We all know one of those incredibly positive, fit people with seemingly boundless motivation and consistency. Unless you’re one of these lucky few, you’ve probably wondered, ‘How do they do it?’ Truth is, we’ve all got a secret weapon that we may or may not be harnessing. It’s really nothing new or groundbreaking; it’s momentum.
HOW MOMENTUM WORKS
Think about hopping on a recumbent bike at your gym. Initially when you get on, it’s kinda tough to get the wheels spinning; you have to expend a little energy and work against some resistance. But once you push past those first few seconds it becomes a breeze, and soon your legs are spinning away using up way less energy than it took to get started.
That’s how momentum works, plain and simple. Those men and women you envy who seem to have that indescribable ease and consistency just have some major momentum working for them. Sure, getting started can be tough but once you do, even the smallest successes can build upon one another, creating an eventual tidal wave of momentum pushing you onward and upward. So, how do you start building your own momentum? Here are some pointers to get the ball rolling, and keep it rolling.
#6 3 Is the Magic Number
Just reading, watching, or listening to motivational material (like this article!) plants the seeds for momentum to grow. Been dying to get nice and lean for beach season but feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how or where to start? Take the advice of renowned author and speaker Jason Fried in his groundbreaking book Rework: Make small, attainable to-do lists.
For instance, write down 3 key starter actions that are quickly and easily attainable. A long to-do list is daunting and impractical (and I’ve found it can often make that paralytic state of inaction even worse) but when you break down those long lists into small, simple lists of 3s, getting started is much less overwhelming. In fact, you’ll feel excited about being able to meet attainable goals, and I bet your newfound momentum will push you on to your next list of 3s in no time!
#5 Picture Perfect Results
If you want something, visualize it. If you can’t already see it in your mind’s eye, how can you really and truly go after what you want? Help create a perfect mental picture of you attaining your goals by creating a collage using visual cues cut out from old magazines or newspapers. Whatever the goal, whether you want to tone up your tummy or start training for a marathon, create a collage using some key visual triggers (great abs, a fit runner, or even some key words about your goal that trigger an emotional response)!
Put that creative collage up somewhere where you’ll see it every day. Look at these visual cues and really absorb them; take mere seconds out of your day (in the morning before you get out of bed, or before you go to sleep at night), close your eyes, and really picture yourself achieving what you want. Just like they urge in The Secret, try to produce the emotions that you’ll feel when you finally achieve your goals and think about how you’ll reward yourself afterwards. I’ve taken this advice to heart many times and I can attest to how much it works! Visualizing can help you make your dreams a reality – first in your mind’s eye, and then in your real life.
#4 It’s OK to Play Mind Games
This may sound ridiculous but trust me, it’s not. Here’s the deal: you get home exhausted from a hectic day but feel obligated to get out for a jog even though it’s the last thing you can imagine yourself doing 30 minutes from now. This is where the mind games come in… First, give yourself a break. If you’re really that tired, just lace up your shoes and plan for a relaxing “unwind-from-the-day” walk. It’s better than nothing! After a few minutes of walking, you’ll start to feel warm and maybe even a tiny spark of something that resembles energy. Okay, so step it up by doing a slow jog (jog for 30 seconds then walk for a minute). Feel good? I bet, so do another one… and so on. Oftentimes playing mind games like this with yourself will turn a slow, relaxing walk into an all-out jog or even an interval run. It’s your age-old “under promise/over deliver” strategy – and, no offense, but you’ll fall for it almost every time! And hey, if you’re truly exhausted at least you got out for a walk. It’s a win-win situation.
#3 Ride the Wave
Once you’ve gained a little momentum, you can let it work for you! But although momentum is a powerful entity in itself, you still have to hold up your end of the bargain by being consistent. The more consistent we become, the easier it is to keep on keeping on, slowly but surely maintaining and building on momentum. After a while, momentum will take over and you will hardly feel like you’re making conscious efforts.
#2 To Be Active or Inactive: That Is the Question
Think about this: the momentum of inaction is just as powerful as the momentum of action. A couch potato creates a negative pattern by repeatedly getting home from work, heading for the couch and staying glued to it all night. This perpetual inaction causes momentum – but it’s a downward, negative spiral.
So pursue positive momentum by continually setting your short-term, daily and weekly goals (remember the rule of 3!); in other words, keep challenging yourself. Being driven and consistent every single day takes work – hey, life happens – but to keep momentum from slowing down, and then trickling out, you have to practice discipline. You have to stay active in your pursuit of momentum, especially on those inevitable tough days. Besides, the tough days are when character is built.
#1 Simply Put, Live Without Excuses
Bottom line: there are always excuses. There will always be too little time, too many commitments, too many people pulling you in too many directions… Get real with yourself. If you let these excuses get in your way, A) you’ll never even get started and B) you’ll definitely never build momentum. Prioritize the goals that are really important to you, and stick with them – excuse-free. It’s really very simple: the people who abolish excuses in their lives have the most momentum and, inevitably, the most success.
H.I.T. Coach, Fitness Copywriter, Owner