I recently came to the realization, that momentum (in life) is a huge thing. It is the determining factor in a lot of what we do. How so? As you read this, I am sure that there are many things that you want to do in life. Big or small, we have ideas or goals that we’d like to see come to fruition or completed. But why don’t we make them happen? Insecurity or fear is a big part of that. Fear of failing…fear of succeeding. Insecure in wondering if our idea is good enough or if it makes sense. This is not new and many people subscribe to this as the reason why we end up doing nothing.
But what about those of us who do try? What about those of us who take a swing at making our idea a reality? The truth is, it is a great first step. But many of us begin a project, and then fail to complete it. Why? It’s a lack of momentum. When you take a ball and roll it down a hill, it will eventually stop rolling once it has reached a flat plain. If your goal is on that plain, then you have succeeded. However, for most of us, the goal is many plains away, but there are no more hills to push it down.
Let me make this more practical. Many people set a goal for losing weight, or getting in shape. We kickoff this endeavor with a lot of momentum. We have ideas on how much we want to lose, and come up with a diet or workout regimen that should assist us in reaching our goals. However, after a week or two, the momentum is lost. The motivation you had to start the plan, is now gone since you have actually started. What do you do to maintain that? A lot of us do nothing, and then end up getting bored with our plan. There is no next step. There is no additional hill to push the ball down to keep up the momentum. My guess is, if you were to set another goal…more weights, or a stricter (or different) diet, you would continue to push toward your final goal. It’s a challenge that keeps you motivated.
What about those of you trying to quit smoking. Quitting cold turkey doesn’t usually work because the initial motivation is not met with another motivating factor. Yeah, I stopped, you might say, but what next. That’s why most doctors would recommend you try using the patch, or gum. It’s a regimen that gives you different goals along the way, so your momentum is maintained.
I face the same issue when it comes to blogging. I wanted to start a blog, and felt that I would easily be able to express myself, continuously, in writing. However, once the initial excitement of creating a blog wore off, the momentum was lost. I still want(ed) to keep it up, but I had already exhausted my stash of motivation when creating the blog. However, successful bloggers find motivation, and build a following. Some blogs even set goals for you. If you have posted 5, it will say now let’s do 10, and so on. It’s that motivation that keeps the momentum going.
After awhile, the manufactured momentum takes on a life of its own, and the progress becomes natural. Take those who have made huge lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, or otherwise), and continue to do it as a normal part of their life. They didn’t just decide to do that in one day. Take someone like Steve Jobs. His momentum was probably created by the challenges he faced in getting his products created, to market, and selling like hot cakes.
So, if you’ve set out on a path for something, I commend you. Getting started is tough. Imagine jumping out of a plane, bungee jumping, or zip lining. Propelling yourself from a seemingly stable platform into an unknown freefall has to be difficult. However, remind yourself that after the initial exhilaration is gone, you need to build on it. If you feel yourself become disinterested before your goal is met, it’s because you lack the proper momentum. One way to combat that is to set interim goals. One hefty goal is great, but the little successes in between will feed that momentum. By doing so, you will eventually meet your goal. Don’t think of it as an uphill battle. Relate it to pushing a ball down a series of hills. Every time you reach a flat plain, give the ball a little push…challenge yourself just a little more…and get the ball rolling again. Then ride that momentum until you reach your final destination.