• Ben

How to Overcome Inertia

Over the last few weeks, I’ve let myself fall into a rut. I haven’t been working as hard as I like to. I’ve been watching more television. I haven’t focused in classes.

Maybe “into a rut” isn’t the best phrase to use. One of my greatest strengths is the fact that I’m a fucking workhorse. Once I buy into a project, I’m all in. I only have one setting: 400%. I don’t half-ass my work, and I see it through.

The trouble is, I let myself lose my momentum. I let myself focus on certain things and let others fall by the wayside. While usually that’s ok, that’s not really my style. Maybe I bit off more than I can chew, but I fucking bit it off. Either now I push through and get shit done, or I let myself choke.

The latter isn’t an option.

We’ve pointed out that I’ve gotten stuck, but I need (and want) to return to a state of motion. It seems like a daunting task.

It begs the million-dollar question:

How do you overcome inertia?

Inertia – being resistant to a change in motion – is a good word for the shit I’m talking about.  

For our answer, I’m going to defer to physics. Specifically, a little thing called Newton’s First Law of Motion.

Photo is owned by Jim Davis and Paws, Incorporated.

Photo is owned by Jim Davis and Paws, Incorporated.

“An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.”

Let’s walk through my situation. For a while, I had some solid momentum; I had motivation at school, I had motivation at work, and I had motivation after hours to do my own shit (like vlogging and writing this blog).

I was in motion.

But then I stopped pushing. I grew complacent, and complacency was the outside force. Over a couple weeks, I returned to a state of rest.

An object at rest – me – will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

“An outside force.” That’s the answer, right? I’ll just wait until something comes along and kicks me back into gear. Eureka!

Yeah, fuck that. I’m not a fan of waiting for life to happen. I prefer to make it happen.

Here’s an interesting thought: What if I could be that “outside force”? What if I could be the catalyst? What would that look like?

It’s simple: just do something. Do one thing that contributes toward my goals. It doesn’t have to be the biggest hurdle or the most complicated step. Quite the opposite, actually. I should do the easiest thing possible and make a millimeter of progress.

That little step – moving one millimeter forward – is motion. In doing that ONE thing, I’ve started to build some momentum again. I’ve made progress.

So I’ve overcome inertia by taking one step forward. Now what?

Take another step. Do another small task to keep that movement alive. It’s like the song in Santa Claus is Coming to Town (yes I know it’s March, but I don’t give a shit).

“You put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking across the floor.”

That’s what I’ve been working on this week – putting one foot in front of the other. I’ve been doing little things that I know will are making progress. I’ve been building momentum.

So how do you overcome inertia?

By taking one step. One small step forward is all you need to push through that plateau and start moving forward. Once you’re moving, everything becomes easier. That small bit of momentum compounds with every other step you take, and soon you’re moving like a freight train.

Take it from someone much smarter – and worth a few more billion – than me.

All you have to do is take the first step.

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