Inertia: the tendency of a body at rest to stay at rest or a body in motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless disturbed by an external force. Resistance to motion, action or change.
Have you ever noticed when you lack energy, interest or desire, it tends to become an endless spiral downward? Once you are out of shape, it’s easier to stay out of shape. Once you make excuses not to do something, the excuses come fast and furious time and time again. Getting the body in motion once again is a challenge.
“A body staying in motion in a straight line…” can also be read; a body continuing to do the same routine. This is not necessarily good. If your routine or behaviors are not getting you the results you want, why continue doing them? If that straight line is into a brick wall, why persist? If your routines consistently end in disappointment or failure, then we know it is not beneficial to be a “body staying in motion in a straight line”. It’s the same old thing yielding the same old thing.
“Unless disturbed by an external force…” can be read – until something different is done or something is done to you. Sometimes we choose different behaviors, approaches or routines, sometimes events in our lives force a change (injuries, performance plateaus, termination, lay-offs, unsuccessful job changes, failed relationships).
So the knowledge and ability to overcome inertia is essential for success. It is a key to coming back from disappointments and failures. It is a key in not repeating mistakes. It is a key for us to have break-through opportunities and performances.
Recognition. First, we need to recognize when inertia is a problem. What are some possible indicators? Injuries, illnesses, weight gain, lack of enthusiasm, performance plateaus, career stagnation, lack of improvement, and boredom with work are just a few indicators. This is one reason to take time to reflect about your career, your life, and your relationships – objectively. If someone else were to see your situation, what might they say? What would you tell them if they related this to you?
Regroup. It is time to take a time out. Take a deep breath. Meditate, visualize and center yourself. Realize that you control this. And you now have the opportunity to change things.
Refocus. Third, commit to refocusing on taking action. Staleness, boredom, or a decrease in desire may require time off or a dramatic change in your pattern of life. Extended “down” weeks may require revamping your approach to running, work or life.
Taking action or a different action is easier said than done. Inertia has ways of keeping our bodies in the same motion (habit) or not in motion. So, no matter how small, take action. The mantra I use is to ask yourself each day – “what one thing have I done today to get me closer to my goal?” Then make sure you do at least ONE thing – big or small – to answer this question with an affirmative action.
So, what else can you do? Accept the fact that most of us cannot do it on our own. (If we “coulda” we already “woulda”!) Get an outside opinion – like a coach. Enlist friends, family, others to help. Social support and peer pressure can be instrumental in overcoming inertia.
- Enlist others’ help to get outside perspectives. Sometimes we are too close to the issue. Be sure to tell them HOW you want them to help. You may respond best to nagging; someone else through gentle reminders; and yet another by just having someone there to listen.
- Enlist their help to take appropriate breaks. Make a “lunch date” with a friend.
- Ask how others overcame barriers. No one person has all the answers.
Overcoming inertia affects us all at one time or another. There are as many solutions as there are people. Seek and share. Above all, keep taking action! If you notice that you have some of the symptoms mentioned a personal coach is trained to get you through to the next level – in your running, career or personal life.