As we all ease back into our routine, I notice a lot of people talking about something called, “Momentum,” They want to gain momentum, regain momentum, lose momentum but mostly, they talking about “having” it.
What is momentum?
Momentum is simply a force that makes things that are in motion continue to move forward. "Keeping up" your momentum means to continue to succeed. If you start to be successful at something, like winning at a sport you enjoy or achieving high volume in sales, it's a lot easier to continue to be successful. You feel good about your performance and therefore want to keep that going. That is "momentum.”
So now that we’ve hit the one month mark since the new year began, it’s common that many people who started out with loads of gusto have done one of three things. They’ve likely gained, regained or totally lost their momentum. Which one are you?
I get it. Putting in the extra effort at work can and often does pay off, especially if you’re after that promotion, seeking a raise or looking to top last year’s performance. The difference between those who are willing to do whatever it takes to move the ball forward and those who prefer to sit on the sidelines hoping life and all of its perks will come to them is the difference between success and mediocrity.
I’ll admit. I’ve never been much of a sideliner. I love being in the thick of things, experiencing new ideas, creating opportunities and continuous learning. Every day brings new chances to personally and professionally grow. Sure, life can be challenging, but isn’t that’s the time we have to show up rather than give up? Real measurable success comes to those willing to push through, even when things get hard, test you or feel as though you’ve hit a brick wall—over and over. Genuine go getters look for and then find a way to persevere, even in choppy seas. They won’t give up.
But for many, once a goal has been achieved, it can be difficult to keep up that level of effort that got you there in the first place. I see it all the time. I notice it with people who lose a lot of weight only to gain it all back. They’ve been so disciplined to meet that goal and then slip back into their old ways. I also see it with real estate agents who hit that first sales goal of the year and then ride on that success far too long instead of pushing even harder. I see it with business leaders who gregariously lay out their plan for the upcoming quarter, but then for whatever reason, fail to execute.
Meeting your goals can bring all types of emotions from relief to joy and a sense of accomplishment. But then what? Without momentum, you might feel lost. Uncertain about what to do next. And you wouldn’t be alone for feeling that way. According to the Harvard Business Review article by psychologist Ron Friedman, “staying motivated after the completion of a goal is frequently hard work. Feelings of disappointment, depression and burnout can often follow an achievement.”
I believe you can’t build and sustain real momentum without a clear vision to see your next opportunities of greatest potential, go after them, grow them, share them and then create other new opportunities that drive you powerfully forward. If you’re like me, when you know there is something good coming towards you, you begin to anticipate it. You get excited by it and want it even more than you did the day before. I am inspired by that energy. It drives me toward meeting my goals. And then setting the bar even higher to meet the next set of goals.
Goals are good. Everyone has goals. Some have simple ones, like getting to the gym or just making it through the day, while others aspire to make a lot of money and live a comfortable life. If you’re not intentional with your goals, you will easily find yourself in a trap that Tony Robbins refers to as “making a living instead of designing a life.” There is a big gap between the two. Which do you want?
So how do you keep your momentum going?
Get clear about what you really want.
Why do you want it?
Once you have your focus, find someone who inspires you. Get a mentor, a coach, someone who knows how to get you from where you are to where you want to go. Finally, when you find yourself second guessing your decisions, not following through, understand you have an inner conflict that needs to be worked out. Guilt kills goals. Find a way to work out whatever it is you’re grappling with. Face it, figure it out and just keep moving. If you’re excited about what you’re doing, you will create meaningful and long lasting momentum around it. Understand that your goals affect you, so make a conscious choice to master something instead of dabbling in it. Dabblers quit. Masters win. Which are you?