Why does inertia have so much influence over our lives? What is it that can make us want to do something for a long, long time and yet we just don’t? I blame inertia but I can’t seem to put my finger on what causes the inertia. Sometimes it’s as simple as a bad night’s sleep. The next day is spent just trying to stay awake. But other times, when lack of sleep isn’t to blame, why don’t I do the things I say and think that I want to do?
Some of the things are simple….pick up that piece of trash on the floor….umm, no, thanks…I will instead choose to walk by it 5, 10 or perhaps 25 times before I finally decide to take the half of second it needs for me to deal with it. But as soon as I take care of it, I feel better. Funny that such a simple thing can bring relief yet I don’t choose to simply pick it up, the first time I see it. What gives??
Then there’s the bigger things….projects, jobs, dreams….I get where some of that inertia comes from. These things require time and effort. They may require skills I don’t yet have, connections with people I don’t yet know. Maybe I don’t want to start one more thing that I might not finish. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll fail. Maybe deep down I don’t really want to do it or maybe I think it’s not worthy of my time.
I’m trying to de-clutter my life these days. Honestly, I started the process 16 years ago but with five small kids at the time, my attention was often diverted elsewhere. And as kids grow, de-cluttering means getting rid of the past. That’s hard. For a long time I found it impossible to let stuff go.
So over the last year I started looking at de-cluttering in a different way. It wasn’t just about getting rid of stuff….although I have doggedly been doing that. I started in January with de-cluttering addictions. First to sugar, and most recently caffeine. Controlling the will and ultimately changing what the will wants is a long slow process. It takes a lifetime. But I’ve learned it is possible.
Then I challenged my lifelong distaste (bordering on hatred actually) of exercise. I started exercising most days, last summer. But then the cool weather kicked in and I quit making the effort. I started again this past summer and learned the difference between doing something because you should and doing something because you want to. The longer I did it the more benefit I started to see and slowly, very slowly, I began to want to do it because it makes me feel better.
With each victory over my old stubborn will of downright refusal, I felt lighter….slightly less cluttered. But inertia is still the enemy. It whispers how busy i am – there can’t be time to exercise….how deprived I am…so many foods you can’t eat! It tells me other things matter more. Some days I listen to those whispers. Most days now, I listen a lot less.
All this makes me wonder….has inertia ever been a problem for you? Do certain circumstances provoke it in you? How do you move beyond it? I’d love to know.