The One Mistake Even Smart People Make

get motivated (2)

Are you in motion or taking action?

Sounds like a dumb question, right? I mean, those basically sound like the same thing.

But only ONE of those will actually lead to fitness results. And not knowing which one is the mistake that smart people make over and over again. Most of the time, never even realizing they are doing it!

I have this friend, Sara.

She moved to another state, got overwhelmed with work and let her health slide wayyy down.

So she calls me one day and says “I’m ready to get fit again.”


A few weeks later, I catch up with her again. And I ask how her new goal of getting fit is going.

“Great! I’ve called a few gyms to compare prices. I’m doing some research on what kind of training program I want to follow. And I’ve even done some reading on what type of diet is best – I’m deciding between slow carb and intermittent fasting.  So I’m making good progress.”

Now, Sara’s a smart lady.

But she was making the critical mistake of confusing motion for action.


Motion vs. Action:

Being in motion means you are busy. You are doing lots of things that appear they are moving you forward –but will never actually get you a result.

Action is what produces an outcome. It moves you. It’s the actual step, directly connected to progress.

  • Reading about different diet plans online is motion. Eating on a meal plan is action.
  • Calling a gym and getting prices on the services? Motion. Joining a gym and getting there 5 times per week is action.

Sure the motion behaviors seem like progress. And yes, they might be helpful to do – but they aren’t actually going to give you results. There is no direct connection between motion and result.

The Trickery of Motion

Sarah thought she was making progress. But really she fell into the trap of using motion for procrastination.

Instead of actually joining the gym, doing a workout – she was prepping, deciding, considering, thinking, learning, planning, yada, yada, yada.

None of that is action. But we can convince ourselves that those preparatory behaviors are moving us forward. When really they just stall us.

When we stay in the motion cycle for too long, we use it as an excuse to delay any real action.

Why? Most of the time, we’re afraid of failing. Afraid that when we do take action, it won’t be enough to see results. Or it will be harder than we imaged. Or it won’t happen as fast as we want.  Whatever the reasons, we have some underlying (and usually unrecognized) fear about failing.

So we delay those negative feelings of failure by putting off action and replacing it with motion.

But in order to see real progress, we have to learn to take action. 

How to Take Action

So if even the smartest people make this mistake, how do we stop the motion and start the action?

1. Know your end point.

Make sure you have a clear goal defined. What is it exactly that you want to happen? Lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks? Fit into your skinny jeans? Make it clear and straight forward.

2. Then work backwards.

Write down all of the things you are doing now that seem to push you toward your goal. For each of those behaviors, ask yourself this: Does this directly lead to my goal?

Does comparing gyms lead to weight loss? No. Going to the gym and training does.

Does reading diets online help you lose fat? No. Actually cooking and eating healthy meals does.

Remember – smarties make this mistake because they are unaware they are trapped in the motion cycle. In order to break the cycle, you have to become aware. And that means taking a good hard look at what you’re doing and where that’s actually leading you.

Time to be an action taker.  Because that’s where the real results happen!

Like this article?  Then check out this one too:

3 Easy Steps to Get Motivated to Workout

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