Momentum is key to business growth. When you’re moving forward and good things are happening, it can feel almost effortless; one action leads to the next and you’re achieving results at a rapid pace. Your motivation results in concrete actions, and you’re getting what you want out of your life and your business. This is an optimum state of being: success breeding success.
But what if you had a good run, and you’re now feeling a little “stuck”? It could be that you’re suffering from inertia. It’s very real and can be very destructive. Getting things moving again can be a challenge, but it’s a necessary step if you want to get back on track.
The truth is most of us are not in the flow all the time. Life can get in the way. Things happen. Maybe we choose to rest on our laurels and our momentum grinds to a halt.
I work with businesses every day, and even the most seasoned leaders experience inertia from time to time. The good news is that there’s always a way out–it depends on you. The key is to get moving–shake things up and make choices that force you out of your “state of stuck.” How do you do that?
Take these five steps to break through inertia and get your wheels rolling again:
What do you want to do, and what does success mean? In creating your goal, ask yourself, “What does that look like?” and be specific about your answer. Avoid using words like “less” or “more”–those terms mean nothing.
For example, saying, “I want to micromanage my staff less this quarter,” won’t yield the same result as saying, “I’m only going to ask my staff for updates on Mondays and Wednesdays.” In the same way, “I’m going to make more money this year than I did last year” won’t have the impact that “I’m going to increase revenue by 10 percent in the next calendar year” will have. Make your goal specific to achieve what you want.
What steps are necessary to reach your goal? How will you ensure your success? Write it all out, and indicate when you plan to complete each step; set dates for completion and stick to them.
Of course, setting goals (especially big ones) can be overwhelming. It’s like running a race–if you focus on the finish line, it can feel like an impossible journey. If you find yourself falling into that kind of thinking, you’re surrendering to fear, which can lead back to inertia. The secret is to go from one milestone to the next–one small step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to reaching the finish line and making your ultimate goal a reality.
If you set a goal, but you don’t think about potential obstacles, you’re setting yourself up for failure. For example, if you want to go to the gym three times a week at 5 a.m., but haven’t considered that you may be needed at home to help with child care, you’re probably not going to the gym. Get real about any hurdles that might get in the way of achieving your goal so you can work around those circumstances and find your best path to success.
It can be easy to tell yourself that you’re going to do something, but if you make your intentions public, it’s much tougher to make excuses and abandon your commitments.
Some people are great working on their own–good for them. If you’re not that type and you’re trying to get past your inertia, this is your opportunity to shout your intentions to the rooftops. Tell your colleagues, friends, and family about your plans. Once you’ve got a community of people watching–providing support and accountability–you’ll be more likely to follow through and make it to the finish line.
There’s no time to waste and there’s a lot of power in the present moment. No matter how small the first step is, make every effort to take it immediately. Demonstrate to yourself and others that you’re committed to the process and you’re ready to move forward. In the words of Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Take that step as soon as you can.
I’m a big Yoda fan, and I quote him a lot. My favorite quote of his is “There is no try…only do.” Trying won’t get you anywhere. Set your goal, figure out how to meet it and really do it. Anything else will stop your momentum in its tracks and lead to inertia (or the Dark Side, as Yoda might put it).
Everything you’ve dreamed of for your life and for your business is possible. Take these five steps. Put in the time and effort to push past your inertia–the finish line is just around the corner.
This article originally appeared on AllBusiness.com.