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Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Inertia, paradoxically, is the starting point for all change. Acknowledge this, and also find what is good about the status quo, in order to keep hold of it. Then articulate your goal and really work out the detail of the why and the what you want from that goal. Don’t accept the label of failure or external judgements and interpretations. Stay clear about what you are trying to achieve and why. Maintain effort through progress and regress, staying kind to yourself and admitting to being human with the insight and determination to try again.

Of course, inertia can be seen as a permanent obstacle standing in the way of making

changes but this is denying how the human brain works.

The first step is to acknowledge it as a universal starting point. This strips

away our lazy excuse-finding or superficial explanation of why change might seem

difficult. We need to revel in the state of inertia, appreciating what is good about the current situation. This will help us hone into what needs to change and what needs to stay the same. With that spotlight focus, we can engage our left-brain’s cognitive power to identify the first step in the road between here and there, keeping the best bits of what is already good here and then clearly identifying the other aspects which require change.

We also need the lamplight from the right-brain viewpoint to charge us with the

emotional conviction to push ourselves off into the uncertainty of those changes.

This connects us to the end goal, articulating in detail what the outcome will feel like.

It is also admitting what is depleting about the status quo, and being honest about this in order to push away from it.

So with that push and pull of our emotions, and the step-by-step direction from our

cognition, we embark on our journey of change into the external world.

Beware of the traps as we set off to change. For example, passivity can loom, encouraged by surrounding ourselves with other people’s opinions and interpretations instead of forging our own. Distracting ourselves with immersive, addictive tech, we become hypnotized and exclude any time for our inner selves to process or reflect without stimulation or pushed information. It becomes a way in which we drown any spark of inner momentum, our waking hours awash with others’ ideas and our responses to them.

Loss of self belief is another trap, where we accept the definition of not changing as failure instead of reflecting on what is blocking us and regrouping to overcome those obstacles. This undermining pessimism can spiral us lower than just inertia into immobility and paralysis.

The protection from these pitfalls can be summarized by staying active, in mind and

body. Physically enacting change- for example changing what your body is doing, or

what your surroundings are like- can lead the way in proving to yourself that you

are capable of change. Making space in your own reflections and thoughts about change, reviewing what first step you could manage, or setting goals for yourself,

maintains your mindset in active self-belief.

Acknowledging and feeling the effort required to make change is an important

feature of this mindset. But rather than treating effort as something to be

avoided, we need to accept that it is a universal part of living (even if we

don’t change) and is something which can give us a sense of traction and engagement

in life. Rather than viewing it as depleting, we should see effort as essential and energising.

The first step then is to expect and savour the inertia you feel before making any

change. Commit to five minutes a day without any external stimulus to risk hearing what

your thoughts and emotions are telling you. Describe your goal in detail to yourself, no

matter how unrealistic or idealistic it might feel at first, and really live in that end point. Then consider which first step you will take today to lead you from here to there. Feel the effort you are going to require and even if it feels painful at first, focus on its energizing effect. And if you don’t manage, or it turns out to be a different step you needed, then be kind to yourself and admit to being human with the insight and determination to try again

Dr Angus Tallini, September 2023

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