Anyone know of the perpetual motion machine? It’s a mythic beast that can somehow over come the laws of friction to never stop once started in motion. I often think that this should apply to me. Once I start on a logical course of action, that logic should provide all the impetus needed to continue, right? Next stop, enlightenment. Doesn’t work that way, though, does it?


A perpetual motion machine can’t operate because friction, whether it be mechanical or simply air resistance will over time cause a slowing and eventual stop. Likewise, our own habits and goals meet with all kinds of friction.

Social Friction

We have social friction from friends and family members who are used to a different “us” and find change unsettling. Subtly or overtly they may resist our best efforts to change because we become someone they don’t know.

Internal Friction

We also have internal friction from old habits that are well established. It costs far less mental energy to do what we have always done than engage in a new and as yet unproven habit.

Really Big Friction

Then there is the macro friction that comes from society at large. If you try to do things differently from the mainstream, you will feel that friction, even if there are many others on your same path.

What to do?

Be aware.

Sense the friction for what it is. Look at it dispassionately. Friction does not mean personal failure. Just another obstacle.

Establish momentum.

Pick a small task in the right direction and do it. Right away. re-establish momentum. Small efforts count more than big ones if they are done with frequency. Right now I need training and diet momentum.

I have fallen short in recent days, so I took small steps today. I commuted by bike. I wanted to drive the car, but I didn’t. I didn’t go for a big workout as penance, I just made sure I operated under my own power. It felt great. I’ve eaten out recently which means I lost control of my nutrition, so made sure to eat a vegetable rich Asian stir fry for dinner. It tasted great. These reactions mean I am reestablishing momentum. Keep the energy flowing in the direction you want to go. Small redirections can pay off big over time. Don’t let a set back overwhelm you. Just reestablish momentum as soon as possible. How do you handle yourself when you have strayed off track? Any tricks or secret techniques?


About vegpedlr

Plant powered off-road triathlete

Posted on October 21, 2011, in Reflection and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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