Are you guilty of having an idea, or an intuitive hit on something and immediately saying “I’ll do it later.”? Or “I’ll get back to this when I have more time.”?
Now take a second to think about how much further along you would be if you started taking all that energy you use waiting and used it to start DOING?
Here’s the thing – that idea or tiny inspiration was a gift from the universe and what do we usually do with it? We throw it right into the “I’ll do it later black hole” where most ideas go to die.
You know you need to do it. For some reason, though, it feels impossible to muster the energy to simply get started.
Don’t worry, it’s not just in your head. Getting started is hard. The secret to building and maintaining momentum lies in the science.
Remember Newton’s Law Of Motion?
In chemistry, you need a big burst of initial energy to start a chemical reaction. This explosion of energy is called “activation energy.” Your brain is looking for that chemical reaction, that explosion of energy.
That moment of inspiration you had? That was the spark the universe gave you to create that activation energy to get you started.
But out of habit you smothered it and now you are left with the excuses of no energy, no time, no confidence, no inspiration.
You see, after that moment of inspiration passes, you’ll never feel like it, you’ll never be ready, and there is no right time. Suck it up, give yourself a push, and get started.
If you do, you can tap into the principle of momentum.
Here are three strategies you can use to create and sustain momentum.
#1 DO SOMETHING TINY EVERY DAY
This idea comes for BJ Fogg, a Stanford University researcher. When you set the bar low, it’s easier to stick to your goals.
If you have just started trying to get back in shape, for example, forget the long workout. Instead, do five minutes on the treadmill and five pushups a day. I transformed my health by simply walking my dog every day. When you start with something easy, you’ll see yourself win and you’ll keep going.
#2 CELEBRATE SMALL WINS
Making progress in small ways doesn’t always feel like it’s making a big difference. But research from Harvard University Business School discovered that recognizing your small progress every day is the key to productivity and happiness.
To make the effect even greater, reward yourself – but only in ways that further your goals. Topping off a 5-mile run with a bowl of ice cream is different than rewarding yourself with a deep-tissue massage.
#3 FOCUS ON THE SMALLER NUMBER
You can measure progress by how much you’ve done or how much you still have left to do.
A study from the University of Chicago discovered that you’ll be way more motivated if you focus on the smaller of two numbers.
For example, focus on the 3 pounds you’ve already lost, not the 17 more to go. Each new action feels even more impactful when compared to a smaller number.
Did you notice what these three strategies have in common?
Think small when you think about taking action.
Take tiny doable steps, celebrate small wins, focus on the smaller number.
When we think big, we get overwhelmed and it all feels impossible.
I challenge you to think small today.
Remember, creating momentum doesn’t happen by thinking that you have to finish the entire project NOW.
But it does happen by taking action immediately and then scheduling out more time on the calendar to sustain momentum.