An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its motion (including a change in direction). In other words, it is the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at constant linear velocity, or to keep still. In your business and professional life inertia plays an important role.
Think about your professional relationships and opportunities. The longer you go without seeing someone the easier it becomes not to call or contact them. The same is true of the all too common business opportunity which begins with that promising first meeting or phone call, yet over time devolves into an attempt to stay in contact which becomes more half-hearted as time passes. The status quo becomes easier to maintain than it is to change.
I read an interesting post from Pressed for Time regarding being careful of business inertia:
The law of inertia also applies to our emotional and intellectual life. Did you ever decide that you were going to change something in your life once and for all, only to find that without realizing it, you slipped back into the same pattern again? We all get stuck in a rut sometimes. The trick is to exert enough consistent force to be able to overcome inertia and create lasting change. And the key to this is time and consistency.
21: the number of days to change a habit. That means it takes time and consistency to overcome inertia and affect change.
To change inertia we need an outside force, “something different”. Here are the four things to do differently. If you’re a strongly self-disciplined person the first three items will help change your inertia. If you’re like most of us, the fourth item is mandatory and the key to success.
- Write “it” down with deadlines – What your “its” are, and how many you have, are up to you. They must be specific, attainable and written down.
- Review them daily. Tape your goals and action items where you’ll see them. Let them stare you in the face: guilt can be your friend. Most of our New Year’s resolutions go by the wayside because it’s so easy to hide from them.
- Work. Change takes work, which is usually difficult and easily avoided. Be consistent and know that change takes time.
- Be committed and brave enough to share your goals with someone who will hold you accountable.
The tips on how to combat inertia are both simple and wise. The one about sharing the goal with someone else who will hold you accountable is the bravest and most important.
What do you do to combat personal and business inertia?