The Secret to Maintaining Momentum

by Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical on January 5, 2011

Maintain the momentumFirst off, Happy New Year to everyone!  Can you believe its 2011?  This is the time of year when we tend to make resolutions to change this or change that or do this or do that.  Have you noticed the sharp proliferation of advertising by Weight Watchers and gym memberships the last several weeks?

Having goals is great.  In fact it’s really important to have goals and to know where those goals will take you.  Goals offer direction and hope.  I’ve got some big goals for 2011 like embarking on a yearlong sabbatical to Indonesia with my family and building my photography business.

Often we make these goals with good intentions and for a while we go full throttle on them and things seem good.  We’re making progress and then we hit the wall.  The problem is maintaining the momentum.  I’ve lost count of the number of goals I’ve failed because I couldn’t or didn’t keep the momentum going.

Over the years I’ve come to realize my own limitations and how my mind works.  I’ve discovered things that work for me to keep me interested and moving forward.  I’d like to share them with you in the hope that when things get tough, when  you hit the wall and you feel like giving up, you’ll find a way to maintain that momentum.

Visualize

As a photographer I know the power of the visual image.  This is why I hang a map of Indonesia in my office where I can always see it.  It’s a constant reminder of what it is I am striving for.  I find it helpful to write my goals down.  There is power in actually physically writing them on paper.  If you have a grease board write them on that and hand it prominently where you can always see them.  Make a visual collage that depicts your goals.  Before going to sleep at night close your eyes and visualize what it is you want to do.  Seed your dreams with these thoughts.  The more you envelop yourself with images of what you want to do the better your chance of achieving it.

Throttle Back

I’ve learned that when I get excited about something I tend to dig into it without abandon.  I’ll make incredible progress at a rapid pace.  And then I burn out. When that happens generally the flame of that dream burns out as well and the goal gets discarded as another failure.  When I decided I wanted to learn to play guitar I bought 3 guitars within a year.  I practiced every day for hours.  And then I hit the wall and burned out.  Don’t go full throttle.  Move slowly.  Take your time.  If your goal is worthy rushing it will only dishonor it.

Create Good Habits

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. ~ Jim Rohn

I’ve had tremendous success in creating bad habits over the years.  Tremendous success!!   Bad habits do not lead you forward.  Find ways to build good habits that further your progress toward achieving your goals.

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. ~ Jim Rohn

We have started making a habit of checking in with our finances once a week.  How much did we spend?  What did we spend it on?  And then we review areas where we can save more money, maybe sacrifice a bit more.  At first doing this was a pain.  But I’m confident that as we make this into a habit we will find ways to save for our sabbatical.

Reward Yourself

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  Sometimes I just need to cut loose and have a good time.  If you find your goals becoming a burden maybe all you need is to get out and do something fun.  Of course if you are not having fun maybe you need to take a look at your goals and make sure they are really what you want.

One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals. ~ Michael Korda

There have been times when what I thought I wanted wasn’t exactly what I had in mind further down the road.  Evolution of a goal into something greater can be a good thing as long as progress is still being made.  We originally considered taking another 2 month vacation to Indonesia but ultimately we discovered our desire was to spend more time there to really experience the culture and all that a sabbatical has to offer.

Review your motivation

It’s nice from time to time to stop, take a look at where you are at and make sure you are still on track.  It’s important to review your motivation.  Why is it we are taking a 1 year sabbatical again?  When we list out the multitude of reasons it’s easy to remember why we work so hard to make this happen.

Of course during your review you may find that your motivations have changed or you no longer have the motivation.  That’s fine as well.  At least you know and can now redirect your efforts elsewhere.

Each day complete some task that brings you closer to realizing your goals.

Ultimately one of the most important things you can do to achieve your goals is to maintain the momentum.  Each day complete some task that brings you closer.  Day by day and step by step you will eventually reach the top of the mountain and be able to enjoy the view, knowing that you accomplished so much.

I hope you find this post useful as you embark on your own 2011 adventures.  Just remember to take what works for you and ignore the rest.  Everyone has a different recipe for success.  Use the one that works best for you.

Have a great tip for maintaining the momentum?  Share it below! 

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

ayngelina January 5, 2011 at 9:18 am

For me it’s about writing it down. If I write what I want, why I want it and how I can get there 90% of the work is done.
ayngelina recently posted..2010- The year bacon got a little crazy

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matt January 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I totally agree with you Ayngelina. Writing it down is definitely step 1.

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Irene January 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. I have no problem motivating myself but I would always start a project and then would lose my momentum. Success could have come sooner if I consistently do things to get closer to my dreams. And I really believe in the power of writing. A few days from now I can finally check my first goal this year of moving to a new and bigger apartment. I wrote it down on my planner on the first week of January. It’s amazing how things work out. Hope you get to go for your sabbatical soon. =) One of my goals is to go to Bali, Indonesia. But only for a few days. =)
Irene recently posted..How to Keep Yourself Motivated When Working from Home

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matt January 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Hi Irene! Congrats on reaching one of your goals. That always feels really good and can be empowering to keep the momentum going. Maybe we will see you in Bali as you reach another one of your goals. Cheers!

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Irene January 29, 2011 at 3:57 am

Thanks Matt. It’s always nice to surround yourself with positive people, either online or in the offline world. =) Cheers and more power!
Irene recently posted..2011 – It’s going to be a great year for online workers!

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matt January 31, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Absolutely! Positive reenforcement by family and friends goes a long way to empowering ones passions.

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