Inertia, also known as Newton’s First Law of Motion, “is a power of resisting by which every body, as much as in it lies, endeavours to preserve its present state, whether it be of rest or of moving uniformly forward in a straight line.” More simply put, if it’s not moving it won’t move unless something makes it move. And when you apply that to a person, my mother would call that “lazy.”
This is the law that makes the TV remote so appealing. Want to change the channel? Click! You didn’t have to get out of the chair and walk the less than ten feet to press a button on the actual television. Of course, if you are younger than 40, you probably didn’t even realize that there are buttons on the TV itself. And I’m sure that I’m not alone in suffering through a television program (or two) because the remote was on the other side of the room.
But my point is that without an outside force we’re likely to just sit still. Admit it, you’ve skipped lunch once or twice (or at least put off having lunch for an hour or two or three) because you were “really busy” at the computer. That computer time, of course, was actually spent writing one rather short paragraph for a report and then reading and posting on Facebook.
So what can make someone change their state of no motion?
Why get up early in the morning and head to the gym? It’s much easier (and warmer) to just stay in bed all snuggled under the comforter. To go the gym involves not only getting out of a warm bed, but getting dressed, driving to the gym, it might be crowded, that sweaty talkative guy might be there and I don’t like talking to him, I forgot to download the latest podcast and there’s no WiFi at the gym, and so on. Those are all immediate excuses – excuses that address the now of the matter, but none of those hold up against the big picture.
Why are you going to the gym in the first place? Whether your goal is to lose weight or be more fit or something else, you had an initial reason. Focus on that reason. Let that be your motivation. Pit every excuse against the reason: will staying in bed instead of going to the gym get me to my goal weight? Answer: going to the gym. Will going out in the blizzard to the gym or staying home get me to my goal weight? Staying home is safer, BUT doesn’t excuse you from working out. You can still do some push-ups and crunches at home. Get the point? The easier option is often not the answer. It’s much easier to stay in the warm bed than to get up and go to the gym; it just that it’s not the best solution to your health goal.
The Two Big Questions
This technique of framing decisions based on the long term goal works for any type of goal. The two important points to know are:
- what is the goal?
- why do you have that goal?
If you can answer those two questions, then you are set to tackle the goal. But you do have to remind yourself, quite often, about the goal and the why. Our minds (and bodies) are programmed for inertia, but it is possible to rewire our minds to focus more on the big picture and less on the immediate gratification impulses that sabotage reaching our goals.
Keep the Goal Forefront in Your Mind Always
So imagine that you are going on vacation and you are starting on the drive to get to your vacation destination. If you have children, you know that not 10 minutes into the drive the question arises: “Are we there yet?” You also know that if it’s someplace you are really looking forward to going, your own excitement builds as you get closer. You are thinking about the destination all along the journey to get there.
It should be no different in working towards a goal. The goal is the destination, and if you’ve considered why you have that goal, the reason should be good enough to make you excited about reaching that goal. It’s a good thing to be thinking of that goal the whole time you are working on achieving it. We do need constant reminders about our goal.
I like to start my day with The Miracle Morning Life S.A.V.E.R.S.[affiliate link] I’ve been doing this routine for almost 3 months now, and it has completely changed my focus for the better. I get up in the morning and start my day with meditation/prayer, affirmations, visualization, personal growth reading, and journaling. For exercise, I either go to the gym for about an hour or do about 10-15 minutes of light to medium cardio. Then I’m truly ready to start my day. I have more energy, more focus; I’m happier and I feel amazing! [You can read more about my experience with The Miracle Morning; and learn more about Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning.]
All those things I do, and all those positive results I have are directly affecting my ability to achieve my goals. That doesn’t mean I don’t run into the occasional bump, but I am able to power through it because I know that sleeping in an extra hour is only going to feel good for that hour. Getting up and doing my S.A.V.E.R.S. is going to make me feel good all day. The latter is the more valuable option.
Techniques to Put Your Goal Forefront and Keep you Motivated
- Create some affirmations. Say them everyday.
- Create a vision board, or have some visual that represents your goal. Post it everywhere, and keep it on your phone (great as the wallpaper on your computer or phone!) Look at it everyday.
- Get an accountability partner. You want someone who is encouraging, appreciates your goal and struggles to get there, and is willing to give you positive criticism. (Not yelling at you for eating the jelly doughnut while trying to loose weight, but rather gives you a stern, but encouraging talking to and cheers you for moving forward. Also not one who says, oh well, maybe tomorrow you won’t eat a doughnut!) Check in with him/her often enough to stay on track.
- Know you will stumble on this journey. Prepare for this, but committing beforehand to stop and take a look at what caused the stumble and why. This is a learning and personal growth opportunity (good things!). Commit to seizing that opportunity rather than looking upon it as a failure or reason to give up.
It’s important to know what your goals are and why you have those goals, but it is equally important to remind yourself daily of those goals.