Motion vs action

How do you avoid being stuck in motion and start taking action?

I first heard about these terms from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. A perfect example of this happening in my life is, I want to keep fit.

Keeping fit is simple and it only requires 2 simple steps:

  1. Find a workout
  2. Start working out/ exercising

Finding a workout took me weeks as I was stuck in the motion. I didn’t start doing the exercise, which is the action that I need to take to have the outcome of me being fit.

These days I don’t research much. I wake up in the morning, wash up, and just grab my yoga mat. Turn on youtube, and start following the instructor on the video, instead of just looking at the video to see if it is suitable for me.

It’s the same thing with starting this site. Starting a site requires just 2 steps:

  1. Sign up with a web host, decide your domain name, which plug-in to install and which theme to use.
  2. Produce content for the site.

I was stuck at step 1 for a week.

Another example is start investing. 2 Steps is all you need:

  1. Research and find a stock to buy
  2. Actual buying of the stock

I used to research on a lot of stocks, and then when I think I found the perfect stock to buy, I just couldn’t find the perfect time or price to buy it. So I just waited and waited, while I watch the stock price became more and more expensive. I just tell myself to find another stock to buy. This process just goes on and on, like a rat on a wheel. I was never able to buy the stock, because I was either still researching on it, or the price isn’t right.

How did I break out of motion and start taking action?

  1. Make the action as easy as possible. Start small.
    On keeping fit:
    I started with a 15 mins yoga video that is very simple for me to do, so that I do not dread doing it. Imagine if I had a 1 hour yoga video, I think I would have given up on it. You can also think of this, doing 2 push ups vs doing 10 push ups in a row, which one are you more likely to stick with? Once you turn that into a habit of doing 2 push ups a day, then you can slowly increase to 3 or 4 etc.
    On writing Blog content:
    I told myself that I only need to write one paragraph each day. It doesn’t matter if the content doesn’t makes it to the site. I just have to write something everyday. Most of the time, once I started writing that one paragraph, I am able to just continue on to write more than one paragraph.
    On investing:
    Started with $500, slowly increase the amount as my income increases. Buy index funds, instead of individual stocks. I still do some stock picking time to time, but mostly my monies now goes to index funds.
  2. Make it easy to do the action
    On keeping fit:
    I saved the yoga video on my Youtube account, and have my yoga mat easily accessible next to my bed. So after getting up and washing up, I can easily grab my yoga mat, and play the video.
    On writing Blog content:
    The WordPress App is installed on my phone, so I can produce content with just using my phone. I don’t have to walk to my computer room, turn on the computer to start writing content. I can write anywhere.
    On investing:
    I just sign up with a Robo Advisor or a Regular savings plan, so that it is all automated.
  3. Always do the action after doing something. Or set a schedule.
    When you have point 1 and 2 in place, this would be easier to follow.
    On keeping fit:
    After I wake up and wash up, I will immediately grab my yoga mat. Once I lay down my mat, I am more likely to go through with the yoga exercise.
    On writing Blog content:
    After putting my little 2 1/2 year old daughter to bed, I will open up the WordPress app and start writing. Half the time, those content goes to the bin, but it doesn’t matter. I am taking the action to write, so half the time, I will still have content that will be good enough to make it to the site.
    On investing:
    Everything is automated. I just have to set the transfers once, and on the scheduled date each month, it will just auto deduct from my account. I don’t even need to remember to do it.

As you can see from my examples, taking action is more important than planning, researching or analyzing. It is always good to do some planning, but at some point, you have to start taking action. Because if you don’t, all you have is a plan and no action means no outcome. I hope this helps. But do check out this article by James Clear. He explains it best.