Skip to Main Content

Inertia to Momentum in ADHD

March 29, 2024

The inertia experienced by people with ADHD should not be interpreted as a lack of motivation. 

In the frontal lobe of the brain, the motivation network is different from the initiation network. It is the initiation network that is inefficient in the brains of people with ADHD.

It's that feeling of really wanting to do something, but finding yourself unable to do it. Or planning for something and watching yourself not follow through.

That's because there are two separate parts of your brain that are not working together.

Good news is you can train them to work together.  This can happen through several different external mechanisms:


  • increased dopamine allows that initiation network to receive messages from the motivation network 
  • then activate the behavior to follow up


  • working with a coach to develop a plan in which you can successfully follow through on tiny things "microtasks"
  • the idea here is to develop the habit by succeeding at it a lot
    • success is dopaminergic
    • the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior

Mindfulness practices

  • neutral self awareness, noticing what’s going on for you without judgment
  • active observation: put some words to it. Just describe what you see.
  • connect with your body: breath, movement, sensation
  • let yourself be in that moment even if briefly.
  • (it’s not about discipline; it’s about the connection between your mind and your body)

Just like in physics, the antidote to inertia is a small amount of movement. If you find yourself stuck, don’t let yourself believe the story of “I’m not motivated enough.” Tap into that motivation, get in touch with you deep desires, connect with your own positive motions. What do you want? What do you love? Then take small steps in the direction of that feeling. And watch as you start to move. Any amount of movement will get that ball rolling. You’re on your own side. And so are we! Dream big, you got this!