activation energy

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a morning person or not, we all need an extra boost of energy when we wake up to throw away our comforter and sheets and get our feet on the ground. Once we wake up, after a while we feel better and happily spend rest of our morning and the day well, but it’s the initial obstacle that’s the most challenging one to jump over and where most of us fail. Once the hurdle is crossed, we’re good. The extra boost of energy that we need to overcome this hurdle can be referred to as ‘activation energy’, as pointed out by Mel Robbins in her book The 5 Second Rule.

In simpler words, scientists define activation energy as the initial amount of energy to start a reaction; it has been shown that this energy is significantly higher than the amount of energy required to keep it going.

It takes effort to change our autopilot patterns. This relates well with Newton’s First Law of Motion, also called the Law of Inertia: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. The way to break inertia is to set things in motion. It’s analogous to the launch of a rocket ship. The space shuttle consumes tons of fuel during the initial minutes of its flight than it does for the remaining trip; the simple reason being that it has to break free from the pull of gravity. Once it is successful to do so, it can easily glide in the orbit.

Whether it be waking up early in the morning, getting your butt to the gym or starting to work on your passion project, we all need this ‘activation energy’ to overcome resistance and start making progress. Beginning something is not easy and it requires tons of effort from our side. But once we get started and as we build momentum, things get easier with time.

No matter what change we would like to bring in our life, we will never feel like it. And the more we snooze, the more we’ll lose. In those times, we simply need to follow the Nike slogan: Just do it. We just need to push through and do what we need to do even if we don’t like it. This is the only way to building constructive habits and routines and start living our greatness.