A tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.
How often do you ignore situations, stuff them under the rug, let them sit and fester until the pain is unbearable? How often, in your personal and professional lives do you do this, with your health, your finances, your relationships? Think too about when remaining the same had a positive outcome. Were you consciously taking no action in those situations? Did you set a time limit, say a few months, only to have that turn into years?
Inertia itself, can be beneficial. The definition of a “tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged” describes how I feel after eating way too much pizza and zoning out in front of the TV for the occasional movie marathon. And that’s OK. Sometimes sitting still and taking no action (which in itself is an action but…) is the best way to regain energy, focus, perspective, peace of mind. But many times inertia becomes the default action when we get stuck in fear; we lack direction and want to avoid potential pain so we stay the same. We know we should be taking action, but for some reason we don’t.
In order to bust out of Inertia Mode, take some time today to do the following exercise:
- Write down three Inertia Issues – things or situations you’re avoiding taking action on (what do you fear, where do you need more direction, where are you lost).
- Write down three actions (large or small – your choice) you can take for each Inertia Issue. These can be talking to a trusted friend or colleague, doing research, sending out a resume, having a difficult conversation with someone, etc. You will have 9 action items when you’re done.
- Commit to doing one to two action items a week over the next month.
- Notice how you feel (mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, socially, emotionally) each time you take an action.
Taking time to break Inertia Issues into bite sized actions helps you find direction, manage your fear, and leaves you with a sense of progress. Take time to check in with yourself in a few weeks and see how far you’ve come with each of your Issues, then reward yourself with something small to celebrate your success.