You Can’t Steer A Parked Car: 5 Steps to Achieve Upward Momentum

The power of upward momentum can’t be underestimated. When good things are happening and life is moving along at a positive clip, one action seems to effortlessly breed a new action until you seem to have an engine of accelerated, exceptional growth. And if you’re not experiencing that, you might be suffering from inertia. It’s as real as momentum, but can be completely destructive.

As a business coach, I have encountered so many individuals who are “stuck” – in their careers, their personal goals and even their relationships. It’s an awful word, “stuck.” It implies that there’s a power beyond your control preventing you from moving forward, like trying to steer a parked car. But, “stuck” is an illusion – it’s actually inertia – and there is a cure: move. Shift your gears into drive and go.

Here are five steps to move through inertia into action and achieve momentum:

1. Set your goal and define success

What do you want to do? Give a specific name to what you want to accomplish, and then ask yourself, “What does that look like?” Avoid using words like “more” (“I want to exercise more” or “I want my company to make more money.”) Say, “I’m going to work out at the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30 AM for one hour,” or “I’m going to pitch and sign two new clients this quarter with budgets over $10K a month.” The more specific you are, the more tangible the goal becomes, and the more likely you are to achieve it.

2. Make a plan

How are you going to achieve your goal and ensure success? Identify steps that will lead you to your final goal, and set dates by which you plan to achieve those milestones. Big goals can be intimidating. If you’ve done any mountain climbing, you understand this. When you’re at the base, it can seem impossible that you’d ever reach the summit. That kind of thinking can lead straight to fear and inertia, so make sure to execute your plan one baby step at a time.

3. Identify your obstacles

This is a very important part of the process. You’ve got to know what might get in the way of accomplishing your goal so you can mitigate any bumps along the way. If you don’t, they can breed excuses (“I didn’t have enough time”) or resignation (“I guess it just wasn’t meant to be”). Decide what you want to achieve, consider your obstacles and get them out of your way.

4. Make a public commitment

It’s easy to make private proclamations about all the things we’re going to accomplish. If that’s enough for you, great. But for those folks dealing with inertia, a private commitment is probably not enough. Make your plans known. Tell your friends, family and co-workers what your goal is and when it will be completed. Give yourself a community to answer to and you’ll be more likely to stick to your plan. And, remember the words of Yoda: “There is no try…only do.” Don’t use the word “try.” Say what you “will” do and commit to it.

5. Take immediate action

There’s incredible power in “now.” Don’t wait to start your journey. Lau Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Take action as soon as you possibly can. Start your engine. Shift into drive and hit the gas pedal.

Warren Buffet famously said, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Mr. Buffet knows a lot about investing money, and he also understands the value of time – taking small steps towards a larger goal. The things you’ve dreamed of in life and in business may be just around the corner, and are in no way beyond your reach. Don’t let inertia keep you from moving forward. Make a plan, commit to it and take that first step today.

This article originally appeared on Huffington Post.