According to Sir Isaac Newton, in his first law of motion, inertia is the tendency for an object to either stay at rest or stay in motion unless changed by an external force.
This relates to people too.
Sometimes we underestimate the power of inertia. We think that we can just simply talk ourselves into doing or not doing things whenever we want. That may be true but there is also a way to give yourself better odds.
Think about it in terms of trying to build a new healthy habit. Let’s take going to the gym after work for an example.
Is kicking off your shoes and plopping down on the couch the first thing you do when you come home from work? If so, you are making it much harder on yourself to make it to the gym.
The power of inertia is a compelling thought when you think about it in terms of getting things accomplished in your day.
How likely will you go the gym if you go home first and rest for 15 minutes on the couch before packing a bag and going to the gym?
The odds are against you, when you put yourself in rest mode, to continue doing what you have planned to do.
Rest is important but momentum can be key when trying to accomplish everything you want to in a day.
Setting goals that align with your values and building habits that you enjoy are important but you also have to have an element of self discipline. Keeping that discipline is so much easier if you never sat down on that couch.
This is a better plan – Pack a gym bag to bring to work with you and go strait to the gym after work. When you get home, instead of heading to the couch, prepare dinner. When you finish dinner and bring the dishes to the sink wash them right then and there. You are already up and moving!
It may sound exhausting but approaching your day like this is actually a lot easier. Because of the power of inertia.
The minute you put yourself into rest mode on that couch is the minute you have potentially derailed your whole plan. Why not make it easier on yourself to succeed?
Where in your life can you apply the power of inertia to achieve a health goal?
Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and experience host whose writing focuses on cooking, holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made foods.