How do we overcome mental inertia? People by nature are fearful of loss, whether that is financial, emotional or related to status or power. We are obsessed with accumulating safety, security and certainty. What we often ignore though is the fact that life is inherently uncertain. There are no guarantees or real security no matter how hard we try to play it safe. Too many fearful thoughts can lead us to mental inertia, where we feel safer in our well known comfort zone. The problem with our comfort zone is that it doesn’t stretch us in any way. I believe we all owe it to ourselves to find out our strengths and weaknesses and to figure out what we are truly capable of. This cannot happen if we consistently remain in our comfort zone. A little bit of discomfort creates a large amount of personal development.
Ways to overcome “Mental Inertia”:
- Visualise the positive results of your action and how good you will feel about yourself.
- Take action. If you start move physically, the brain will follow comply.
- Take small steps to begin with and count every small step as a victory and proof that you have it within you to make changes.
- Take a balanced approach. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There will be times when you feel less motivated and that’s okay.
- Be optimistic about your capabilities.
- Adjust your concept of failure. See failure as never trying at all rather than trying and it not working out. There is a valuable lesson in every attempt that doesn’t quite work out.
- Self belief is key. Talk to yourself in a motivational way – “I can do it”.
The 5 minute rule
Agree to start a task and do 5 minutes. You’ll find that once you get past the barrier of getting started, the task is easier and you will find you can often carry on past the initial 5 minutes. When we promise ourselves a small short task, it seems less daunting and more manageable. The 5 minute rule is a clever psychological trick to overcome mental inertia.
Set yourself deadlines, don’t get caught up in the tiniest of details and get stuck in. I remember in one of my past jobs, there was this sales guy with the letters GOYA scrawled boldly above his desk. He told me they stood for:
Get Off Your Ass
Now that’s good advice – plain and simple. No excuses…. 🙂
Photo by runonbeat