In this post you’ll find a few momentum creating strategies that have stood the test of time.
The old saying goes that you’re either getting better over time, or worse over time. There is no middle ground. This is as you probably know true even when you seem to be going nowhere doing nothing. So, the way to go by living life is by looking for ways to forward, no matter how little the progress, and with this idea in mind, the next logical question is: how do we ensure we keep our forward momentum? Why do we fail to make progress, even when we make effort?
Time tested strategies for momentum in life
The idea of momentum is one of these underrated and very powerful ideas in self-development. The thing about it is that its more than just one thing, meaning just doing the things that will allow you to make progress in your goals, but also making sure you really are in the right direction, and guarding against anything that might kill it.
1. Stop doing the things that slow you down
For everything in life each interaction is either moving us forward towards a certain direction or slowing us down. The thing about the things that slow us down is that often, it is the case that we’re not aware that they’re there. Think about health for example. It’s easy to assume something is wrong with the way our bodies use the sugar from foods, than to know for a fact whether the foods we think don’t negatively impact our blood glucose levels actually do or not. Sometimes the things we put on our mouths with the purposes of improving health are in fact not as good as we think, and even with all the effort, it’s no wonder that sometimes the weight loss plan doesn’t go exactly as we thought it would.
Sometimes the ones responsible for our slow momentum are other people. Just like with food, these people tend to sneak up upon us, with friendly vibes, which makes it all the more difficult to connect the dots in the way that makes us conclude that they are the problem. This is a classic example of toxic relationships, where you think you naturally have low self-esteem, and that the self-doubt and self-judgement originate from you and you alone, when the truth is that they are the ones that make you feel insecure and self-conscious. This happens more than you think, and as far as you know you might be one of the victims and you don’t even know about it. It’s what happens when you decide to start a business, and after a while you feel discouraged, even though, when the idea came to mind, it felt as some sort of revelation to you. In one second you were sure of it, and after talking about with other people you lost the enthusiasm.
So, the idea here is before looking for ways to move forward, to instead find the things that might be slowing you down. In health this would mean looking for the kinds of foods that are moving you to the wrong side of the health fence, and for relationships, finding the people who after a meeting make you feel less cheerful than you were before you met them.
2. Find the one thing and ensure you keep doing even in your worst days
This idea comes directly from the book the one thing, where instead of focusing on getting a to- do list complete, you focus on one task that if done it will bring you the greatest level of progress towards your goal. Here the difference is only that instead of picking a different task each day, you pick the one task that has to be done everyday such that if done …. The difference is subtle but powerful. In the first your job is to each day look for the one thing, while in the second, you take a deeper look at the fabric of your goals, and figuring out which activity/action or set of activities/actions when taken consistently should bring you the closest to your big picture goal in the long run. The reason why this is perhaps one of the most powerful things you can do for your goals is two fold: 1) sometimes we don’t have the energy and mental clarity to pinpoint the one thing, so having it pre-set will take that out of the way, and 2) that eventually the same crucial activity becomes a habit, which removes the thinking, and will power component away from it. Now the crucial action becomes embedded in your day to day, in the same way taking a shower and brushing your teeth is. You don’t have to think about it, and just in case your forget it, your body will remind you with a cascade of feelings ranging from mild discomfort, to outright guilt, both of which can only be fixed by doing what you have to do.
The idea here is to build systems that remove any thinking or need for willpower. The reason for this is again that sometimes we have bad days, and it’s more than important but vital for our goals to ensure that we can go through them when they come without slowing down, or even reversing our forward momentum.
3.Start by making sure you really want to go where you’re going.
This should probably be the first tip, but the first is there for a reason. If we were allowed to label all of the above #1 we would. Sometimes we are able to start and sustain forward momentum in whatever project or direction of our choosing, but we eventually get to a wall. The reason why this happens might be that there is some misalignment between the direction and your core goals. So, with the risk of sounding obvious, it’s important to make sure you really want/have to go where you’re going.
Lots of people out there just start their journeys without taking some time to think whether the journey is worth it or not. If you take this approach to life, chances are than more than once you found yourself midway, only to find that you took the wrong path. The solution for this problem is simple: think before you act, simply because this is not just a matter of making an inconsequential decision, but because if the decision is wrong, your momentum will be pulled away from your true north, and as we all know, life is short and this, although not apparent is a heavy price to pay. As simple as it is to think about it, it’s only by looking deeper into the consequences of starting even one degree off the right path that we can see of damaging that can be.
So, take some time deciding, and then take the necessary steps to create, and then sustain the forward momentum towards your big picture goal.
4.Guard against momentum killers
The last idea from this post is to pay attention to and guard against anything that can kill your momentum. After you’re sure you really want to take the direction you’re taking, and applying the ideas of tips 1 and 2, all you have to do is to protect your momentum with everything you’ve got. A great example of a momentum killer most of us have is the people we spend the most time around. If you’re addicted to drugs, or overweight, chances are that you spend a lot of time with other drug addicts, or other overweight people, and the thing about it is that just like anything in life, different people go through different stages of life in different times. You might be ready to grow and improve your life, but that might or might not be the case for the people around you, and when the latter is the truth, they might willingly or unwillingly be detrimental to your momentum, by eating unhealthy diets when you’re around, and at worst even trying to openly convince you to break your diet.
So, the point is to pay attention to potential momentum killers, be that the people you spend most of your time around, or even the negative and self-sabotaging voices in your head, and the first and most important step is to be aware of their potential effects, so that way you won’t be at risk of being caught off guard and by the time you are aware your momentum is already lost. So, find momentum killers before they kill your momentum, and look for ways to minimize, or preferably nullify their effects. Taking the friends example again, you could nullify their effect by making new friendships with people who want the same things as you, preferably people who already have some momentum, so they in a way also pull you forward.
It is all about knowledge and experience 😉
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