Building Your Momentum
How to sustainably achieve your goals
The idea of momentum is not something novel. Most of us have a good understanding of momentum and inertia in the physical form. Inertia is the reason a car uses less gas on the highway. It’s also the reason a rolling object is harder to stop. The general rule is that an object that is in motion wants to stay in motion, and an object that is at rest wants to stay at rest.
The general rule is that an object that is in motion wants to stay in motion, and an object that is at rest wants to stay at rest.
It wasn’t until I read the “Convict Conditioning” book that I got a completely new perspective on it. What I read in the book completely explained why burning out was such a common occurrence for me. It explained why I had such a difficult time staying consistent and making any lasting changes. I had a habit of completely submerging myself into a new project, workout routine, or job. Only to find myself completely disinterested, burnt out, or not seeing any results after initial excitement passed.
In Convict Conditioning, Paul Wade brings up momentum as a huge factor in why most people fail when starting a new workout regime or anything else.
By starting out slow, you are generating momentum. You are basically building “a head of steam by moving forwards slowly and you will actually reach your goals much faster than if you proceed with haste.” Paul goes on to talk about old school weightlifters who understood this principle and described it as “putting strength in the bank”.
In the modern world, we don’t value patience. Even many companies have gotten into the habit of throwing new hires into the deep end. We are living in the “we want it yesterday” mentality. We value speed and disregard sustainability.
Why trying to catch up to others is a silly game to play
We have gotten used to the mentality that “the harder you work, the better your results”. We see the top entrepreneurs on TV stating that they work 80 hour work weeks and believe that we need to be doing the same to succeed.
What we don’t see is the huge momentum that was built up over years of work.
It would be the same as seeing a car that is driving 100 mph and trying to catch up to it from rest. Not only would you need to push your car to the absolute limits to reach that speed quickly but you would also need to be going twice as fast to even catch up to it. You will never catch up to that car by going the same speed. This is simply math.
But many people have the belief that they can achieve what Warren Buffett or Elon Musk achieved in less time. Although possible, not likely.
A Better Way
1. Start Slow
Take it slow at the beginning. Think of any new endeavor as a huge boulder (one that is movable but still heavy enough to lift). How do you move a huge boulder? By applying slow, increasing force. You simply cannot start rolling the boulder quickly from the beginning. If you try to run into it, you will simply smash your face. You cannot kick it, you cannot push it, and frustration will not help either. In fact, anything other than slow pressure will not work (let's assume you don’t have machinery to help you).
2. Put Strength in the Bank
Even try to hold back some energy that you have at the beginning. This is called “Putting Strength in the Bank”. By not exhausting yourself everyday you are literally adding some gas to your tank.
3. Increase Pressure
Your only goal should be to do a little better every day (or every time you do that activity).
This concept of applying momentum has dramatically shifted my outlook on work, life, and projects. I hope you found this useful and it can add some sustainability to your work in this ever accelerating world!