Post 3 of 21 Daily Blog Challenge: Momentum

October 9, 2013

Momentum.

Yesterday we talked about overcoming Inertia. Today It’s about keeping the momentum going.

Yes objects in motion tend to stay in motion, but they also need a little help to keep it going.

What happens when the excited energy that kick started a new project wanes? How do you avoid Resolutioner-syndrome (ya know – all those people who resolve to be fit and go to the gym in January and who fizzle out in February)?

You can force it a bit through sheer willpower, but that isn’t enough. Willpower gets used up through out the day; it is a finite resource – meaning some days, you just CAN’T dig deeper or force it to happen.

So what then? We outsmart ourselves in the following ways:

1. Build a better habit.
We are delightful creatures of habit. One of the best ways to keep a new plan in motion, is to find ways to tie it to something we already do. My houseplants used to suffer a cruel fate of drought-flood-drought cycle. I could never seem to remember to water them regularly. That changed when I looked at my week and chose to test out watering plants on the same evening I take out the trash (since these are both weekly tasks). Progress check: success.

2. Plan for our own pitfalls. 
I’m most successful at going to the gym if I come home, feed the dogs, change my clothes and go straight to the gym. I’ve learned that if I sit down, even for a few minutes, I’m toast.

3. Enlist an accountability partner.
We can rationalize out the wazoo to ourselves on why we didn’t do X or Y this week. And we might even be able to do it once with our accountability partner – but that’s not going to fly next time. An accountability partner is a great cheerleader when you need it as well as a great ass-kicker.

4. Track our progress.
Without tracking, it’s all just guesses and usually pretty bad ones at that. You have to track something meaningful to the goal at hand. If the goal is to pack your lunch instead of eating out 4 days a week, then you simply add it up at the end of each week. You are either on track (yay – you get a gold star) or off track – and that let’s you evaluate how to adjust to get on track for next week. Also it can be super gratifying to see a string of successful weeks and that visual reminder is an effective reinforcement tool. So bust out a sheet of paper and some gold stars like in gradeschool and chart your success!

5. Exist in the Moment.
You got not future, you got no past. There isn’t anything else except what is it front of you. As my husband says, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” You don’t think about the whole elephant or how much you ate yesterday, you just do what is in front of you today. If you are operating from a strategic standpoint, you put the stuff that’s important (but not urgent) in front of you – the stuff that pays off in the long term.

memo-beinthemoment

So whatever your goal or project, once you overcome Inertia, keep the momentum going. I believe in you.

-Mikita

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