Have you seen the movie 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore? The whole story revolves around trying to make a girl with short-term memory problems fall in love with a guy every single day. It is about building momentum in the relationship so that she’d remember him the next day. How about you? Want to build momentum?
Perhaps you aren’t so different from the movie’s Lucy when it comes to doing something creative. The minute you lose momentum, you become open to distraction.
Your inner critic wakes up with a bang. You start second-guessing yourself. You start doubting the possibility you’ll be successful.
Other things vie for your focus and attention. You start to generate new ideas and they seem even more worthy of execution; tempting you to move onto the next big thing. You never, ever finishing the first thing.
[tweetthis]The minute that you lose momentum, you lose. [/tweetthis]
It’s just like Newton’s First Law of Motion.
You know, it goes like this: The tendency of a body in motion is to keep moving; the tendency of a body at rest is to sit still.
To paraphrase, it takes a lot less work to keep moving once you have movement than it is to start from a dead stop.
If you can keep moving every day, it’s infinitely easier to stay focused, make great strides, and blast through roadblocks than if you stop and try to start up again.
Here are a few tips on how to build and maintain momentum:
Momentum takes time to build
One very common mistake is to set high goals from a resting place. Do you have images of fame and success dancing in your head? Chances are you’ll set the bar too high. Then, you’ll fail to make the grade and quit from discouragement.
Think of it as if are training for a marathon. You start by running a couple of miles at first and building from there.
So, if you want to write a novel, you might start by trying your hand on a short story.
It’s important to set small, realistic goals within the gigantic undertaking.
Challenge yourself, but make it achievable from where you are. Experiencing incremental success will help you build momentum and confidence.
Have consistent blocks of time
[tweetthis]Work on your project on an ongoing basis. [/tweetthis]
If you’re juggling something big with other commitments, find time to devote regularly to your project. Yes, it can be extremely challenging. There is nothing more important, though.
Consistent execution is vital:
- It keeps your head clear and focused
- It rewards you with a constant feeling of progress
- It keeps the ball moving forward.
Don’t wait for free time to magically show up. You have to carve out a block of time in your schedule for this.
Make it public.
Doing so will make you honor the commitment, the same way you would a meeting with someone else.
Think of it as a meeting with your success.
Work on your project every day.
No, seriously, every day.
When it comes to maintaining momentum, the frequency of execution is perhaps more important than its duration. Even if you’re working for just an hour a day, that’s enough to keep your objectives at the top of your mind.
When you sit down to work on it again, you’ll slip back into the flow quickly.
It may be that something may knock you off course. After all, s#$t happens. You may not be able to work on your project on a given day.
But if you’re striving to move ahead every day, you’ll stay on track.
Don’t be afraid.
Ever been downhill skiing? If you have, you’ll know how scary momentum can be.
You want it, but you’re scared it will take you too far, too fast. What if you start going too fast? What if you get out of control?
Seth Godin says:
“Many of us fear too much momentum. You look at a project launch or a job or another new commitment as something that might get out of control. It’s one thing to be a folk singer playing to a hundred people a night in a coffeehouse, but what if the momentum builds and you become a star? A rock star? ….. Deep down, this potential for an overwhelming response alerts the lizard brain and we hold back.”
Don’t hold back. When it comes to executing the plan, the key is to get moving and keep moving.
Do you have any stories to share about how you’ve built momentum and kept at it? Won’t you share with me below? I am always looking for other techniques that work for others.