Ugh…physics. As a student who much preferred classes centered on writing, literature and philosophy, I tended to avoid science classes as much as possible. Still…you can’t graduate high school or college without at least some exposure to the sciences; so I reluctantly took the absolute minimum number of science course requirements that I needed to graduate.
As much as I disliked science, I did come to really like a fella that I met in one of my high school science classes. His name was Isaac and I thought that he was amazing. His ideas regarding motion, momentum, force and resistance fascinated me and I found myself thinking about his theories even outside of the classroom. I discovered that his scientific ideas applied themselves to my life in ways that had nothing to do with scientific study and for that I thought that he was brilliant–despite the fact that he had some ridiculous looking hair.
Okay–you’ve probably figured out by now that my Isaac wasn’t actually a classmate on whom I had a giant crush; instead I’m referring to Sir Isaac Newton and his fascinating laws of motion. I am particularly enamored with his first law of motion which (in a nutshell) states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion while an object at rest tends to stay at rest. I’ve found that this law not only applies to objects but to people as well and that when properly applied to our daily lives, this law can help us to achieve important goals and make progress in any area of our life to which it is applied. On the flip side however; this law can also work against us, preventing us from moving forward and causing us to become stuck.
One of the best ways that I’ve discovered for making sure that awesome Isaac’s First Law of Motion works for me, offering momentum and progress rather than against me with lethargy and stagnation is to implement what I have come to call my DOT strategy. DOT simply stands for Do One Thing and this strategy has helped me in more ways than I can count.
The premise behind my DOT strategy is simple but that doesn’t always mean that it is easy. Still…it works, all the time, every time. I simply get Newton’s First Law of Motion working for me by DOING ONE THING.
I know that this sounds very simplistic, but that’s because it is simplistic. If you have a goal that you want to accomplish, make a commitment to yourself that you will do one thing every single day to inch yourself closer to that goal. This doing one thing will get the ball rolling and set things in motion and as our buddy Isaac pointed out–objects (or people) in motion tend to stay in motion. I often find that once I’ve done one thing to move myself closer to my goal, I am able to harness the momentum from that one action and use it to create sustained positive action.
The key to this DOT approach is to make sure that your one daily action is something that is easy to accomplish. For example, if your goal is to write a book, don’t tell yourself that you are going to sit down and write a chapter every single day. I’m a writer and as much as I love to write, I can tell you that trying to write a chapter a day is WAY TOO MUCH. Trying to do too much will leave us feeling intimidated and overwhelmed (which will lead us to do nothing thus proving that an object–person–at rest tends to stay at rest) Instead, try writing just one page a day. It might not sound like much (because it isn’t much), but just think–if you stick to this page a day writing habit, you will end up with 365 pages in a year. The year is going to pass regardless of whether or not you write your one page a day, but if you do stick to this one thing, you’ll have a completed manuscript or two in a year’s time.
As I apply this DOT strategy in my own life, I can see the validity of Newton’s first law because even if my goal is simply to write one page, I often find that in writing that one page, I get on a roll, gain some momentum and find myself writing three or four pages. I set myself in motion and then once I’m in motion, I tend to stay in motion. I become Newton’s Law personified. The same is true regardless of what kind of goal I set–writing a book, organizing a closet, completing a 5K run…if I commit to doing one simple, daily action towards the goal, I make steady progress and that steady progress gives me the momentum that I need to sustain and even increase the progress. Even on the days when I am only able to take that one single step, I am encouraged because I know that I am one step closer to my end result and as the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu stated “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
So…f you have a goal in front of you that feels big and overwhelming, don’t panic. Instead, try implementing this simple DOT strategy and let Newton’s First Law of Motion work in your favor. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your goals begin to manifest simply because you were willing to DO ONE THING.