The real job of an animator is to bring about the illusion of life, a term coined by Disney's nine old men of animation who worked on the original Snow White. As an art form, animation is over 100 years old now. So there are many great books and videos to study on this complex subject, but to me it simply means bringing the character to life. And to do that you should mentally become the character, much like an actor or an actress would do in preparation for a role. I also have a mirror on my desk so I can see myself acting out the poses and a stopwatch for timing my moves. There's a number of things that you need to keep in mind while you're doing animation. And they break down kind of like this. First off is quality, are you going for more of photo realism, or is your animation going to be more stylized? Speed is another important consideration. Is it a casual walk or is it a fast walk? This is also tied to motivation, is what they're doing important or more casual. And timing that out is a skill that you'll need to develop, and you need to look at referencing, you need to time it.