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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

Motion vs Action: Which One Is More Important for Success?

Motion vs Action: Which One Is More Important for Success?
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Like all things in life, success doesn’t have one finite answer that fits all. Success rises and falls like the tide, but if we can understand what impacts our ability to succeed, we can achieve more and stay on track. Learning about motion vs action is one crucial aspect of this.

Both motion and action play a role in our success, and the importance of each depends on the person and the situation.

We’re going to take a look at how motion and action affect the results and outcomes and how we can use both to our advantage.

Motion Vs Action

These two terms are deeply connected yet contain important distinctions. Being in motion means that you are moving, but not necessarily in a specific direction. Maybe you are planning or strategizing or scheduling, preparing to take steps toward success.

Taking action means that you are taking concrete steps towards you goals[1]. This includes acting on all those things you planned during the “motion” stage. Because of this, action is often the direct road to success, but can we have action without motion?

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Why Action Often Leads Directly to Success

In my work, I’ve helped thousands to go from average to exceptional results. In many cases, the most important aspect was action, not motion. In fact, motion, in many of these cases, was the problem, not the solution.

Motion is about something moving around. My favourite visual way to showcase this is this:

I place a pen or a glass on the table and say, “See this pen, I’m going to pick this pen up.” I then pick the pen up. That’s action.

I then fold my hands and look at the item and say, “Now I’m not going to pick up this pen.” And I stand there looking at the glass or pen. Just for good measure, I add “Notice how I’m not picking up the pen?”

“I’m now going to try and pick up this pen.” I then push the pen around with my whole hand, knocking against it, using lots of energy, but I never actually do the action that led to picking up the pen in the first instance. When you are in motion, you use a lot of energy but rarely aim at any specific result.

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I love this analogy for summing up how we often keep ourselves stuck in situations and results we don’t want by “moving” in a way that isn’t helpful. When you can see that, you have to work out how to alter your motions into the actions you need to get the results you want.

I often hear this with business owners. Business is a good place to see that no matter what you have achieved, you still have to move forward. You can’t do what you always did and get the same results. Business trends, customers needs, and even social and economic beliefs can impact your business, so you have to constantly adapt and progress. As a result, a business owner can feel like no matter what they do, it’s not enough.

Action includes planned and structured steps, whereas motion only includes planning and structuring. Action allows you to remain highly focused and accountable to your results so you can get there faster. Always be prepared to monitor what you are doing so you can see how this process effects your results.

When Motion Is More Important

We started this article by saying that whether you use action or motion really depends on the person and situation. In practice, sometimes motion that is what we need. It may not be obvious, but Covid-19 times are a great example of this.

We have all been experiencing something similar during the pandemic, but we get vastly different experiences and perceptions depending on whether we use action or motion. Notice how some people have gone through the motions, using the time to plan and strategize, and ultimately coming out less stressed, while others have attempted action in a time when restrictions make action nearly impossible.

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Sometimes going through the motions is the best thing to do. If you’ve suffered something extremely sad or heartbreaking in your life, you will know that in the early days just getting up and brushing your teeth is a miracle. You feel like you will never feel happy again. That is the time for motion, for planning, for considering, not for action.

People often phone me to ask if coaching would be right for them, and sometimes I tell them that right now they need a friend, someone to listen, not a coach. When life is really tough, unexplainable, or out of control, the last thing you want or need is action.

When to Use Motion and Action Together

Most situations call for both motion and action. Imagine that you are unhappy in your job and want to find another. For this to happen, you’ll have to start with motion. You’ll need to plan what kind of jobs you want to apply for and spend a great deal of time considering what skills you have that will allow you to enter a new career.

Once this is done, you’ll need to bring in action. This is when you’ll build more skills (if necessary), apply for jobs, and go to interviews. You may even find that you have to return to motion if your actions aren’t getting you the results you need.

Sometimes, simply getting started and doing something is what is needed. This is motion. Once you get moving and find some motivation, then you can move on to creating specific actions that will lead you to success.

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If you add action to the right motions, you then get the results you want. Even if you didn’t get the job or the contract by applying the correct action, you are able to learn from the experience and grow. Motion and action can work together if used correctly.

Final Thoughts

Motion and action will always be best if they work in partnership with each other. When doing this, monitoring the quality of the results is imperative so that no matter what, you are propelled forward. Everything must move, otherwise it stagnates. Don’t be a stagnant pond; be the free flowing river always moving toward the successes you want in life.

More Tips on Turning Motion Into Action

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mandie Holgate

International Coach, Best Selling Author & Speaker inspiring people around the world to success.

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success
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If there was a rule book of life, there would be one particular page that was highlighted, underlined, and titled as most important. It would be the one which told you that you need to master effective goal setting and have an aim in mind before you get on with the process. While there may not be an actual rule book of life, we do have this helpful goal setting guide to offer.

Yes, goal setting is important. In fact, it’s more important than achieving the goal itself. This is because it is the sense of direction that is needed for you to fulfill any task in life.

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed if this sounds new to you, as all the following information has you covered.

Today, you’ll find out all about the importance of goal setting, types of goals, and tips to define realistic goals for yourself!

What Are Goals?

To kick off our goal setting tips guide, you need to first recognize what goals are and how they are different from objectives, dreams, and expectations.

A goal is essentially your aim for the long-term future. It is the bigger umbrella, the main focus.

Objectives, on the other hand, fall under the umbrella of goals. They are the stepping stones that help you achieve your goals[1].

Objects vs goals for goal setting tips

    For example, you may decide you want to learn a new language. Your goal is to be fluent in the new language. Everything you do to achieve this goal, such as the daily tasks and monthly learning aims, are the objectives.

    Similarly, your expectations, visions, and dreams are not your goals. If you wish to learn a new language someday, that is your dream. If you see yourself fluently speaking multiple foreign languages, that is your vision. If you think you’re capable of learning a new language, that is your expectation.

    However, if you aim to fulfill these visions, dreams, and expectations practically, that is your goal.

    Why Is Goal Setting Important?

    Why should you bother with goal setting at all? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just get on with your daily objectives, follow a dream or vision, and let life take you wherever?

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    While that road can feel exciting and spontaneous, if you actually want to tick off things from your list of goals to achieve, learning how to set goals is necessary.

    Being committed to a goal puts your brain to work in one specific direction. Believe it or not, by having a defined goal, your brain does its magic unconsciously, 24/7, with full efficiency, to achieve the desired results[2].

    Goal setting is important to shift your focus, boost your motivation, and give you a sense of direction. Without formally defining a particular aim that you want to reach, you won’t be able to keep your objectives in line.

    Hence, this one tiny step can end up saving you a lot of hassle and time while also encouraging your productivity.

    Types of Goals

    Before we move onto the technique of setting effective goals, we need to first take a look at all types of goals in this goal setting tips guide.

    These categories will not just help you brainstorm new one for yourself, but it will also guide you to list them down in the right way.

    Time-Based

    One of the two broad categories of goals is based on time. These goals define how far in the future you want to achieve them.

    Daily

    There are certain smaller goals that you can easily achieve in a day or two. In fact, some of these daily goals can be recurring, too. For example, you may want to run for an hour every morning.

    Now, these daily goals can also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. You may be running every day because, in the long-term, you want to increase your stamina.

    Daily goals are highly effective for people who want to improve their mental wellbeing, time management skills, and stress management.

    Short-Term

    Next in line are short-term goals. As you would have already guessed, goal setting in this area is aimed at the near future.

    The great thing about these is that they are generally easier to achieve. This is because short-term goals are set for the foreseeable future. You are aware of the circumstances and have a general idea of how much the situation can change.

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    Just like daily goals, short-term goals may also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. Your short-term goal may be to lose 5 pounds in one month. That could be a goal in itself, or maybe it is just one objective to fulfill your goal to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the next two years.

    Another example of a short-term goal is to fulfill the checklist for promotion within the next 6 months. Or, you may want to reduce your screen time within the coming week.

    Long-Term

    Lastly, we have long-term goals that are meant to be completed over a stretched period.

    Whatever you want to achieve in a later stage of life is a long-term goal. An insurance plan, for example, is a long-term goal.

    Some long-term goals don’t have any time frame at all. They are goals that you want to accomplish at some point in your life. So, something like traveling the whole world is a lifelong goal with no specific time constraint at all.

    There’s one thing about long-term goals that isn’t great.

    They are the hardest to keep up with since you’re not seeing any huge achievements regularly. This may take a toll on your motivation. To tackle this problem, it is best to divide a long-term goal into various, short-term and daily objectives so that you’re always tracking the progress you’re making.

    Life-Based

    Moving forward, you can also start goal setting based on the results you want to achieve instead of the time period.

    Career

    Like most people, you will likely want to succeed and excel in your career. Anything that has to do with this intention, regardless of the time frame, is a career goal. These are usually measurable goals, such as receiving a promotion within two years, finding a job at a certain company within the next six months, etc.

    You can learn more about how to set successful career goals here.

    Personal

    The past few years have all been about emphasizing your personal health. So, when it comes to goals, how can we forget the ones that have to do with our personal gains?

    From health to finances to relationships, everything that brings you happiness and composure as a person is a personal goal. It’s important that these are realistic and attainable goals for your life.

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    Whether you want to get rid of your debt, quit smoking, start a side hustle, have children, or travel the world, all of these goals are personal and very important to have on your list.

    How to Set Goals

    The best way to guarantee the fulfillment of goals is to set them the right way.

    1. Use SMART Goals

    Every goal you define has to be SMART[3].

    SMART stands for:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-Bound

    In summary, your specific goals should be very well defined. They shouldn’t be generic or broad, and every detail should be clarified as you’re goal setting. 

    If you want to start running, how often do you want to do it? How long will each session be? For how long will you continue this habit?

    There has to be a connection between your goals and beliefs or you’ll never be able to achieve the results you want. Most importantly, do not be unrealistic. You cannot learn to fly, and forcing yourself to try is only going to demotivate and stress you out.

    2. Prioritize Your Goals

    As you’re looking into how to write goals for the next month or year, it’s likely you’ll come up with more than one. In this case, it’s important to prioritize which are the most important or the ones that have the tightest deadline. This is going to be subjective, as only you know which goals will have the most impact on your life.

    3. Think of Those Around You

    As you’re working on goal setting, keep your loved ones in mind. You may have a partner, children, or employees that depend on you, and you should take them into consideration with your goals. For example, if you set a goal to travel to 10 different countries in the next two years, how will this affect your children?

    If you want to lose 30 pounds this year, is there something your partner can do to support you? S/he will need to be made aware of this before you set off on your weight loss journey.

    4. Take Action

    Setting goals is the first step, but in order to be successful, you have to follow this with action. If you set goals but never act on them, they become dreams. Create an action plan laying out the steps you need to take each day or week in order to achieve your big and small goals.

    You can also check out Lifehack’s free guide: The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen. This helpful guide will push you to take action on your goals, so check it out today!

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    5. Don’t Forget the Bigger Picture

    Most people refer to the big picture as their vision. Whether it is the long-term result or the connection of the goal with your desire, keep it in mind to keep yourself from getting distracted.

    You can learn more about creating a vision for your life here.

    I also recommend you to watch this video to learn 7 strategies to set goals effectively:

    How to Reach Your Goals

    You can ensure your progress by following some foolproof tactics. The use of relevant helpful tools can also keep you on the right track.

    Tactics

    One rookie mistake that most people make is that they work on too many goals simultaneously. Create an action plan and focus on one thing at a time.

    Divide your goal into smaller, easily achievable tasks. Taking it one step at a time makes it much easier. However, do not break them down too much. For example, for long-term goals, you should go for weekly checkpoints instead of daily ones.

    Also, keep track of your progress. This will keep you motivated to work harder.

    Tools

    With so many categories of goals and so many aims, it is almost impossible to remember, let alone work, on all of them.

    Luckily, numerous goal tracker apps will help you keep track of your goals, as well as your plan to achieve every single one. Have at least one installed in your smartphone so that your plan is always within reach.

    The Bottom Line

    In conclusion, using a goal setting tips guide is not rocket science. All that it takes is strong will power along with all the knowledge that you’ve learned so far.

    Try out the tactics and goals setting tips mentioned above to be able to set successful goals so that you can achieve the life that you want!

    More Tips on Achieving Success

    Featured photo credit: Danielle MacInnes via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Smart Insights: The difference between marketing objectives and marketing goals?
    [2] Confluence: Goal Setting Theory
    [3] University of California: SMART Goals: A How-To Guide

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