Get moving!

Sunday April 04 2021
move pic

Mariama and Fomba Kanneh play in an open space in Barkedu, Liberia. With schools closed across the country, many kids spend their time playing outside every day. PHOTO | FILE

By Azim Jamal

Inertia refers to the resistance to change — in particular, resistance to changes in motion. Inertia may manifest in physical objects or in the minds of people.

We learn the principle of inertia early on in life. We all know that it takes a force to get something moving; to change its direction, or to stop it.

The issue with status quo is that it is not necessarily the optimum solution.

Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion is that an object at rest stays at rest, and an object that is in motion continues in motion until an external force acts on it.

A good example would be how inertia keeps us in bed on a lazy Sunday morning. Whereas, a ball rolling down a hill will continue to roll or a child (adults as well) playing a video game will continue to run endless rounds unless another force stops it.

The important thing about inertia is that it is only the initial push that is difficult. After that, progress tends to be smoother.


Ernest Hemingway had a trick for overcoming inertia in his writing. Knowing that getting started was always the hardest part, he chose to finish work each day at a point where he had momentum.

The next day, he could pick up from there already having the idea about where to go – giving him momentum. He also shared another method, which was to write just one sentence. If he could think of one true sentence, the rest would come. And he knew that he could always come up with one true sentence.

As with physics, the momentum from getting started can carry us a long way. We just need to muster the required activation energy and get going.

So the best way to remove inertia from your life is to take the first step. The first step sets the wheels in motion. If you want to go for a jog or brisk walk, you need to wear your runners; step out the door, and take your first step. The rest will happen. If you dilly-dally in taking your first step, you will not accomplish much. As Dr. Covey would say: “The best way to begin is to begin.”

Some tips to overcome inertia:

1. Read your goals daily. Break down your yearly goals into quarterly and monthly goals. At the beginning of each month, further whittle the monthly goal into weekly activities. This will keep you invested in your goals and reduce the performance pressure you experience with bigger dreams.

2. Write down the positive changes that will happen once you complete the task or achieve the goal. Maybe it’s the down payment you’ll be able to make on your dream car, or the joy of fitting in your college jeans once you lose the excess pounds or freedom to travel once you bring your earnings to a desired level.

3. Break the job/activity into smaller tasks and time each task.

4. Visualise yourself successfully completing the task or goal. Create a detailed visual in your mind, complete with vivid and colourful scenes, sounds, textures, tastes and feelings.

Daily visualisation is a powerful tool in influencing your unconscious mind in helping you achieve your dreams.

5. Reward yourself at the completion of each important task. It can as simple as enjoying your chocolate chip cookie at your favourite café or taking a spa break or simply catching up on your reading. Little rewards go a long way in helping you achieve big goals.

So get moving pronto!