Momentum – What Is It and How to Create It
By Jillian Broaddus and Chuck Cusumano
March Madness may be over, but we’re still thinking about all of the factors that led to Kansas winning the championship: skill, teamwork, discipline, coaching, luck, determination, and strategy, to name a few.
However, there’s another ingredient in the mix that’s a little more difficult to quantify, but undeniably attributable to the success of any goal: momentum.
A term often defined in physics textbooks, momentum is “the quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.” However, in terms of the power of momentum in our daily lives, it may be more useful to define Newton’s First Law of Motion. The law of inertia states that "Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it."
In short, objects in motion should stay in motion, unless obstructed by an outside factor. Whether in physics or in life, these factors remain the same: resistance, blockades, or a laundry list of visible or invisible obstacles (perhaps gravity if we’re discussing physics, or fear if we’re discussing life). So, how can we overcome these obstacles to maintain momentum and achieve our goals? We’ve compiled a list of 10 tried-and-true steps!
Start Somewhere – If momentum is all about helping the ball roll faster and faster, you first must get the ball rolling. Start by making a commitment (and – to instantly make yourself 42% more likely to achieve success, put it in writing!)
Focus on One – Focusing on too many things means you cannot focus enough on one thing. And, as focus slips, so too does momentum. Narrow down your goals to one priority, and make it a point to take steps towards it daily.
Dream Big – There’s no time to create momentum if your goal is easily within reach! Plus, HBR studies suggest we’re actually more likely to achieve difficult goals than we are easy ones.
Make a Plan – According to one report, “Consciously deciding to achieve something increases your chances from 10% to 25%. Once you choose when and have a clear how, your chances of succeeding become 50%.”
Find Inspiration – Momentum is fueled by motivation. If you find yourself lacking in the latter, look to a real-life example for inspiration. Who has achieved your goal before you? What did they do and how did they do it? Take notes and – more importantly – look to them to remind yourself that it CAN be done.
Dream Big, but Increase Small – We offered a quick physics lesson above, and now we’ll take it back to high school math with this equation: 1^365 = 1 1.01^365 = 37.78 What do these numbers mean? Simply put, even the smallest of increases every day will add up substantially with time! If you’re a writer, commit to putting a paragraph on paper every day. If you’re on a weight loss journey, make one small change to start. If you want to climb Mount Everest, start with the hill in your backyard. Don’t dart out of the gates too quickly – slow and steady wins the race!
Schedule Time – Without conscious effort and perhaps a calendar adjustment, you’re likely to keep doing what you’ve always done (which will result in a tendency to keep getting what you’ve always gotten!). Schedule time in your week to devote to your goals and protect this time fiercely.
Involve Others – The best source of motivation? Accountability partners! Find someone who will encourage you, applaud you, and maybe even join you on your climb to the top.
Be Patient – Momentum doesn’t happen overnight, and if your dream is big enough, it will take time. Be patient with your progress and commit to the long-term!
Take Care – Momentum can’t be created if your energy is drained by other factors. Are you getting enough sleep? Fueling your body properly? Surrounding yourself with life-giving relationships? Take an inventory of your life and determine where you could better set yourself up for success.
How are you doing in terms of momentum? If you need help to start (or keep) the ball rolling, we’d love to help at firstname.lastname@example.org