This Key Concept Trumps Motivation

When the excitement of starting something new dies down, then what?

Interest fades, tasks become small obstacles, and small obstacles become large ones. You start to realize just how much work it’s going to take, and how much it’s going to feel like work.

When your motivation plummets, you can’t simply find more.

Oh, you can try. But it’s not a renewable resource. It’s a well that runs dry.

You can read inspirational quotes, stories about those who have pushed through hard times, and you can visualize yourself getting back to work.

Or, you can pretend your motivation is going to come back, and when it does, you’re really going to hit it hard, right?

Wrong. It’s not coming back. At least, not without a little push.

When you’re out of motivation, your best friend is momentum.

You can create momentum; you can’t create motivation.

Momentum is the magic that happens when you do something very small, and in doing so, decrease the friction it takes to continue.

Have an email, a chapter, or a paper to write? Just start with one sentence.

Going to work out? Just get dressed.

Got a sink full of dishes? Just wash a single plate.

Start small.

Once you get started, you’ll find you frequently have no problem continuing. It’s easier to keep doing something than it is to start.

Momentum builds on itself.

Have you ever noticed that when you go to the gym in the morning, you feel more motivated to eat healthier, have more focus at work, take your dog for an extra long walk, and read a book instead of watching Netflix? That’s momentum at work.

Momentum trumps motivation.

And all you need to do is break your tasks into tiny pieces. Something you CAN’T say no to doing. You can read one page. You can put your sneakers on. You can fold and put away one shirt.

The best part is, if you’re not feeling the momentum, you can stop with your tiny task, and have the satisfaction of knowing you haven’t done NOTHING.

Momentum doesn’t carry the guilt of all-or-nothing. And when you feel good about your progress, you’re more likely to continue putting in consistent effort.

Motivation is like a well that runs dry. Momentum is like a dowsing rod, leading you on the path to the nearest water source.

What’s one small thing you can do right now to create momentum?