Blog Short #115: How to Keep Your Momentum as You Pursue Your Goals
Photo by ljubaphoto, Courtesy of iStock Photo
Last week we talked about setting goals and sticking to them. This week we’re focusing more on that last part: sticking to them! And for that, you need to keep your momentum going.
Momentum and motivation are intertwined:
Momentum creates motivation, and motivation creates momentum.
Today’s question is, how do you keep them both going? I’ve got a list of things that have proven to work. Some may not appeal to you, but you’ll probably want to try most of them.
Let’s start at the top.
Organize, track, and review!
Staying organized is a must when it comes to achieving anything. You need to know where you’re going and what steps to take to get you there. Likely you know this already, but how well do you implement it?
Maybe you’re good at organizing but fall short with tracking and review. Last week I talked a lot about this and suggested that you institute a weekly review to be done every week on the same day at the same time. The weekly review is the most effective of all the habits I’ve used to stay on track and keep going. If you didn’t get to read last week’s blog, click here to read it and find out what your weekly review should include.
The weekly review aims to track your progress, refine your system, and make revisions so that your performance will continually improve and move you toward your end goals.
If you don’t track, you’ll have difficulty finishing.
Make yourself accountable.
You might find it helpful to set up an accountability routine involving someone else in addition to your own tracking. You can work with a friend, colleague, partner, or group. For example, if your goal is to go to the gym weekly, having an exercise buddy you meet for each workout will help you keep your resolution. You’ll show up if you know someone’s waiting for you at the gym.
I have an online group I’ve been using to finish a course I’m creating. The group is an outgrowth of a class we all took on creating and recording online courses. Because we’re all trying to do the same thing, we use the group to hold each other accountable and share our problems. It’s invaluable!
Some people use mastermind groups to help them finish something. Others might have community or neighborhood groups. There’s a group of moms in my neighborhood that walk together every day.
Accountability partners provide more than keeping you on track. They’re supportive and cheer you on, particularly when you hit obstacles or find yourself lagging.
Keep your “why” in the front of your mind.
When you start on a new project, you’re excited because you have a vision of why it’s important and what you hope to gain by completing it.
When you meet obstacles, you can easily forget your “why” or push it into the back of your mind.
Write your “why” out. Be specific.
- What are the rewards for reaching your goal?
- What will you gain? Will anyone else benefit?
- What’s your motivation for pursuing this goal?
- How will you feel when you’ve achieved it?
Some people find it helpful to keep a “why” statement within view – either on a wall poster, computer desktop, bulletin board, or phone.
It helps to see it daily.
Eat that frog!
There’s a well-known book called Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. I recommended it to you last week. It’s short and sweet and is invaluable. The basic idea is to do your most important work first thing each day.
Ask yourself these questions to decide what to pursue first:
- Which activities are most instrumental in achieving my goal?
- What requires the most effort and takes the most mental energy?
- What thing, if done early in the day, will make me feel good about my progress and free me up the rest of the day?
- What have I been procrastinating on that needs to be done now?
Once you have a list, choose one item at a time, and tackle it in the morning before you deplete your energy. Especially do things that require brain work first thing.
Remember that willpower decreases over the day. It’s strongest when you start and dwindles mid-afternoon.
Focus on weekly goals and use time blocks.
One of the most depleting things people do when approaching goals is to repetitively run the whole list of things they need to do through their minds. When you do that, you keep yourself in a state of overwhelm and mental disarray. You can’t focus.
Once you have your big goal outlined and know what to do to get there, or at least have your direction paved out, let it go.
Focus on no more than three small tasks/goals per week.
One is fine if that’s all you can do. It’s more important to complete a single task in a week that moves you toward your goal than to have ten plates spinning in the air and nothing finished.
Set your weekly goals for the week ahead when you do your weekly review, and put them on your calendar in time blocks.
Use “time blocks” to reduce your resistance to the work. I use them more often than “task blocks,” especially for work that’s harder to do or that I tend to resist. For example, I might decide to work one hour on a graphic design project as opposed to finishing the whole piece. Try it and see if that doesn’t help.
Learn something new.
Learning or improving a skill can go a long way to re-energize you toward your goal.
Today there are so many ways to do this. You can read a book or article, watch a Youtube video, take an online course, attend a class, or work with someone else who’s skilled with what you need.
It’s incredible how a ten-minute Youtube video about something you’re trying to do can make you feel so much more engaged and excited about what you’re doing.
Not only that, but learning something can help you get over an obstacle that’s holding you back.
If you don’t know exactly how to do something, try searching for the information online or reach out to someone who does know. Lack of knowledge is a common reason people stop pursuing a goal. Get help!
Do this when you get stuck.
Goals, especially those that stretch out over time, require sustained effort. You know this, and I’m guessing you also know from experience that sustaining effort is challenging.
When you lose interest or feel stuck, you have to restart your engine. All the above things I’ve listed thus far can help you once you get going, but they may not pull you out of your rut.
When you’re stuck, take any small step you can. Do one thing. Make it something easy, quick, and something that requires minimal energy.
If you need to clean the whole house, clean the kitchen floor. If you need to write a paper, write 200 words. Want to exercise but can’t get yourself to start? Do ten sit-ups. Do something – anything – and then take a break until tomorrow and do one more thing. It won’t take long before you’re back in the swing of it and easily work for longer blocks of time.
Get back on the horse, and it’ll start trotting and eventually galloping.
I hope you found something in this list that’ll help you keep your momentum for whatever you want to accomplish.
We are officially in a New Year, and I wish you great success in your goals and aspirations for 2023!
That’s all for today.
Have a great week!
All my best,