Monday, January 17, 2011

Turn Resistance into Momentum

 photo by Cheryl Empey

In my last post I wrote about Overcoming Resistance.

The flip side of resistance is momentum

What I was surprised to learn is that resistance and momentum are the same energy.  

Momentum is making resistance work for you rather than against you.

Let me explain with an example from my own life. 

I've been learning about resistance from my own recent experience of joining a gym for the first time. 

As we know, resistance means "opposing force." I have a lot of mental resistance to exercise due to my "lizard brain"--the part of me that wants to conserve energy and stay inert.

And we know that there is a physical law for this: An object at rest tends to stay at rest. (Newton's first law of motion)

My lizard brain would like nothing better than to stay at home, lounge around in comfort, and avoid any physical exertion or potential embarrassment that would be caused by going to the gym. 

Remember, I didn't know anything about the gym. I had built it up in my mind as a scary place filled with weightlifters on steroids, aerobics queens in fluorescent spandex outfits and strange equipment that resembles torture devices! As a non-athletic person, the gym is totally out of my comfort zone.

Yet, I overcame my resistance and went to the gym. I went with my mom, who is also non-athletic. Seeing the positive effects of regular exercise on my mom (increased energy and better heath) created the desire within me as well. Going with her made it much less scary.

I was surprised to discover that not only is it bearable to go to the gym, it is actually a lot of fun for me! 

I went to the aqua aerobics class and had fun jumping, kicking and splashing in the water. I had fun in Zumba class. And I even have fun using the "torture device" machines, because I am getting my blood pumping and I get an endorphin rush, which causes a natural high. 

I feel satisfaction, knowing that I am getting stronger every day.

As I learn about exercise, I learn about resistance (opposing force). 

The most effective exercise will use resistance to build up your strength. 

For example, in aqua aerobics, the water provides the resistance. With regular aerobic activity, gravity provides the resistance. With weights and machines, weight provides the resistance. By progressively taking on more resistance or weight, your muscles will become stronger over time.

I learned about momentum by exercising at the gym. Once I get my body moving, I want to keep moving, and it's hard to stop!

Newton's laws of motion

1. Every body remains in a state of rest or uniform motion unless it is acted upon by external unchallenged force.

2. The body of mass subject to force undergoes an acceleration that has the same direction as the force and magnitude directly proportional to the force and inversely proportional to mass.

Momentum is Law #2. Once you get moving, the energy and force gets behind you to naturally keep you moving.  

So, once you overcome resistance, put the initial force or effort into doing something and get the action going, momentum takes over, and the rest will seem easy. It will seem as if it is happening on its own. 

I have found this to be true in every situation where I have experienced resistance. Once I get moving, it almost takes care of itself.

What are some ways you achieve momentum? Do you have examples of momentum in your life?


  1. Oh Rosa, you've made me laugh. Lizard brain! Now my "condition" has a name! Love it! I am letting my daughter read this post. She has inherited that type of brain from her mother :( but she is trying to get motivated to really stick to a workout routine. Thank you, this post came at the nick of time! XO

  2. Alina,
    I wish your daughter well with her workout routine. I can't take credit for "lizard brain"--I've been reading a lot of Seth Godin lately, and the term comes from him. We all have lizard brain! For more tips on overcoming resistance please check out my last post.
    Best wishes!

  3. wonderful example of how two seemingly different things are actually related. I love looking at life this way. Thank you for your inspiring perspective. Keep on having fun at the gym!!

  4. Tammie, thanks for your visit and kind words :)