This post I drafted back in February. I tabled it and I never came back to it. I think subconsciously I wasn’t ready to really give it my all because I didn’t believe I was actually doing what I was writing about. I want to introduce a simple concept.
Inertia – a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.
In reference to your health inertia can be your worst enemy or your best friend. I know in the present lexicon of the American English language it is typically used to describe a level of inactivity, passivity, or a tendency for something archaic to remain unchanged.
Really inertia from a physics standpoint is just simply put an object’s desire to maintain its current direction and speed, principally the object is resistant to change, including a sedentary object’s desire to sit still or one in motion that wants to continue on its existing path.
See where I’m going with this?
If you are obese, unhealthy, or just feel crappy your present state is your inertial home. Think of it as your internal desire to remain obese, unhealthy, or feel crappy. Simply put you’ve conditioned yourself to rest in the present state.
Think of it this way you…for whatever reason developed a thought, it might as well have been as simple as “I feel shitty, cake will make me feel better”, or in my case “Eating $60 worth of Indian take out by myself will make me pass-out.” You eat the cake, the sugar causes dopamine to get triggered in your brain so you feel fucking great, then your insulin levels spike and you feel tired and lethargic.
You have completely forgotten about whatever originally made you feel shitty. You’ve now taught your brain the best solution to feeling crappy are high doses of sugar to release dopamine followed by insulin and cortisol which will make you feel sleepy or less active. What becomes insane eventually you do so frequently just the thought will cause your dopamine to rise, like the dog Pavlov’s salivating dog when the bell rings.
Eventually time passes you get on the scale one day and realize you’ve gained 20-30 lbs. or in my case 100+ lbs. You look at yourself in the mirror, not recognizing who you are staring at, then the inertial forces of your mind start to creep in. You tell yourself that you’re destine to be overweight, or unhappy, or that this is the best you can do for yourself. Your mind wants to be more of who you are and stay on this path, which in essence is a path of sedentary stillness.
You CHOOSE to do nothing, just existing. This present state of blah, that’s that the type of inertia that is worst enemy.
You have become an immovable fucking rock in your own life. You attempt occasionally to reduce your intake, you walk, or workout it only lasts for a few days, then regress to the comfortable state of you. Yes, I said you. Whether you are overweight, unhealthy, or unhappy you are in that state because you chose it. Accept it because until you do, you can’t change it.
Here’s the good shit.
That same inertial desire to remain in the same place can be broken with directional force and velocity. More importantly when you get your life set on a specific direction all the effort that it will take to get it started will eventually become the basis for your changing self. It will be the foundation to remain on this new directional path. The momentum you slowly create will essential place you on an inertial path where as you build the velocity in this new direction that the YOU the object will move faster and with more intensity in the this new direction you’ve chosen. You will become this giant thing that can’t be stopped by inconsequential bumps in your way. You will plow over them.
This is the type of inertial movement you want, the type where momentum puts you into a flow state.
In Jim Collins seminal book “From Good to Great”, Collins uses the concept of a flywheel to describe the effort required by the Good companies he profiles to become Great ones. The company’s once they begin to develop their core business practices it sets in motion this level of activity like the turning of a flywheel. Initially it is hard as shit, then as they become more proficient in those activities the flywheel begins to turn faster requiring less effort. Eventually the company masters those principles creating a level of momentum where the flywheel turns on its own, and just requires a small injection of energy to maintain velocity and direction.
Think of your present unhappiness in life whether physical or emotional as a square block resting on a flat road encumbered with gravel or rocks. You the block is happiest today just resting in that spot.
One day you wake up and say I can’t see my feet when I stand up because my gut looks like the gut of a Buddha that ate all the other Buddhas. You decide I’m going to change. An outside force of enormous magnitude is required to get YOU the block moving.
You start by going to the gym, because between you and me working out is always the easier part of a weight loss equation. You start by going the gym 3x a week for a month. YOU the block is starting to teeter back and forth, it hasn’t really moved much distance forward, yet you can feel it starting to budge.
In month 2 you start to feel better, and say I’m going to hit the gym 5x a week. Now the rock starts to move, it’s inching forward but its bumpy, loud, you’re probably breaking shit in front of you. YOU the rock is beginning to move. The bumps in the road are all the opportunities to go out and drink, eat shitty food, stay up late, and drink as much soda as you can.
In month 3 you physically feel stronger; your lungs start to feel clearer. YOU the block has moved maybe a couple feet, yet you know inside if you stop right now or take a break the BLOCK will stop moving altogether. So, you finally say I’ve got to change how I eat.
You start grocery shopping, preparing meals, you start eating more greens then bread. YOU the block is starting to pick up steam however it feels like you are bouncing all over the place because the road is really rocky. It feels like a herculean effort to just keep going. When you get on the scale you expected to have lost 20 lbs. and realize you only lost 5 lbs. This puts you on tilt.
Is the problem you? Or is it just part of the effort required to reach the state of happy inertia?
You decide ok, I need to join a group training gym to interact with others, find a competent nutritionist to help me understand what I need to eat, or you do something like take Robb Wolfs Keto course, or read books, you do something to smarten up your efforts.
At this point going to workout is a habit. Eating better cleaner food is habit. YOU the block is starting to pick up momentum. Now all these new patterns of thought are starting to influence your behavior. Think of these moments as the moment where now you are starting to remove the impediments in the road or more importantly the momentum you are creating just plows through those bumps. You are generating enough force now to get the block moving, and guess what you are just fucking going now.
YOU the block has applied so much force in your desired direction of happiness and health that you’ll just go. Any impediments that pop up in your life are the bumps in the road that require moments of force to redirect yourself, or you remove them completely from your life.
You are both the block in the road, and the impetus for the energy to choose the direction that block moves.
Choose the happy inertia just start pushing towards your goal even if that one step is walking for 5 minutes today.