Overwhelming Inertia

Do you ever feel as if you are in a rut, doing the same thing over and over and over again, never making progress?

Most of us tend to get on a track and just keep going, whether the going is good or leading no where.

Sometimes, like at New Years, we try to break out of that mold by making resolutions for the coming year, or defining goals for ourselves to meet some dream we have. Often, we fail to follow through.

According to a Forbes article, research showed (in 2013) that although 40% of us set resolutions, 92% fail to meet them.

We are probably suffering from inertia. You can be overwhelmed with inertia, or you can overwhelm the inertia and get moving again.

Merriam-Webster defines inertia as:

“A property of matter by which it remains at rest or in uniform motion in the same straight line unless acted upon by some external force.”

In other words:

“Indisposition to motion, exertion, or change.”

So how does one go about overwhelming inertia? How do we get out of our ruts and onto the track of life we want to be on?

But first, how do we get into that rut, or stuck in a situation.

Here are my thoughts.

We are too busy traveling in our rut to stop and think about being in one.

Our parents and our culture taught us certain ways of acting, thinking and doing as youngsters. Unless we have an opportunity to stop and reflect on what we think we want out of life, we will never even consider stopping to figure out if our ways of acting, thinking and doing (our ruts) will get us what we want.

We may be immobilized by life events.

Perhaps we become depressed and lethargic. Nothing we say or do seems to matter, why bother?

Perhaps we are so overwhelmed by a change in circumstance that we are confused about what we should do, or want to do. We walk around randomly picking up and putting down objects (or tasks) in our lives.

Maybe it is as simple as not knowing how to get started. The longest journey starts with a single step but if we don’t know how to take that step, how can we start?

Maybe we are just not wanting to do the thing that we set out to do, so we keep putting it off.

Before we can overwhelm our own inertia, it will probably help if we know what is causing it.

If you are too busy to stop and think about what you want.

Try forcing yourself to take a break. Step out of your routine, take a walk, try meditation or yoga. Use any occasion, such as a graduation, a birthday, a death or a birth, to take stock of your life – what you have been doing and why. What would you do or be if you could accomplish anything? Get excited about realizing that dream.

If you are depressed.

Depression can cause you to not only feel sad, but also to lose interest in anything and everything around you.

If you think you are depressed, seek help. Depression is a serious thing. Much more serious than trying to overcome inertia.

If you are reeling from a life changing event.

A death, being fired, a serious health issue, an accident or tragedy can totally derail us, leaving us so confused we don’t know what to do, or which way to turn.

Most of the advice recommends taking time. Don’t rush into action. If something needs attention, find a trusted person to help out – someone who can make sure you are thinking clearly at this traumatic time. Even if the life changing event is positive – such as winning a lottery – you can benefit from taking time to get used to your new situation before you rush to action.

If you just don’t know how to start.

Sometimes a goal seems so overwhelming that you just can’t get a handle on how to take that first step. Lets say, for instance, that your dream is to make the world sustainable – ecologically. Where do you start? It’s a big dream, a huge goal. Not knowing what to do or where to start can make you just give up.

Sometimes you have to do some research to figure out what has already been done. Sometimes you have to sit and think about things you would like or need to know before you start. Sometimes you just need to start doing SOMETHING, no matter how small. Sometimes you need to connect with others interested in the same dream or goal, to generate ideas as a group.

You can’t always just sit down and lay out a plan with all of the small baby steps to get there.

The key is, to believe that you CAN meet your goal and to just do something towards it.

If you need to get something done you really don’t want to do.

The first question to ask yourself, in my mind, is what is the impact if I never do this thing? Then perhaps you can just drop it. Otherwise, here are a few suggestions:

  • Prepare to get started, by laying out needed equipment, or lining up needed resources. Put them in a very visible space, to remind yourself that you are ready to get started.
  • Create a schedule or deadline to get it done.
  • Commit to working on it for a few minutes each day.
  • Draw up a plan with the steps needed to get the job completed.
  • Reward yourself when you finish each step.

How have you over come inertia?

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