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What You Can (and Should) Learn From Your Inertia

If you’re like many of our clients, there may be a time in your life when you had a nagging inner voice that you tried your best to ignore. Maybe it’s happening right now. When you clear your head of the daily clutter and then do an internal check-in, what’s left? Do you have a sense of peace and satisfaction, or a yearning to make some kind of change? I’m inviting you to take 20 seconds to sit, close your eyes and ask yourself, “Am I on the right trajectory?”

Sometimes the nagging inner voice manifests itself differently in the form of excessive Monday morning blues, a sense of going through the motions, or getting sucked into the lure of bad habits that offer fleeting benefits.  We tend to hide from what makes us uncomfortable but the truth of the matter is that discomfort often holds the key to what changes we need to make.

Step 1: Stop Numbing Your Inertia

The first thing I tell people during their initial 15-minute consultation with me is “Congratulations! Just by picking up the phone you’ve set it in motion.” Every prospective client we speak with indicates a willingness to jump in and do the work – to go from inaction or complacency to jumping behind the wheel (or at least riding in the front seat). In order to do that, we have to poke around under the hood and listen to everything that voice wants to say about why there is discomfort in the first place.

Step 2: Cultivate Courage 

Once you explore your inertia and tease out what it is that’s keeping you stuck in old patterns and decisions, it’s time to cultivate the courage you need to form a habit. Change takes courage and courage is necessary for stepping out of what’s familiar. At first, you can keep your stride small and just try new foods or go explore a new town. Then stretch it a bit further by reaching out to people you don’t know very well or asking someone to mentor you. Before long, you’ll be stepping into your boldness. Routines are fine when they are effective but you’ve got to shed them if you’re left feeling depleted.

Step 3: Stay accountable

Accountability is the hardest part. A quick Google search shows there is disagreement among professionals about how long it takes to form a habit. Some say it takes as little as 3 days or as long as 3 months. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, don’t let yourself stop. Whether you have an accountability buddy, schedule reminders in your calendar, recruit your family to be on your team or you work with a coach, keep your momentum going.

Step 4: Give back

Once you are revitalized, thriving and no longer feel that inertia, it’s time to return the favor. There are several benefits to this in case altruism isn’t a driving motivator. Think about all the people who made a call, offered advice or kept you on task. Whether you write some introductions, host a Thanks for your help party or mentor someone yourself, it will feel good and keep your network active.


“Change has to be hard because you’re fighting against inertia.”
James Thornton

About the Author: Tava Auslan, MSEd, ACRW
Senior Coach, Certified Resume Writer

Tava Auslan is a career counselor, certified resume writer and dancer. She received her BA in Psychology from SUNY Purchase and a Counseling Masters from Fordham University. Since 2002 she has partnered with her clients to give them clarity, confidence and concrete strategies for job search. Tava is known for her ability to help people assess their challenges, determine where they are stuck and offer tangible solutions to get them back on track. An astute writer, Tava earned her ACRW credential from Resume Writing Academy and crafts resumes that tell a compelling story for job seekers of all ages and stages. Tava has worked with a broad array of clients ranging from entrepreneurs, project managers, recent grads and engineers.

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