The three flavors of Momentum. Newton said an object at rest will stay at rest and an object in motion will stay in motion. In my opinion, the phenomenon applies to physical objects as well as emotions, mindset, goals, and relationships (especially the relationship we have with ourselves).
Flavor number one is STUCK. If you are stagnant (at rest… no goal, no motivation, no will power, no hope) it is most difficult to get started. To initiate movement requires more force than it does to maintain it. If you repeatedly fail to start, you simply need to start smaller. Instead of committing to a program, a class, a diet, or challenge, commit to 1 burpee daily, commit to breakfast, or commit to a 5 minute brisk walk. This isn’t an excuse to “aim low” or mail it in. This to stop the cycle of…
liberal amount of steam!
If you struggle to start, start smaller. It won’t be the long term answer you need, but it will lead to it. One burpee is the sustainable commitment that will lead to two. I don’t care how busy, how sick, how tired, how depressed, or how out of shape you are… there is something simple you can do to initiate a sustainable amount of momentum. Get yourself unstuck by starting small.
Flavor number two is BACKWARDS. If you are moving the wrong way it is because no one is at the wheel. I haven’t met a soul yet who wants to be worse. Unintentional momentum is still momentum and just because you didn’t look which way you were leaning (or which way your life pushed you) doesn’t remove the responsibility to change from your shoulders. The good news… if you have backwards momentum… if you eat like complete shit, if you sleep like a college student, if you sit on your ass professionally, if your kids or family Bogart your energy, if you get out of breath tying your shoes, or if you’re a victim of depression… you have it easy! You’re so far the wrong way, almost anything you do will be an improvement. You can’t lose! OK…. that’s ignorant, but the point is, you HAVE momentum. You are moving in the wrong direction because you’re not paying attention to that area of your life. You are not paying attention to that area of your life because you are giving too much attention to another area. I don’t need to know you to know I’m right. You need to hit the fucking brakes on whatever is consuming you and re-calibrate your resources. You need to have an honest conversation with yourself about your priorities and commitments (maybe with some people close to you too). If you have backwards momentum, you need to put your hand back on the wheel. Track your activity for one day. On your phone or a piece of paper. Everything you do.
drive to work
save the world
eat more pudding
play with kids
Everything you do goes on a log for one day. You’ll have your answer. Spoiler alert… you knew it already. If you’re heading the wrong way you need to look at why you’re heading that way.
Flavor number three is FORWARD!!! You did it!! You lucky bastard, you somehow managed to get yourself heading in a positive direction. You eat smart, you have friends, you drive a sedan, you pay taxes, you have goals that you are making progress on, you eat skittles and shit rainbows and all is right with your world (figuratively). There are incalculable ways to get yourself heading in an infinite number of positive directions so before you pat yourself on the back, keep this in mind. While it does take less force to keep positive habits going than it takes to get them started, momentum is a powerful creator of change. Change means new, unknown, places you haven’t been before. Not every wave is predictable. Speed limits are not always clearly posted and some highways don’t have those rumble strips on the side to alert you of trouble. If you have forward momentum you don’t get to check out. This life doesn’t come with an autopilot. You need to keep one eye on the horizon, scanning for speed-bumps. You need to analyze the feedback you create in the wake of your movement. Enjoy the shit out of your success, but build in the regular habit of assessing your course. And if you really want to be a high performer, share what you’ve learned.
Momentum is amazing. I see it take new and dynamic shapes every day, but it only comes in three flavors. What flavor do you eat most?