The Magic Of Momentum

There are times when we have big things to take on: stretch goals, long view dreams, important projects, bouncing back, uncertain transitions, bucket list items, new learning of any kind.

They become easy targets for postponements, doubt and all manner of rationalized resistance.

The myth is that we need to upscale motivation. We think we need energy to get started, moving forward or just completing. We think we might just need more passion, clearer why, a kick in the pants, inspiration, less uncertainty, better power smoothies, more self-discipline, an accountability buddy or maybe some strategic guilt. We think maybe we just need to get more organized. Maybe it’s an app deficiency, the illuson that perhaps an app will provide the magic fairy dust that will get us going.

The reality is that we just need to do something next. Any next is the best place to begin. Small acts create more sustainable and agile energy than trying to talk ourselves up for it. We don’t need anything except just some action in the direction of what matters to us. This is the power of momentum.

There are several ways to build momentum.

Take first steps
Even with all kinds of unknowns, we can take first steps, which can be humble and non-dramatic. Any first steps work.

Chunk it down
Define one big into small bites and decide on an optimum sequence for the small bites, then take on one bite at a time.

Work in one step at a time
All we have to do is take only one small step in our desired direction, even allowing our sense of direction to evolve as we move toward it.

Practice a bias for incomplete progress
Start to view even incomplete progress as more important than complete success, which favors momentum rather than instant outcomes as success.

Keep a good rhythm of steps
Don’t put too much time between small actions in order to keep a working rhythm to the momentum, so energy is optimized for next steps.

Be resilient
Setbacks are normal, so don’t take them personally, just return to momentum through any next small thing you can easily do

The key principle is simplicity. It’s a matter of giving even 15–20 minutes to any form of momentum. Begin to appreciate the time between small actions of momentum as valuable spaces where important reflective learning can happen. Trying to do everything all at once minimizes the power and potential of these creative pauses between steps. Small and steady gets us there.

Whether we’re trying to get started, re-started, keeping moving or finally completing something, all we need is to create momentum. Momentum doesn’t take courage and energy. It creates them. We find we live with fewer excuses, postponements, fear and regrets. Every possibility becomes an amazing gift. Momentum is the mother of all realized dreams.