused and motivated.
What’s The Pomodoro Technique:
The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management strategy that can help you stay focused and productive by breaking your workday into smaller, more manageable chunks of time. Here’s how it works:
- Choose a task: Choose a task that you want to work on, and make sure it’s something that can be completed in a relatively short amount of time (such as 25 minutes).
- Set a timer: Set a timer for 25 minutes (this is known as a “Pomodoro”).
- Work on the task: Work on the task for the entire 25 minutes, without any interruptions or distractions. If you think of something else you need to do, write it down and come back to it later.
- Take a break: When the timer goes off, take a short break (5-10 minutes) to rest and recharge. Get up from your desk, stretch, or do something else to refresh your mind and body.
- Repeat: Repeat the process for another 25 minutes, followed by another short break. After four Pomodoros, take a longer break (20-30 minutes) to rest and recharge before starting again.
The Pomodoro Technique can be a helpful way to stay focused and productive, especially if you struggle with distractions or procrastination. By breaking your workday into smaller, more manageable chunks of time, you can work more efficiently and stay motivated throughout the day.
4. Take imperfect action
Remember that taking imperfect action is better than taking no action at all. Don’t wait until everything is perfect or until you have all the information you need to get started. Take action now, and adjust your approach as you go.
5. Hold yourself accountable
Find ways to hold yourself accountable for taking action towards your goals. This might involve sharing your goals with a friend or family member, joining a support group, or hiring a coach or mentor who can help keep you on track.
6. Write down your goals
Write down your goals and the steps you need to take to achieve them. Seeing your goals on paper can help you stay motivated and focused on taking action.
7. Set deadlines
Setting deadlines for yourself can help you stay accountable and ensure that you are making progress towards your goals. Be sure to set realistic deadlines that give you enough time to complete your tasks, but also push you to take action.
8. Get organized
Take some time to organize your workspace or your schedule. Cleaning up your space and decluttering your mind can help you feel more focused and motivated to take action.
9. Celebrate your progress
Finally, be sure to celebrate your progress along the way. Taking action towards your goals can be challenging, but celebrating your successes can help you stay motivated and focused on the end goal.
Remember, taking action doesn’t have to be a big, dramatic gesture. Small, consistent actions taken over time can lead to significant progress towards your goals. Start small, stay focused, and celebrate your successes along the way.
- Pick one strategy and do it now!