This might sound a little silly, but I am genuinely proud of myself for getting another blog post up onto the website today. For me, it was definitely the next big hurdle I had to leap over after having restarted earlier this week. This isn’t just a big deal to me because you lovely lot were eagerly awaiting it (I hope ha!), but because I know that starting something is one thing, keeping it going is another thing entirely. And this is where building momentum comes in.
So, what is momentum? Well, if we want to get all geeky about it (hi, it’s me) and go back to GCSE physics then momentum = mass x velocity. Essentially, the more mass and/or velocity an object has, the more momentum it will have too. Basically, push a rock down a hill – the harder you push it and the bigger that rock is the faster it’s going to roll down the hill. Make sense? Great. Now, I know what you’re asking…how the hell does that apply to us and achieving our goals?!
Imagine you’re the rock at the top of that hill. In order to get to the bottom, you need a little push, the harder you push the faster you’re going to get there. In this strange little metaphor I’ve created, the push comes from you taking actions. Keep taking more and more actions and the harder that push is going to be – you’re going to gather more momentum.
Let’s stop pretending to be a rock for the moment and make this a little bit more relatable. A lot of my clients come to me wanting to get back into a training routine. The first time in the gym is always the hardest. But taking that first step onto the gym floor is a huge success – it makes them feel so good about themselves knowing that they have taken action and are on the path to achieving their goals. So they go again. And again. Next week they do the same…and by the end of the first month, most of my clients are raving to me about how going to the gym is now just a normal part of their routine. They built up that momentum of going regularly, and now we can really focus on their next goals, be those weight loss, body recomposition, improving strength etc. knowing that the momentum is there, driving them forwards.
The more you do something, the more embedded it becomes. The more natural it feels. It just becomes part of your life. But to get to that stage you need to be consistent. Which is exactly why I was so determined, come what may to get another blog post up on the site by the end of the week! Things like writing posts, podcasting, making vlogs are not yet part of my routine, and they won’t be until I reinforce the practice in doing so. I need to build momentum. Because let’s face it, when you’re trying to implement a new thing into your life it’s so easy to let it slide. Other habits that are already embedded (good or not so good ones) take precedence. So with that in mind, here’s my top tips for gathering momentum…
Building Momentum Tip 1:
Make a schedule. Google calendar is your best friend. You don’t have to go as anal as I do with a tonne of colour coding, but allocating time slots to tasks and blocking out my calendar has been a game-changer for me. Remember what I was saying about researching, writing, recording? Yep, it all goes in my calendar in its own little podcast colour code and that is my set time to work on it. I also have blocks in my calendar for going to the gym, meal prepping, journaling, meditating, client check-ins…pretty much everything. Geek-alert again, because this actually has been properly researched as a technique for building good habits. As it happens, there are over one hundred published studies on this, and the conclusion is crystal clear: if you explicitly state what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and where you’re going to do it, you’re much more likely to actually do it.
- “Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I’m going to wake up at 7 a.m. and go to the gym” will be far more effective than “I’m going to start exercising.” Block that in your calendar.
- “Every morning before I get up, I’m going to sit in bed and write my positive intention for the day in my journal” and not “I’m going to journal every day.” Block that in your calendar
- “Every Sunday evening and every Wednesday evening, before I have dinner, I am going to prepare my lunches for the next three days” will help you build a healthy eating habit a lot faster than “I’m going to start eating healthy lunches.” You guessed it…block that in your damn calendar.
What–when–where statements are far more effective for regulating behaviour than relying on inspiration or willpower to strike at the exact right moment. Having those times blocked out in your calendar, stating exactly what you’re going to do and when is only going to help set you up for success.
Building Momentum Tip 2:
Set yourself some mini-goals to help build that snowball effect on the way to achieving your big goal. Goal setting can create incredible focus, and can really help us hone in on the exact actions we need to take in order to get to where we want to be. Remember, actions create momentum so this really is key. Let’s say you have a big goal of losing a stone. That’s 14lbs you want to lose (or 6 and a bit kg, for those of us who work in those!). A great mini-goal would be to set yourself a target for each week of around .5lb-1lb loss on the scale. Suddenly, losing 14lbs overall doesn’t feel quite so daunting, right? Rather than focusing on the big goal, you can really hone in on the weekly mini-goal weight loss, and over time that is going to accumulate. And with that goal comes other mini-goals that are going to support that weekly weight loss – goals like, attending the gym three times that week, a daily goal of sticking to your calories, or maybe getting your 10k steps each day. Achieving these mini-goals all add up, giving you that extra big push to drive your momentum forward, plus having them gives the whole process a little added element of fun and challenge which is only going to keep your motivation high.
Building Momentum Tip 3:
Be prepared to start over. Momentum is incredible when you’re rolling down that hill full speed ahead, but let’s be real, life happens and sometimes you’re going to hit a little bump that knocks off course. And that is ok. The key is, just start again. I have the perfect example myself for this. Back in December, when I was going through a really tough time at home I started journaling every morning before anyone else was up to help clear my head and try and create a positive and productive day. I was writing things I was looking forward to that day, a positive affirmation about myself, my goals and what I was going to do that day to achieve them. And I found it really powerful. Then, I moved back home, got out of the difficult situation I was in, and carried on scribbling furiously in my journal each morning. But, over time I started to feel a lot happier, a lot cosier in my very comfy bed…and the journaling habit slipped more and more until now I’ve realised I’m just not doing it at all. I lost momentum. And to be fair, because of a positive bump, I’m mentally feeling better so I don’t feel such an urge to express my thoughts and feelings on paper. However, the goal-setting and to-do listing of my journal is helpful no matter where my mindset is at, so it’s a habit I want to get back into again. So I’m starting over, fully aware that it’s going to feel a bit forced at first, but I know that the more I do it, the more I commit to building that momentum again the more natural it is going to become. It’s exactly the same if you fall off your diet plan or a busy week at work gets in the way of hitting your three sessions at the gym. It’s ok. Life happens. Just get straight back to it and build that momentum up again.
So I am completely with you this week when it comes to homework! Let’s all focus on building momentum in working towards one goal. I’m going to restart journaling, and I’m blocking it in my calendar RIGHT NOW. Every morning, at 8am, I am writing my positive affirmation, my to-do list and three things I’m looking forward to each day down in that journal, without fail. Let me know what you’re going to work on building momentum for this week, send me a message on Instagram @annasbarbelles or drop me a message through the website. I would love to hear from you!