Some quick physics:
The Law of Motion declares unless acted upon by another force,
an object will stay in its current state. That means it will either stay at rest – indefinitely. Or stay in motion – indefinitely. The concept of Inertia posits that whether in motion or at rest, all objects resist changes in their state of motion.
Something external causes us to start or stop.
I had the privilege of talking with one of the most brilliant marketers in the country, and he stressed the need to understand – and use – the concept of inertia in our businesses. His counsel has driven exponential growth in business of all sizes, and it all begins with understanding these basic laws of physics. To paraphrase, this is the first question he asks: what are you already doing that you can build on, rather than trying to start from scratch? If you have an element of your business that’s already working, albeit not as well as you would like, it’s wiser to put your focus on developing and improving that, rather than creating something brand new. It’s an object that’s already in motion! It wants to keep going.
You have Newton and Galileo on your side!
You will want to apply this to your life, especially as you face the New Year. Whether you make a formal list of resolutions or just have a couple things that are top of mind you want to do differently, the law of motion can help you achieve success.
If you try to start something new from a standstill, the success rate will be low. In fact, one study found 25% of Americans don’t even stick with resolutions for 7 days! That’s sad, and the rapid drop off rate continues in the following weeks.
Whether you’re looking to grow your business, make a career change, or get your finances in order, there are two simple ways to use inertia to your advantage in the upcoming year.
Use The Force in 2016
ACTION 1: Build on the steps you’ve already taken.
Odds are you’re already actively working on some of these key areas, even if only in the smallest way.
Let’s say you really want to make a career change. You’re just not as happy as you want to be and you don’t want to look back at the end of 2016 and feel the way you do right now. And … it’s a lot like you felt at the end of 2014.
Putting “Job Search” on your Resolutions List and feeling like you are kicking off something brand new is daunting. Instead, remind yourself of the things that you are already doing in this area. Maybe you’ve already spoken to someone in a different company. Maybe you’ve had a cursory conversation with a coach. Maybe you’ve gotten on a recruiter’s mailing list. Maybe you’ve read a book on re-inventing yourself, or planning something new for your “second half”. Guess what, you’re already in motion!
Now, your list of resolutions isn’t:
You will need a full-blown strategy to really make it happen, so add to your resolutions:
Reminding yourself of what you are already doing allows you to pat yourself on the back realizing you have been doing something, and takes full advantage of Newton’s Law of Motion to keep that object in motion.
What if you really are starting from scratch?
ACTION 2: Take a step now.
Great! Your resolution is something you really want to do: get in shape, quit smoking, be super successful in my new job that starts 1/4/16.
The object is at rest. You need an unbalanced force to start it. TAKE A STEP NOW! Before January 1, 2016. Do just a couple things in the next two weeks to create the forward moving inertia so that when the ball drops in Times Square, you are already in motion.
Baby steps are fine
If the goal is getting in shape, make sure your gym membership is already purchased, you have gym time blocked in your Outlook calendar for January, and you are all set with gear. If you really want to jump start it, sneak out to the gym one or two times this year and get some of the kinks and awkwardness out of the way.
If your goal is to hit the ground running in the new job, you can use the balance of 2015 to contact that former boss or mentor to let her know what’s up and ask them to be part of your “personal board of advisors”. You can ask for a stocking stuffer subscription to Harvard Business Review or Crain’s. You can spend some time reflecting on what has really worked for you in the past – and what hasn’t – and be honest about what you bring to the table, and where you can use support.
Thank you to marketing guru Charles Gaudet for helping me remember, objects in motion want to stay in motion, and objects at rest want to stay at rest.
Keep moving forward with what you are already doing – the Force is with you!
Tim Ressmeyer, Ph.D. is the Founder Ressmeyer Partners and Happy Hour Coach®, executive and leadership coaching companies based in Chicago, and serving clients around the globe.
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