If you’ve ever run out of gas you probably know that it’s very difficult to get started but pretty easy to keep moving. And I don’t just mean that as an analogy y’all. Somehow in my late teens and early 20’s I found a way to run out of gas on a shockingly regular basis. I’d be driving along and then all of a sudden, my car would just stop, right there… in the middle of traffic. Well, you can’t leave it there, so you have no choice in this situation but to get out and push it off to the side of the road. The thing about pushing your car is that it’s REALLY difficult to get it moving but once it’s started it’s difficult to stop, especially if you happen to be pushing downhill. That phenomenon is called momentum.
In all those moments of pushing my car it occurred to me that the same thing is true in life. Once you get going, you can create momentum and that makes it easier to keep going, to stick to that new habit, to achieve those goals. But… how do you create momentum and keep it going. Can you create that downhill effect where it’s nearly impossible to stop? After years of trial and error, I discovered that YES… you can create and maintain life altering momentum that feels effortless. You can achieve that super impactful downhill momentum in life too! Here’s how!
Set Yourself up for Success
It’s a lot easier to push a bicycle or a stroller than a semi! And even though we know that, in life we often take on the semi of goals and then get frustrated when we can’t get them going or keep them going. Seriously… the reason you aren’t getting there is because you’re starting too big. Find the bicycle or stroller of goals and start there. What do I mean by that? Start small! Setting yourself up for success before you even get started is the easiest way to create momentum.
All steps count no matter how small. The truth about accomplishing your goals is that consistency is the most important factor. You will never get where you’re going with big unsustainable leaps. You’ll get there by staying in motion, creating lifelong habits, and building upon them. Creating and maintain momentum is the easiest way to accomplish this and starting small is the easiest way to create and maintain momentum.
If you want to make it super easy to add something new to your life and create and maintain momentum sneak it in with something that you already do consistently. Stacking your new habit with something that comes automatically allows you to capitalize on that momentum you already have. What exactly does that mean? Well… this is the equivalent of pushing your car with another car that’s already moving. The momentum you have already established in one area of your life will pour over into the new area if they are connected to each other.
Plant your new habit into the middle of an already existing and firm routine. You know, like your morning or bedtime routine! Leave a reminder to insert your new activity where you already practice the existing one. For example, if you want to start exercising, add it to your morning routine and put a post it not on your bathroom mirror that reminds you to do it. You may even create a reminder in your bedtime routine to lay out workout clothes for the morning.
In the same way that stacking helps create momentum so does batching. It’s surprisingly time consuming and difficult to switch gears throughout the day. That’s why an effective way to create momentum is to batch your new habit with similar things you do throughout the day. This works very similarly to stacking in that you are capitalizing on the momentum you’ve already created.
For example, if you’re a blogger like me and you want to write a book (also like me) you could batch your book writing time with your blog writing time. You already have momentum because you are sitting at your computer writing, why not let that spill over into momentum to work on your book as well. Trust me it’ll be a lot easier to go from writing your blog to writing your book than cooking dinner to writing your book. Unless of course your book is a cookbook… then batching it with cooking makes a world of sense!
Celebrate Your Progress!
I’ve saved the best for last! This is the big dog, the most effective way to create momentum BY FAR!!! Celebrate your progress!
You see, when you feel good about what you’re doing it’s much easier to keep doing it. It becomes like that car rolling downhill. You’re all excited, you’re proud of yourself, you feel confident and guess what you have so much momentum it’s hard to stop!
Often the biggest barriers to creating and maintaining momentum is that we don’t feel like we’re getting anywhere. This is particularly true if our goal was set to high to begin with. When we start to feel discouraged it’s easy to lose steam. I mean what’s the point.
Celebrating your progress relies upon being mindful of it and intentional about it. And that’s where an accomplishment journal comes in! Writing your accomplishments at the end of every day is exciting and instills a sense of pride. Maybe you aren’t exactly where you want to be yet but WOW… look how far you’ve come! Making this habit a part of your daily life is the key to creating and maintaining momentum!
We often hear it’s hard to get started but in truth, if you really think about it, it isn’t getting started but confidently knowing where to start and sticking with it that are the hard parts. I get it because I struggled with this for years and all that happened is I felt like a failure and a quitter. Once I figured out how to overcome these challenges and build the life I want, I knew I had to share. That’s why I created The Small Step Method and the YAW365 coaching programs to help you accomplish your goals inside your real life.
Creating and maintaining momentum is not only the easiest and most sustainable way to accomplish your goals it’s also one of the easiest and most sustainable things to do. Start today!
Tell me your big goal in the comments below and which momentum strategy you’re planning to use to get there!