In the dictionary, inertia is the resistance or disinclination to motion or change. As it relates to our businesses, inertia often means that we stick our heads in the sand with regard to truly making a change in the business, working a little harder on the things we do best, and avoid doing something new or unfamiliar. Unless our backs are up against the wall, it's very challenging for us to make a significant change with our daily routine.
Each day, inertia keeps people working in jobs that they've lost enthusiasm for. Been there, done that. That's right, many employees work for companies in jobs they hate and complain about it but are fearful of making a change in their work situation. Their need for a "safe job" makes them miserable and they get stuck in a long-term rut. Over time, this need for safety trumps their entrepreneurial desires, because they fear failure, which leads to overwork, boredom, anxiety and depression.
When you are stuck on the treadmill of life juggling the tasks of working, parenting, spending beyond your means, eating and drinking too much, and getting sucked into watching TV, it's hard to change your routine.
So, how do we break free from this self-defeating ritual of getting stuck in the mud?
First of all, don't expect to change everything at once. Impatience with the current situation can lead to impulsive and short-sighted decisions. While our society yearns for quick fixes, recognize that making changes to your business so that it serves your life with long-term benefits takes an ongoing effort and plan. Changing your office routine will be like giving up alcohol, losing weight, lifting weights, cutting up your credit cards and canceling your cable TV subscription ALL at once. So, break your transition plan into sizeable chunks recognizing that we are all resistant to change.
Below are the steps to overcome your inertia and get pulled out of the mud:
1. Map out your options
2. Prepare for change (be proactive on long lead-time items)
3. Acquire third-party knowledge or guidance to help you
4. Incorporate a system or routine into your plans to encourage compliance
5. Break your action items into small steps/phases (e.g., don't do all at once)
6. Take action and establish implementation dates
7. Maintain the momentum and make modest adjustments
It's time to take the bull by the horns and improve the quality of your life. Get started this month and avoid the temptation to procrastinate. Go for it!