The 3rd law? Newton’s 3rd Law of motion! “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” I realized how Newton’s 3rd law applies to the goal setting process recently while setting my BHAG for the year, to read 50 books. If we want to add a new behavior and make change in our life, there must also be a subtraction of the behavior(s) standing in our way. One cannot happen without the other.
“Newton’s Third Law” is important because this unawareness of ‘equal and opposite reactions’ causes goals to fail. We get so excited about our big goal for the year that we don’t recognize the full impact that the process of achieving this goal will have on our life. Typically when we do recognize the impact, it becomes an uncomfortable decision in the moment between the old habit(s) and the new one we are pursuing. We have to plan for that decision upfront, so are ready for that moment of ‘opposite reaction’.
The Third Law! We want to lose weight; we quit eating fast food and start cooking our meals. We want to run a marathon; we cut back on our time playing basketball or weight training and begin a running regime. We want to read 50 books; so I no longer have cable, deleted fun time-wasting apps on my phone, and I have a book with me wherever I go. When I am in the car, I’ve even swapped the radio out for audiobooks (this counts as reading too!). For me and all of us, it boils down to how bad do you want to achieve your goal?
There will be some kick-back and setbacks along the way toward any goal, this is also part of the 3rd law. Equal and opposite reaction. Realizing the 3rd law will help you find other ways in which your goal may have a larger than anticipated positive impact on your life.
Will Drumright, M.S. is an associate of DRB & associates. He works with athletes, coaches, and teams helping build and enhance their mental toughness. He can be reached at email@example.com or follow on @