“An object in motion stays in motion” – Sir Isaac Newton (paraphrased… badly)
The other day I had a welcomed realization: this has been a strangely productive week. Monday through Friday I made it to the gym, wrote thousands of words, made some great connections; even squeezed in a few guitar practice sessions. If only I could make this a habit.
Well, why couldn’t I? From whence comes such efficiency? Good sleep? Hard work? Luck?
I’m sure it was a combination of things, but I give most of the credit to the momentum principle: I got myself moving Monday morning, and never stopped.
Like a ship or a train, once something’s in motion, it’s easier to keep going. Effective humans seem always to be moving. For them, one success leads to another.
“What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The opposite is also true. If I step out of my positive routine even for a few days, I have a very hard time getting back in motion.
Losing momentum is discouraging. My focus fades and I become unsure how to move toward my goals. Sometimes I want to wash my hands of them entirely. But there is a cure: to take a step, even when you don’t feel like it.
Do anything healthy. Go outside, have a walk, call a friend, cook. Then take another step. It’s amazing how easily something small can break the spell.
I was in a momentumless rut this morning. But I took a step by going to the gym. It did the trick, and I managed to salvage my day.
Sometimes the only cure for lack of motivation is rest. Rest is important! But there’s a difference between relaxing after a hard day, and running out of momentum. You should be able to feel the difference, but if you can’t, ask yourself:
“Did I do something that brought me closer to my goals today?” If you can answer yes, you’re already generating momentum.
Build on it.