A Simple Little Secret for Overcoming Inertia
Is there something you’ve been wanting to do that you just can’t get yourself to take action on? You may dream and scheme and even have a plan for moving forward. But for whatever reason you just haven’t been able to execute it. Overcoming inertia is a common challenge, and it can keep you from living your dreams. But it doesn’t have to.
You’re probably familiar with the law of inertia. According to Merriam Webster, inertia is “…the inherent property of a body that makes it oppose a force that would cause a change in its motion. A body at rest and a body in motion both oppose forces that might cause acceleration.”
So, anytime you aspire to do something different, whether changing a habit or behavior, beginning a new endeavor, or creating anything – overcoming inertia is going to be a necessary and unavoidable part of the process.
It’s a powerful force. Because it’ll lead you to believe that whatever you are about to do is going to be hard. And you may end up telling yourself stories that’ll keep you stuck. You might convince yourself that whatever you are about to do is too complicated. Or that it’ll require too much work. Or that you don’t have the talent, energy, or wherewithal to endure it.
But what if the secret to overcoming inertia is to actually use the principle of inertia itself?
What if all you had to do to launch your new endeavor, habit, behavior, creation – or whatever you aspire to do – is just take some small action?
What if you don’t need to have it all figured out? …all your ducks in a row? …a multi-phase plan that maps every requirement, every step, and every contingency?
What if all you need to do is just START something?
Open a word doc and start writing. Pick up the phone and make a call. Go for a walk. Just get into action – and create new momentum – that is in alignment with whatever you ultimately want to accomplish.
If inertia is a force that leads us to continue doing what we’ve done before, by definition even the tiniest change in trajectory will begin to create a new force in a different direction.
Perhaps in this way, the smallest of actions can ultimately lead to the biggest of changes.
I experienced the power of this myself a few weeks ago, on a cold February day. And on a whim, I filmed a little video to capture my epiphany…
Hi, Diane Bolden, executive coach and author of “The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader.” And I just finished my morning ride. The thought hit me to shoot a video.
It’s cold here in Phoenix, which is crazy. I know. Wa, wa. But it was 35 degrees this morning, which is cold in Phoenix in February. And I did not want to get out of bed. And I did not want to ride the exercise bike. But I did it.
And I had an insight while I was riding that I wanted to share with you. What I realized is that it was hard to get on the bike because I was cold and I had to push through that resistance.
But now I’m warm. I’m actually kind of hot.
And I was thinking about how this is kind of like a metaphor for life… because whenever you start something new, you feel kind of cold. And you don’t want to. And there’s a lot of resistance.
[NOTE: Starting something new requires overcoming inertia – the momentum of whatever you were doing before that may be keeping you from doing what you’d like to do next. But… you can use the force of inertial to overcome inertia.]
And the more you give yourself to it – the more you allow yourself to kind of be in the game and push, (and I don’t mean push in a negative way, I just mean to get warm, to get your feet wet, to start something somewhere), what’s interesting is the environment doesn’t change…
It’s still very cold outside, and in here, but my body’s warmer and I have the ability to do things that I couldn’t do when I first woke up. And isn’t that just the same thing with life?
We start off and we’re cold. The environment doesn’t change, the circumstances don’t change. But if you allow yourself to get in the game and to get a little warm, and to move a little bit, you might find that you change.
And when you do, you’re capable of doing things you maybe didn’t think you could.