Tired of feeling like you’re always starting over?
Does the road to meeting your goals seem just too long?
If you’re not feeling any momentum toward your goals, chances are you’re waiting for some motivation. The thing is, if you depend on one or the other, you may be waiting a long time.
There is a subtle, yet important difference between motivation and momentum.
- the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something
the strength or force that something has when it is moving
the strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes
Notice how motivation is a reason, and momentum is action?
To succeed with your goals, with the best results in the shortest possible time, you need one and then the other, with a mindset that says you are capable of making it happen.
Just as Newton’s law of inertia tells us “an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon”, we may have the best reasons for wanting to achieving a goal, but if we never take any action, we will be “stuck”. Moving forward becomes difficult at that point, if not impossible.
Have you ever given up on a new diet or tried to learn a hobby and quit after a few short weeks? Chances are you had plenty of motivation (at first), but then never developed the momentum you needed to reach success so you just gave up.
Even with some BIG reasons for taking steps to achieve a goal, we can’t expect motivation alone to carry us all the way through to the finish line – especially when there are roadblocks along the way. Unless we get up and take the action, we know we will be “at rest”, quite possibly for a very long time.
When the motivation fades…
In his book The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy uses the analogy of a merry-go-round when he talks about momentum. If you remember playing on the merry-go-round as a kid, you know that when you and your friends all piled on, it was hard to push off and get it going. But, you were motivated because, well, it was super fun!
Because your motivation was so strong, you either got someone to help you push off, or you worked hard running along side and once it really got moving you jumped on. After that, momentum kept you going, and you no longer had to do anything but throw your hands up in the air and enjoy the ride!
Friction and consistency
After a while, friction starts to slow down the merry-go-round. That’s when you and your friends begin pushing off again to get it back up to speed. This time, though, the work it takes to do all the pushing isn’t half as bad as it was the beginning! Why? Because you had already gained momentum and you are still moving!
As long as momentum was on your side, you still had to put in some work, but just not nearly as much to get the same result.
In your own life you may have times when your success seems to lose steam and you feel the friction that is trying to slow down your goals. What’s the best way to prevent that and keep your inertia in motion? Consistency.
Remaining consistent with the steps you have set up for yourself to reach your goal will ensure you continue to move. Lose that consistency, lose your momentum.
A classic case of this is the yo-yo dieter who does very well during the first 2 weeks and then begins skipping a workout here and there, having one too many “cheat meals”, and then just loses the momentum, loses the original motivation, and unfortunately progress just stops.
To keep your momentum, you must continue to strive for your target, and keep taking the action steps needed to get there.
What’s your merry-go-round?
Adopting any change in your life in order to reach a goal is sometimes the equivalent of pushing off and trying to get that merry-go-round going again from a dead standstill. It’s HARD! In your life, your goals are like that merry-go-round and your challenges are the friction trying to slow it down, but you have control over both.
Whether in fitness, budgeting, parenting, your work, or your marriage, we all know that getting traction at the beginning is the hard part! You have to push and run and push some more, and sometimes fall down and get dirty. You might even have to get help from someone willing push you on your way.
When friction comes to derail your progress, if you still have momentum, getting everything moving again is a bit easier. But if you let your momentum stall and bring you to a complete stop, you will be back at square one and have to start all over again!
The right mindset is everything
MINDSET shapes MOTIVATION so we can take the ACTION that builds MOMENTUM.
It’s possible to use your motivation to kickstart huge surges of momentum in your life, but it takes the right mindset. Here are a few simple strategies to keep your mindset focused on your progress, so that you’ll not only discover your momentum, you’ll keep it!
- Have clearly defined, written goals. Don’t let your goal just swim around in your head. You need a target to aim at if you want to be successful. Write them down and look at them often.
- Notice small victories and build on them. These are the little things you accomplish along on a daily basis. Baby steps pave the way to big successes later, so be proud of them.
- Reconnect regularly with your WHY goal. A WHY goal gets to the heart of your reason for wanting to make a change in the first place. It can only be identified by going deep (sometimes multiple layers deep), but it can be a very powerful motivator, especially when obstacles come along.
- Find a support system. Find a co-worker, spouse, a friend, or a coach, who can be a help in getting your merry-go-round started – and help get you back on if you should fall off.
- Be patient give and yourself grace. Bad habits don’t form overnight, so don’t expect a quick fix to change them overnight either. When obstacles get in your way and slow down your merry-go-round, relax knowing that you have what it takes to get it going again.
You are more than capable of reaching your goals, especially if you can find ways to use your motivation to fuel the momentum you need to keep moving ahead. If your target is clear, you build small successes for yourself, and you’re supported by people in your life who will help, you will be unstoppable!