Stop Making Motion. Start Taking Action.

Lauren Sullivan
3 min readSep 22, 2021
Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

Human beings are innate storytellers. Our profound use of imagination can often cause us to misinterpret reality. We can build up entire sagas in our heads with little to no information to base it on.

One small negative event can catapult into a never-ending nightmare of stress, anxiety, and fear.

On the flip side, we also have the ability to twist reality in our favor. We can make ourselves believe that progress is being made in our lives — when in reality, we’re barely scratching the surface.

There’s a mistake people often make when setting out on their mission of “making it happen.” They mistake their motion for action. In other words, they don’t actually create any substantial progress that will contribute to an outcome. They just make a lot of meaningless movements to convince themselves that they’re “getting there.”

Oftentimes, we don’t even realize we’re doing it at the moment. We’re planning, strategizing, predicting, and preparing — but we’re not actually doing. We’re not executing. And in effect, we’re not progressing.

By participating in the busy work behind our goals and avoiding the meaningful work, we are simply trying to make the motion of progress without digging deep to get real shit done. We’re telling ourselves a story that in reality, is simply not the truth.

If you often find yourself wondering where the time went or brewing in unnecessary stress, you may be guilty of this “busy work” mindset.

So how do we move past this mindset of moving, but not executing? How can we move past the “busy work” and get down to the gritty work?

Ask yourself these questions in relation to your biggest goal —

  • What have I avoided completing in the past week?
  • What task makes me hesitate the most?
  • What scares the shit out of me to finish?
  • What is the next big move I want to happen in my life? What can I execute today to make that happen?
  • Is what I’m doing right now meaningful or meaningless toward my progress?
  • Am I telling myself a story that is not based on my current reality?
  • When was the last time I…
Lauren Sullivan

A millennial living in Manhattan, eating too much sushi, and writing until 2am.