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Updated: Jul 21, 2022

In physics, the principle of inertia explains that matter is basically lazy. Whether referencing an object in motion or an object at rest, matter basically keeps doing that thing until something else acts upon it.

Humans behave very similarly. Set aside the fact that we ARE matter, and our patterns and processes are very much the same as matter.

Unlike matter, we seem to have a choice on enacting some sort of force on things. In other words, human nature might keep us doing the exact same thing we’ve always done, but we can enact a force upon our human nature.

Take for example a bad habit or an area of life you feel stuck in. Say you have trouble finding time to exercise during the day, or that you’re having trouble moving past a failed relationship. The inertia of this state of being will persist until acted upon by a force.

The desire to look better, climb a mountain with more ease, or stave off a health condition can motivate a change in exercise. The desire to move past sadness, the promise of a new connection, or even a positive new development in another aspect of life can give energy to move past a breakup.

It doesn’t matter the situation. The key to using inertia in one’s favor is consistent energy greater than what’s keeping the object, or the life circumstance in its current mode. Once the momentum has shifted, inertia is working for you and staying on the path becomes easier, almost natural.

The last question I’d pose is: How long will you wait to suffer the consequences of where you’re at before you choose to change the path of where you want to be? Changing the momentum follows some pretty basic steps.

  1. Identify where you’re at.

  2. Identify where you’d like to be.

  3. What’s your “why” behind making the change?

  4. What are some incremental, realistic, and measurable steps you can take to create momentum?

  5. Identify some things that will likely attempt to set you off course.

  6. Make a plan. Get to work.

I’ll use an example from a few years ago when I was 60 pounds heavier to illustrate.

  1. I’m overweight and I don’t like the way I look, or the way that I feel.

  2. I’d love to shed some weight and feel healthier.

  3. I want to be able to achieve physical goals like hiking up mountains, climbing difficult grades, do yoga more effectively, and feel more at ease in doing them.

  4. I can begin by walking 15 minutes per day. Not negotiable. I choose to not eat candy. Every day I wake up, I decide again. Also not negotiable.

  5. Weather can set me off course. Feeling tired. Feeling lazy. Not spacing out enough time. Feeling tempted with the desire to get a sugar rush.

  6. Walk in the morning when you have the time and energy. Pack fruit around and satisfy sugar cravings by choosing a healthier solution. Drinking water helps!

Pro Tips: Understanding your why behind something is one of the biggest predictors of success. Keeping your steps incremental encourages growth. Keeping your steps measurable lets you clearly see whether you’re being successful. Keeping them manageable encourages momentum through self worth. Think of it this way, showing up for a mere five minutes encourages and entrenches the habit. Often you’ll spend longer than five minutes, but it’s a low pressure goal. Momentum is built through consistency. Five minutes over 30 days = 150 minutes or 2.5 hours. 30 minutes over four days and then fizzling out = 120 minutes. Which one promotes consistency over the long term, leading to sustainable success?

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