Breaking through Inertia

Breaking through inertia is probably the one most frequent thing that keeps us from achieving our goals. You can’ achieve anything if you don’t start it, and starting is just so hard. Be it a diet, taking up running, giving up smoking, going to the gym, writing a blog… overcoming that first day is like an insurmountable obstacle, no matter how much we want the end goal and how much we have committed, theoretically, to the plan to get there. Once a thing has become a habit it i easier to carry on, to keep doing it than it is to stop, but day one… it’s so easy to put it off and put it off. I suppose in part because once you have taken that first step, literally if you are starting running, there is no going back with ‘having failed’ and fear of failure makes it easier not to risk it. If our diet/gym regime starts tomorrow then we are still ‘doing something positive’. We have committed to this plan that will change our lives, resolve our problems and it’s something to be proud of and believe in and gives us hope. The moment we actually start… well, that doughnut, that sly fag, that morning run you skipped… they’re all little failures. They’re all admissions of weakness. they’re all indications that you can’t do this after all and nothing is ever going to change. And those things very quickly nibble away at your confidence faster than you scarfed that Krispy Kreme and pretty soon you’re backsliding more and more often because you really were never good enough to achieve those goal in the first place. You’re just one of life’s fat people. Quitting smoking might be possible for some people but it isn’t for you because you’ve been hooked too long. You weren’t born to run: that’s for those other people, the swishy ponytailed see through lycra panelled capri legging women. It’s all a load of shit. Pass me the TV remote and an ashtray and open the Doritos.

If anything it is even harder to overcome inertia when you have started and been going well and then lost momentum for whatever reason.

You slip for a day and then you slide for a few days… it happens… but when you try to grab on to the sides of the slide to stop your descent and start back up, it’s not as easy as you think. You look at those blank pages in your training log, or more pertinently you look at the date of the last entry on your blog and it glares back at you accusingly, and you feel guilt and shame for having fallen off the wagon, and don’t want to face that lost time, those empty calories, that full ashtray.
It becomes easier to beat yourself up and feeling bad about all the days you have missed than it does to put them behind you and get back to business, and you miss even more days as a consequence and feel even worse about it and so it goes on. The worm Ourobourous eats its own tail and it tastes of bitter ashes.

For me, at least, it takes an external¬† stimulus to get the ball rolling again. It can be a major thing: a dramatic life event, a big health scare wakeup call or it can be a very minor thing: a chance conversation, an article in a magazine (does anyone read magazines anymore) or the smell of the early morning air on a fresh sunny morning…

and once you start again, of course, it’s as if you had never stopped (although you may have lost some gainz in the meanwhile). Once you start that ball rolling again, it gathers momentum all by itself and you wonder how it ever was that you put it off for so long.

If that is you, then don’t put it off any longer. The time for procrastination is past. Let this be the article you read that spurs you back into action, and get back in the saddle. You won’t regret it. You will thank yourself for it. Who knows, you may even thank me for it, but it’s not about thanks; it’s not about feeling self-righteous, it’s about righting yourself.

Just Do It.


  1. Julia Holman

    Good to see you back and a great post to start the week too.I find quitting anything really hard, I think I have an addictive personality type ( apparently there is such a thing), so rather than focus on my addictions I focus on my running streak. I will have to be almost dead before I stop that. I am also rubbish at doing what I am told or following plans. In my defence I have managed to run 3 marathons with this approach as I do have a giant mountain of determination which has got me through most stuff I have achieved.

  2. Lindsay/Anniemurph

    Thank you for this. I have a question though: as with C25K, is it necessary to take a day off in between if I am only doing small efforts?
    Reading this and your other recent posts, you’re right, I need to harden the fuck up and just do it. Okay, I had an excuse recently, but not any more. I stuck to the skwaat programme and it worked. Now I can get back on to that and there is no reason that I shouldn’t add in a push-up or 5 and an attempt at a plank. I’ll be travelling again so can’t do the pull-ups, but for the rest, all I need is a floor.
    So – every day? I’m not talking about 3 sets of 40 here.
    Thanks for the help.

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