A Doable Response to Inertia

At a meeting several years ago, a woman told me something that I haven’t forgotten: Inertia is one of the most powerful forces in the world.

Hearing her say this, I was pretty sure the only way you could combat something so gigantic was with something equally gigantic. Kind of a monster truck against monster truck mentality.

Want to write a book? You must write four hours a day. Want to eat better? You must quit red meat, gluten, sugar, and anything starting with the letter ‘o.’ Otherwise, why bother?

And now, years since meeting with that woman, I’m clear this mentality makes it too easy to fall prey to inertia. It’s an all-or-nothing approach. Doing nothing will nearly always be easier than doing it all. Who, then, could blame us for choosing nothing?

Instead, I think, a doable and courageous response to inertia is small and unrelenting movements forward. Write a sentence with your morning coffee, eat one unsugared snack a day.

Moment to moment, it might seem more trivial than significant. But it adds up. We create a trail of little victories, giving ourselves one of the greatest motivators of all: a sense of momentum, of progress, and, if we keep at it, of aliveness.

So when we’re stuck in inertia, my vote is to ditch the monster trucks. Act small. Be unrelenting. And create our own powerful force in the world.

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