Leveraging Momentum to Achieve Your Goals

Ever notice how sometimes when your day starts off right everything else just seems to fall into place? As I’ve continuously searched for ways to improve my productivity and success I’ve become increasingly aware of the importance of momentum.

This phenomenon has manifested in macro and micro situations. For example, on a macro level, if I start off the morning meditating, doing my bed, and all the things that make me feel productive, by the time I get to work I feel like I can hit the ground running because I’ve already had so many wins. Also, if I’m trying to eat healthy and have been able to sustain it for a day or two, the next day suddenly becomes much easier and I have more motivation to keep it going. For micro situations, I may be procrastinating working on a project but once I identity that first little step and get that done, suddenly I’ll feel myself making significant progress on it and completing subsequent steps faster. I’m sure you have all experienced these types of situations.

There is always an inertia to overcome to start making progress on anything, you need to break through that inertia and gain initial momentum that drives you forward to completion.

Unfortunately, this concept also applies to undesirable situations. If you have been eating unhealthy food for a while there is a strong momentum that keeps you on that path and you need to mindfully and actively reverse it. If you’ve been on a solid streak of meditating but miss a day, the momentum is reduced and you suddenly may find yourself at risk of falling off altogether.

Understanding this concept, here are some more practical tips to acquire and maintain as much of it as possible:

  • Break projects and tasks down into very clear steps. This makes it much less overwhelming to get started. Ensure that the first step is trivial. E.g.:
    • When I needed to learn how to change a bike tire tube, here were my steps:
      • Shortlist three youtube videos that explain how to do it
      • Watch each of them
      • List the tools and materials I’ll need
      • Purchase the tools and materials
      • Change the tire
    • If I kept just looking at it as an ambiguous and challenging task of “change my bike tire tube” I probably would never have started on it, however to shortlist three youtube videos that explain how to do it? That’s easy. Once I get the momentum from doing that, the rest gets easier.
  • Actively plan and develop habits that initiate momentum. This takes a lot of initial effort, but actively developing habits that will contribute to momentum are extremely powerful in the long-run. For example, having a morning routine that makes you feel like a winner by the time you get to the office will snowball for the rest of the day.
  • Be compassionate when momentum is broken. We are human and no one is perfect. You will definitely break momentum constantly… cause life. The important part is to be compassionate and understanding of why you broke it and how it may have been important for your overall well-being. This will also help stop you from falling into a death spiral just cause of this one hiccup. If you missed a day of meditating maybe it was more important for you to get extra sleep that night, instead of giving up on meditating altogether now, just try to consciously hop back on the next day.

I encourage everyone to examine what they’re looking to achieve and analyze ways of how they can increase momentum in that area of their life. Every action you take affects your subsequent actions, make every one count.

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