Overcoming Momentum

Newton’s Third Law tells us that an object at motion tends to remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Likewise, an object at rest tends to remain at rest unless also acted upon by an outside force.

He might as well have been talking about people.

Newton’s Third Law tells us that an object at motion tends to remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Likewise, an object at rest tends to remain at rest unless also acted upon by an outside force.

Newton was talking about literal objects, but he might as well have been talking about people.

In our lives, we seem to have a certain amount of momentum in our habits, and it’s overcoming that momentum that we all need to do in order to get our crap together.

I’m going to use myself as an example. Recently, I posted about how I think we should train. Well, sort of. I posted an idea of how we might need to train. I’m not completely sold on it as the ideal, but I do think it’s a far better approach than most of what people say to do.

Yet why is it I’m having such a difficult time with implementing the least taxing aspects of that training style?

That’s right. I have no problem with weight training. I have no problem with doing sled drags once per week or so. But the walks, for some ridiculous reason, just isn’t happening.

Part of that is trying to find the best time to do them. Is it after supper? First thing in the morning? 

Then it’s questions of whether I should try and walk on days I train or just hit the treadmill after I lift or what.

But that’s only a part of it.

Part of it is that I’m just not used to doing this, so I have to overcome my current momentum of just lifting and dragging a sled.

Which is weird, because pulling a sled or carrying heavy weights for a certain distance is far more taxing cardiovascularly than just walking for a couple miles. This shouldn’t be difficult.

Yet it’s also possible that because it’s not difficult in and of itself, my mind isn’t prioritizing it correctly. It’s seeing it as minor and thus, not important.

Regardless, I have created the momentum of not doing something. I’m an object at rest.

However, unlike those objects at rest, I have something they don’t. You see, we can be acted upon by an internal force. We have free will. We can use that free will to get off our collective asses and start a new habit.

It’s what I did when I started lifting. 

It’s what I did when I started watching what I eat.

It’s what I did when I started writing here every day.

It’s what we do anytime we start something new. We simply decide to do it and we start doing it.

The problem is that we often fail to remember that we need to build that momentum in the opposite direction. You see, it’s not enough to start something. You have to keep it up. You have to use that momentum to work in your favor.

We call that a habit.

I’ve noted before that once you create an actual habit, a healthy habit, it’s far easier to maintain that habit. That’s the momentum.

For example, I’ve tried taking something of a diet break recently. I stopped worrying so much about my calories as a way to kind of kick my metabolism in the rump. I could have gotten away without recording a blasted thing. It’s not really required.

But I still recorded everything I ate.

Why? Well, because it was a habit. It felt odd not to measure, weigh, and record. It felt alien.

That was because I’d built up positive momentum and I didn’t want the outside force (the diet break) to act upon it and slow down that momentum. I didn’t want anything to change.

The thing about momentum is that it’s odd. It’s easy to keep it going if you want to, but it does take effort. In an actual object traveling along a surface, that outside force is usually friction. It bleeds out the momentum slowly until eventually it just doesn’t go anywhere anymore.

We have friction in our lives that we have to be on the lookout for.

Today, I’m going to lift, then hit the treadmill. Tomorrow, I’ll walk around the neighborhood at some point. Friday, I’ll…well, I’ll figure it out on Friday. It kind of depends on my gym’s hours that day. If they’re the regular hours, I’ll probably just hit the treadmill again.

My hope is that by doing this, I’ll build up some momentum so that when the weather clears and it’s time to get back to work here at the house, I’ll have the habit already built in.

Of course, this leads me to wonder if I didn’t come at this ass-backward. Maybe starting with a walk, then start adding in weight training. Oh well. It’s too late for that now.

What it’s not too late for is building some damn momentum, and to do that, we have to overcome different momentum.

So what are you waiting on? Get to work!

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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