If you’ve ever tried to change your habits and change your life, you know how incredibly hard it is to start from ground zero.
Not only is it incredibly hard, but even if you do manage to do it, you will probably revert back to your old ways (sorry to say).
So what’s the solution? We just sit and dwell in mediocrity for the rest of our days?
What if I told you that there’s a simple tactic that’s self-reinforcing and will help you enact behavioral change?
That tactic is creating momentum and I’ll show you hold to build it and how to keep it going.
An object at rest remains at rest, or if in motion, remains in motion at a constant velocity unless acted on by a net external force. – Newton’s First Law (Law of Inertia)
Since we live in a physical universe, most of the things in our world are governed by laws that produce anticipated effects.
Drop a ball, you expect it to go down, not up.
Newton’s First Law, the law of inertia states that if something is in motion, it will stay in motion unless something external from its path of movement stops it.
How does this relate to goal setting and goal achievement?
Like pushing a sled down a snowy hill, creating momentum makes goal achievement and behavioral change easy.
Many times, when you’ve build and create momentum, you don’t even need to DO anything to keep seeing success. This is just like compound interest or The Slight Edge. Both of these heavily relate to one another.
If you put money in a savings account and it starts to generate compound interest, you create momentum. Those gains from the compound interest will produce gains of their own and so on.
Your habits are a form of momentum. Habits create a groove for your life to run on every day.
If you commute to work, how was your drive in? Was the scenery nice? How about the roads? Did they have potholes in them?
Try and remember your commute. You probably don’t even remember your commute. Why?
Your brain has effectively stored your commute into the hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with long term memory.
You are effectively on autopilot. This is an effective autopilot because if you had to remember your route every time you drove into work, you wouldn’t be efficient.
The brain naturally thrives on efficiency.
However, there’s certain things which work against this efficiency and building momentum.
What stops momentum from occurring?
There are many things that stop positive momentum from occurring naturally, but the main culprit is resistance.
Resistance is an enemy to us all. Here are some of its most common forms:
These are all weapons that Resistance uses to stop us from utilizing momentum and becoming our best selves.
Because let’s be honest:
Gathering up momentum is damn hard.
It is so hard that most of us will quit long before we can generate any considerable steam towards a project.
Because we don’t want to feel the despair, the negativity, the stress, the strain…we just want to chill. We want to hit an “easy button” and have all of our problems solved lickity-split.
The Path of Least Resistance and Modern Living
As mentioned earlier, Resistance uses many weapons against us – mainly laziness and procrastination.
These two are amplified by our modern day environment. There are multiple things unique to modern day that feed on our human tendency for taking the easy way out and stop us from generating momentum.
Some of these are:
- High Calorie Food
- Social Media and Internet
- Useless Trinkets
Basically things that are low value and don’t serve you and are detrimental to you in the long run stop you from creating momentum.
It’s like an kid in a candy store. Our modern day world is an all out feast for the senses.
If you get lured into the various pleasures that exist in modern life, you’ll find it harder to generate energy and create momentum towards working on your actual goals whether they be in your personal or business life.
You are actively encouraged to partake in these things and if you don’t, you will be seen as an oddity.
“Why are you doing that?”
“You don’t need to do that man, just relax”
Even though it may be something good, other people will discourage you.
Since we humans are social animals, we fear social ostracism. We would go against our ourselves and our own desires than be seen as an outcast.
Peer pressure isn’t just for kids. Peer pressure exists in subtle forms in adulthood, too.
From personal experience, I was seen as a weirdo at the company I used to work at when I would bring in a lunch full of veggies and lean proteins.
Most of the people at work would pig out on all sorts of junk and criticize me for being too “health conscious”.
When healthy eating is seen as a “loserish” thing to do, you know you’re at/in the wrong company.
Luckily, there are many things you can do to help create momentum in your daily life. Here’s a few of them.
1. Just Start
Human beings are designed for focus and a flow state
When you’re in a flow state, time flows effortlessly. Flow is when you’re working on a task that’s not too hard and not too easy.
Starting and staying on a task for at least 10 minutes will allow you to get into a flow state.
2. Commit to Deep Work
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.
Deep work is a term created by computer science teacher Cal Newport to describe a state of productivity essential for producing both quality and quantity.
When you get into a deep work mode, your brain falls into a semi-flow state that allows you to focus in on mastering and producing incredible skills.
Deep work is possibly the only way to get into a frame of mind that allows for you to get better at any sort of skill.
I myself can attest to the benefits of deep work. It’s by far the only way I get things done due to the myriad of distractions that I’m surrounded with. Without it, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.
If you’re interested in this concept more, pick up the book – Deep Work.
3. Consolidate Your Gains
The key to capitalizing on momentum is to do what I call “consolidating your gains”. Here’s a simple example:
You’re attempting to lose weight. You’ve lost 10 pounds in a 2 month period. One day, something “triggers” you and you start binge eating.
After a week of this, you’ve gained the weight back and more.
When you’re on a diet, you need to maintain the weight loss. You can’t just simply go and pig out when you hit your goal.
Here’s another example: money. When you get paid, what do you do? Blow it all on something that won’t offer you any sort of return? Or reinvest some of it back into a high yield account that will create more money?
The same goes here. If you’re trying to get rid of a bad habit, you don’t go back to it after a certain number of days.
You change your self-image and make whatever momentum you gain a permanent piece of your personality, not a temporary thing.
Yeah, that’s something I USED to fuck with, but that’s done now.
4. Be PATIENT
If there’s one thing that absolutely KILLS momentum, it’s impatience.
What if I told you that you can be a master at anything…but you have to commit one hour a day to it for a minimum of 10 years. Would you believe me?
Maybe. But the better question is: can you execute on it?
Most people can’t. Most people will get distracted, forget, or just won’t do it.
Time will pass. The only question becomes, where will you be after that time passes?
Do you have the patience and perseverance to do this thing daily until it literally becomes a part of your neural hardware?
This leads to our next fact.
5. Push Through the Pain
Creating momentum is gonna hurt. It is going. to. hurt.
But that’s the pain that separates average from extraordinary and those who get momentum vs. those who don’t.
Let’s be real here: many times, it is hard to sit down and just do the work. There are so many other things you could be doing.
- Surfing the Internet
- Watching TV
- Checking your phone
So many easy things.
This is sort of why I believe many of our predecessors have resilience because they didn’t have too many of the “easy” things that make us soft.
Those who can’t push past pain and discomfort will never achieve their dreams and goals.
If you want to be a doctor, you need to go through years of medical school.
If you want to be a top notch salesman, you have to do the things that most salespeople don’t like to do: making cold calls.
If you want to gain more muscle, you need to go to the gym and push yourself to add more weight to the bar over time.
At the other side of that pain barrier lies momentum.
Pain is temporary and pride is forever. But if you never push past the pain, you’ll never get to the pride.
That means the pain is forever. Guess what happens next time you want to achieve something? You’re ensnared by the remembrance of that pain because you never got to the prideful feeling.
It makes it harder to achieve any goals you set for yourself in the future.
Then you wake up one day and realize you have a shitty life because you didn’t want to take your lumps early.Those who can't push past pain and discomfort will never achieve their dreams and goals. Click To Tweet
A Final Word on Momentum
Creating momentum. Easy to talk about, hard to put into practice.
There’s so many things in our environment that prevent us from getting started and staying on that path. But it’s the only way to success.
But what happens once you’re on the path of momentum and you build up the discipline and willpower to keep going?
You will develop a strong internal locus of control, you will be unfazed by outside circumstances, and you will write your own ticket in life.
That is something worth getting started for and fighting for.
Let me know in the comments below: how are you planning to use momentum to achieve your goals?