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By Sara Wood, ND, Mar 7 2017 05:40AM

Inertia (n) - The property of matter by which it continues in one state until changed by an outside force. The tendency to do nothing, or to remain unchanged.

Inertia is powerful: It’s what keeps our buts glued to the couch everynight, what continues to stock the pantry with chocolate bars and wine and what prevents us from getting out of bed a few minutes earlier in the morning to exercise. The good news is that inertia can work in our favor too. Believe it or not, once healthy habits are established and become part of a normal routine, there is a momentum gained and it become easier and easier to maintain the lifestyle you desire!

The struggle that most people have is finding the inspiration to initiate change. For some this is a milestone birthday, a number on the scale that they never thought they’d reach or a diagnosis they receive from their physician. When talking to patients who have successfully made substantial shifts in their lives, I have always been interested in hearing what that “final straw” was. As you might expect the answers are as varied as the individuals themselves.

Some important things to keep in mind when altering your lifestyle:

Small victories. Start with small steps and celebrate them. When you feel successful, you’ll be more likely to continue your new healthy ways. Too often people bite off more than they can chew and make big changes that aren’t sustainable. When they are unable to continue, they feel as though they’ve failed and revert back to old, familiar habits.

Create a community. Whether you recruit support from your friends and family members or a group of strangers online, having a support network of people who hold you accountable and are there to encourage you when you're struggling and to cheer you when you’re successful is key.

Shake it off. When you fall down, get up again. Treat everyday like a new day and don’t look back at a minor transgression in the past and let it drag you down.

You don’t need a fancy gym membership or personal chef to start making shifts in your health. Here are a few small things you can start with to get that momentum going!