Habits, Soul Searching

Why was inertia bad again?

Remember inertia? If you remember anything from the Physics lessons in school, you’ll remember that the concept of inertia was related to Sir Isaac Newton’s first two laws of physics:

1. An object at rest tends to stay at rest.

2. An object in motion tends to stay in motion.

Nowadays, we use the term loosely to describe our attitude to many things in life. There’s too much inertia to do anything new. We tend to waste our weekends doing nothing. We’re lazy to cook anything healthy, so we go back to ordering junk food because it’s something we’re used to. It just seems easy to keep doing the same thing over and over again because we’re too caught up in our habits. 

The cascade effect

Unfortunately, inertia in one aspect of our life tends to spill over into the other aspects as well. For example, let’s take the following situation. Lucy is tired of her job, and she hates it. But, she’s used to it. It’s scary to try something new. Hence, it’s just easier to stick to the job she knows well and be miserable. People can actually just get used to being miserable as well. Now, because Lucy is miserable, she also lacks motivation in other areas of her life. When she comes back home from work, all her energy has been used up putting up with a job she hates. So, she’s too tired to work out. She doesn’t want to bother with cooking, she orders in some junk food. She knows she should call her family more often, but obviously she’s too tired to even dial a number and chat. So, she switches on the TV and at the same time switches off her brain. Now, it doesn’t end there. Because of inertia, she keeps watching TV because she’s too lazy to get up and switch the TV off. Finally, she sleeps too late and hence she wakes up late, and the cycle continues. 

So, you see how harmful inertia can be? 

Inertia is not equal to “staying still”

We tend to think of inertia as only “staying still”. But, that’s not true. If you look at the definition, it clearly says “the tendency to remain in it’s current state.” Rather than looking at it negatively, we can try to be active and let that spill over into other aspects of our life. 

If you stop being lazy and be more proactive in any one aspect of your life, the effect can slowly cascade to other areas of your life. Let’s look at my own example here. Lately, I’ve been trying to sleep early, and wake up early. Thanks to this, before I leave for office, I now pack some healthy snacks such as apples and almonds. When I used to wake up late and rush out of my house, I never carried any healthy snacks to office. When I was peckish, I would have biscuits and chocolates. Moreover, once I’m back from office, I now have time to exercise. This is because I tend to finish off most of my work in office as I’m more efficient. 

Apply a force to overcome inertia

Let me enlighten you! If you remember the last bit of Newton’s laws, you’ll recall that we need to apply a force to overcome inertia. So, if you’re stuck in inertia right now, do accept that it will be difficult to set things in motion straightaway. But, it’s not impossible. Apply a force in five areas of your life to set things moving, and let it affect your entire life. Here are some areas to get you started: 

1.) Don’t keep doing things you hate. If you come home everyday and eat that packet of chips which you keep buying even though you don’t want to, then stop! Just stop buying it. If it’s not there in your kitchen, you won’t eat it. 

2.) Sleep early. I can’t emphasize this enough. Force yourself to change your routine. 

3.) Make some time for exercise. If you’re physically moving, your brain will soon start moving too. And, before you know it, you’ll feel more alert and motivated. 

4.) Tackle something which you’ve been putting off for a while. It could be visiting the dentist, getting an appliance fixed or sending someone an overdue gift. Just make a list and choose one pending task and do it. 

5.) Learn something new. It could be a musical instrument, it could be a new language or it could be cooking. Do something which you’ve been wanting to for a while. Sign up for classes and immerse yourself in your passion. 

So don’t use inertia for not doing new things or for not being able to change things in your life. It matters how you look at inertia. If you equate it to being lazy, it won’t help you. Alternatively, equate it to being in motion. 

Don’t be the stone which no one can move. Be the “rolling stone which gathers no moss.”

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4 thoughts on “Why was inertia bad again?”

  1. Meh. There isn’t anything I *want* to do. I don’t even want to sleep. I think inertia is okay… at least I’m still alive, right?

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