You’re working on a project or started a new healthy habit and you’re full of gusto. You’re so proud at how committed you are. Until, that energy and commitment begins to fizzle out. Like a train pulling into the station your forward momentum slowly grinds to a crawl or a complete stop. In chemistry this big burst of initial energy to get moving is called activation energy, and it applies to the way we approach tasks and goals too. So what can we do to maintain that momentum rather than lose steam?
What is the next right step?
We all know the tactic of breaking the big picture into small, incremental snapshots. So what happens when we get stuck on what to do next? Remember, all you need is a little initial energy to activate forward momentum so ask yourself “what is the next right step?”. This question helps break down moments of stuckness into even smaller detail to spur on action. For example, it may be too much to “learn how to use Photoshop” so the next right step could be “book a Photoshop class” or “ask so-and-so if they’d give you a tutorial”.
Keep a “done” list
Think of this as the opposite of your to-do list. Record every single small task and you’ll quickly be amazed at the proof of how much you achieve. This is a magic bullet of motivation as it shows you progress and improvement. Research suggests that seeing how much you’ve completed will inspire you to keep going.
Tell someone your plans
There’s nothing like someone else checking in with you to keep you accountable and moving forward. Sharing your plans and goals with a trusted friend or mentor will not only help motivate your progress, but the act of declaring yourself out loud to another is also a powerful way to back yourself with confidence, and take your goals more seriously. Speak it into reality!
Take a day off
This might sound counterproductive but sometimes you simply need to step away in order to restart the engines. How to tell? Pay attention to your body rather than your head. Procrastination or “stuckness” will likely appear as mental distractions, rumination, task hopping, multitasking etc. Fatigue will show itself through low energy, headaches, chronic sleepiness (yet often accompanied by poor sleep), excessive irritability, teariness, slowed reflexes etc. If you get honest you’ll likely know if you’re considering a day off for avoidance rather than a genuine empty tank. If you do choose to step away, remind yourself that you’re human not a robot and are allowed to recharge, but give yourself a clear end-time and commit to it.
4 Ways to Maintain Momentum — Corporate Health, Workplace Wellness & Wellbeing is written by Amanda McMillan for www.wellineux.com