Seven things you can do to create (and keep) momentum in your life
What keeps you moving forward? How can you maintain enthusiasm for a goal every single day? Here are seven techniques that can help you create (and keep) momentum in your life.
How many times have you decided to do something – start going to the gym, give up drinking, or embark on a new resolution or project – and set off in a wave of cheerful energy and optimism… only to give up a few days or weeks later?
While it’s not hard to muster enthusiasm at the outset of a new initiative, maintaining that momentum is much harder. Just look at the statistics:
- As many as 80% of New Year resolutions have failed by the second week of February.
- According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months.
- 2 out of 5 people will give up on a diet within a week, and just 20% will last three months.
Gold’s Gym even came up with an acronym for the reasons why people fail:
- C – can’t find the time.
- L – lacking a plan to keep going.
- I – ignoring your commitment and falling into old habits.
- F – frustrated with the lack of early results.
- F – forgetting what you started.
Seven things you can do to create (and keep) momentum
To keep you from falling off the motivation CLIFF, here are seven ways you can maintain your energy and enthusiasm for your new project or resolution.
1) Set powerful goals
Just as you’d never set off on a long journey without knowing your destination, you need to set professional or personal goals before embarking on a new project or period of growth.
What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to be? How do you want to feel? And when do you wish to achieve this by? Setting the right goal could be the key to your success (or not).
To help you set powerful goals to work towards (and keep you on track) we recommend following the advice in these articles:
- Five excuses that stop you starting on a big goal (and how to do it)
- Six strategies to make sure your goals work
- How to set SMART goals and achieve them
- How to chunk big goals down into achievable steps
2) Manage your budget
There are two resources that are often in limited supply, but are often essential in the pursuit of our goals. And the first is money.
If your resolution is personal, you may need to join a gym, or start buying better quality food, which means re-budgeting, and perhaps giving up something else in order to afford your new lifestyle (this is when having a clear goal and vision will help).
Sometimes though, your resolution can leave you better off, especially if you’re giving up drinking or smoking. In these cases, you might want to save the money you’re no longer spending on drink or cigarettes, and save up for something you’ve always wanted, to keep up your resolve in moments of temptation or weakness.
If, on the other hand your new goal is business related, there will be expenditures you’ll need to invest in (laptop, Wi-Fi, website domain and hosting are the basics for most businesses). And others that will certainly speed up your success (branding and an ad budget come to mind). So budgeting carefully is important.
We’re advocates of the lean startup model – but what if your lean means you have virtually nothing to spend at the outset? Here are some suggestions to help you get your plans moving on a budget:
- How to start a business when you have no money
- How to design a logo for free yourself with no design experience
- How we built a website and a brand in a morning for less than £80
- How to get expert services for your business for free with a skills-trade
3) Find enough time
The second resource you’ll need to use carefully is time. No amount of investment in your resolution or business with give you more hours in YOUR day (although it will allow you to outsource some tasks, enabling you to use the time you do have more wisely).
So how can you make the most of the limited time you do have? Here are some suggestions:
- How to make time to achieve your goals
- Six ways mums can find more time to work on their business
- Need to be more productive? Learn how to write a Success List
- How to do a day’s work in just 90 minutes using focus blocks
4) Practise good habits
How often do you have to think about brushing your teeth? Or forget to do it? Activities like brushing our teeth have become such ingrained habits over the years that we do them without thinking.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could do the same with actions that enabled us to reach our goals?
Actually, you can. You just need to create routine around the activities you want to ingrain as habit. Here’s how to do it:
- Choose your activity.
- Pick the time you want to do this every day.
- Block out your calendar for that time every day.
- Commit to doing the activity every day.
- Persevere until it becomes an unquestioned habit.
Here are some suggestions of good professional habits you may wish to adopt:
- Want to be more effective at work? Adopt these seven habits
- Seven habits of highly effective (and happy!) start-ups
- Steal these six habits of successful female entrepreneurs
- Five habits of successful women who work from home
5) Remember your purpose
Often we embark on big ambitions – whether it’s to be fitter or healthier, or to start our dream business, with a deep sense of purpose. We have a goal or a vision in mind, and set out with enthusiasm and vigour.
But on the long, often monotonous journey to reach our goal, we can get bored, distracted, and even lose sight of what we were hoping to achieve.
So it’s important to keep your initial purpose – your ‘why’ – front of mind as much as possible, to maintain your enthusiasm and grit in pursuit of your ambition.
If your goal is personal, your ‘why’ is often a vision of a fitter, healthier and happier you. Or it may be a version of you you want to recapture from your past. Keeping this vision front of mind can help you stay on track.
Here are some articles that can help you identify your business why, and reconnect with it if success comes too slowly for your liking:
- Why you should put purpose at the heart of your business
- Why your business needs a mission and vision statement
- Lost enthusiasm in your business? Five things you can do to recover your motivation
- Five things you can do when success comes too slowly
6) Get a coach
If there’s one thing that has helped us not just keep momentum, but make HUGE progress in our business and life, it’s coaching. Coaching helps in so many ways, including:
- Identifying the right direction and goals.
- Eliminating any limiting beliefs.
- Preventing procrastination.
- Keeping you accountable.
- Giving you access to insights and experience.
No matter what kind of goal you’re working towards, you can find a coach to help – from general life coaching to business coaching.
(Need help maintaining momentum on your own business or freelance goals? Find out how a 121 with our own Hannah Martin will help.)
7) Wake up early
Our final suggestion helps you to achieve two others (practicing good habits and finding enough time). That said, it may not be universally popular! Why? Because it involves getting less sleep.
Bear us with here though. While it can be difficult to get into the habit if you’re not used to it, waking up early in the morning to buy yourself some precious time to work on your goals (or even to help you get into the right mind-frame or shape for them) has huge benefits.
Waking up early every day is known to have many benefits, and early risers have been found to have a lower risk of depression.
So how can you make the most of those early morning hours? If you struggle to get out of bed even at your usual time, you may find these 14 easy secrets to an amazingly productive morning routine helpful.
Photo by Thom Holmes