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Last Updated on August 11, 2021

3 Strategies to Build Momentum in Life and Find Success

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3 Strategies to Build Momentum in Life and Find Success

Momentum is essentially the force created by a moving object. You likely heard about this concept in your high school physics class, but momentum goes far beyond the laws of motion. Momentum, when applied to ideas of motivation, enables you to start thinking clearly, see that your goals are reachable, and find a sense of purpose, power, and direction. Learning how to build momentum is, therefore, one of the first steps to finding success in life.

By building momentum, you are creating a world in which you are more productive, more effective, and more efficient. Momentum helps you get over the initial hurdle of not being able to start something and then pushes you through to the end. Momentum helps build positive thinking and energy to help you progress towards your goals.

Over the years through working on a number of projects and dealing with a wide range of people, I have learned that there are three key strategies for learning how to get momentum and push forward.

1. Just Do It

Nike’s slogan is a great motto to create momentum. In fact, this is one of the best methods to build momentum in life. Whatever it is that you want to do, whether it is starting that project that you have been putting off, going to the gym to lose 10 pounds, or writing the first paragraph of your next novel, the best way to build momentum is to simply take action through one small step.

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By taking action, you start to focus your time and energy on the things that matter most. It may feel uneasy at first, but the more time and energy you put into doing it, the more comfortable you will start to become with it.

Over time, the momentum builds and feeds upon itself. The more small steps you take, the more momentum you will build, the more comfortable you will be doing that activity or task, and the more productive and effective you will be.

For example, if you know you have an important work project due next week, a small step could be to make a to-do list of all the things you’ll need to do to complete the project. This will prepare your mind to jump into the steps the following day.

Ultimately, each small step gets you closer to achieving your goal, so get out there, do it, and join the ranks of successful people doing their best to achieve their goals.

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2. Schedule It

Perhaps you can’t do it right now, but what you can do is schedule some time to do that thing that you have been putting off[1]. Even better, make it a routine in order to create momentum in life.

If you have been putting off going to the gym, schedule it in now, and stick to it. If you have trouble sticking to your schedule and not having the discipline to take action, think of your long-term goals.

Why exactly do you want to go to the gym, and how would your life look and feel if you lost the 10 pounds that you want to lose? If this is not enough, don’t be afraid to reward yourself after each action that you take.

In order to really build momentum, you need to take action every single day. One of the best ways to build momentum is to schedule 30 minutes every day where you will be dedicated to what it is that you want to achieve. Before you know it, after one week you would have been productive for 3.5 hours! It all adds up, and making it a routine will help embed it as a habit and help it become part of your life.

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3. Learn About It

When you aren’t quite prepared to take action, you can start building momentum by learning about what it is that you should be doing.

You can get started with this by checking out Lifehack’s Learn Anything Fast Handbook. Once you have the motivation to learn, you can begin to find resources on the actions you are preparing to take.

For example, if you are struggling to get to the gym, pick up a health and fitness magazine and read up on the different exercises that you can undertake at the gym. Learn about the different programs that you can complete or the different classes that you can take part in.

Perhaps you’re struggling to write the first paragraph of your next novel. Take some time out to learn about the topic that you want to be writing about. Pick up the phone and talk to someone about it, or browse a website that describes how to write a novel. Whatever it is, you can learn something about the task which will help you build momentum.

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Learning about the activity that you want to pursue creates neural pathways in your brain that helps you build the confidence and knowledge to be able to do what it is that you want to do.

The Bottom Line

If you want to achieve more in life and be more successful, productive, effective, and efficient, then you need to consider the above strategies to build momentum. Remember that once you start down a path with a single step, you have already started to build the momentum that you’ll need to propel you forward and complete your goals.

More on How to Build Momentum

Featured photo credit: Dayne Topkin via unsplash.com

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Brendan Baker

Brendan helps people who feel stuck doing work they don't like start to make a difference and an income doing what they love.

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Last Updated on January 19, 2022

What Is Fear-Based Motivation And Does It Work?

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What Is Fear-Based Motivation And Does It Work?

If you’ve ever thought or said something like this, then you are using fear-based motivation:

  • “If I don’t get that promotion, I’m going to be seen as a failure so I better stay up all night to work on this proposal.”
  • “If I speak up for school reform, the internet trolls are going to get me, so I better be quiet even though I care a lot about this issue.”
  • “If I don’t exercise enough, I’m going to look like crap, so I better go to the gym six days a week, even if my body is killing me.”

Fear-based motivation is exactly what it sounds like—getting yourself and others to do things out of fear of what will happen if you don’t do it and do it well.

What you might not know is that while fear-based motivation might work in the short term, it can have long-term detrimental effects on your performance, relationships, and well-being.

Is Fear-Based Motivation Helpful?

If using fear as motivation comes naturally for you, you aren’t alone. Our brains use fear to keep us out of trouble. Normally, you want to move away from what feels harmful towards what feels safe.

This brain function is important when there is a genuine threat to your well-being, like if there is a rattlesnake on the hiking trail. Your brain will use fear to motivate you to move away from the snake as quickly as possible. But when you use fear-based motivation to accomplish your life and career goals, the constant state of fear puts unnecessary stress on your mind and body and can end up working against you.

The Darkside of Fear-Based Motivation

Take, for example, when your trainer at your gym motivates you during your workout by yelling things like, “Bikini season is coming! You don’t want your cellulite to be the star of the show!” or “Burn off that piece of birthday cake you ate last night!”

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Sure, you might be motivated to do ten more burpees, but what is going on in the back of your mind? You probably have an image of a group of people standing around you at the beach laughing at you in your bikini, or you feel guilty about eating that piece of cake and criticize yourself for not being able to control yourself.

Reliance on Negative Thinking

For most of us, this type of thinking causes stress and can bring down our energy levels and mood. The reliance on negative thinking is the problem with fear-based motivation. It forces us to put our attention on what is wrong or what could go wrong instead of anticipating and celebrating what is right. This, in turn, narrows our focus and prevents us from seeing the bigger picture.

When your brain senses a threat, whether it’s a rattlesnake hiding in the grass or the possibility of being laughed at in your bikini, your brain will move you into a protective stance. Your vision narrows and you prepare to fight, flee or freeze.

You can probably imagine what this looks like in the case of a rattlesnake, but how does this impact your bikini experience?

The High Cost of Fear-Based Motivation

Imagine that you plan a beach vacation with your friends three months from now. The first thing you picture is sitting on the beach with your tummy rolls and cellulite. You immediately sign up for three months of boot camp classes at the gym and banish all sugar and booze from your diet. You are determined not to make a fool of yourself on the beach!

Will the fear of not looking like a supermodel under the beach umbrella motivate you to get in shape and eat better? Possibly. But at what cost?

For three months, every time you picture yourself looking “less than perfect” in your bikini, you feel fear of being ashamed. Shame makes you want to hide, and that makes it harder to find the motivation to go to the gym instead of sitting on the couch eating ice cream.

You become so focused on how you are going to look on the beach that you lose out on all the fun and joy of life. You pass up on going shopping with your friends for new outfits because you aren’t at your goal weight yet. You stop doing the things you love to do to spend more time at the gym. You avoid family gatherings where you will be confronted with tempting food. You over-train to the point of hurting yourself.

The Healthier Alternative to Fear-Based Motivation

Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel good in your bikini! If that’s important to you, keep your goal in mind but change the way you motivate yourself. Instead of using the fear of feeling ashamed to motivate you, try using love-based motivation.

Love-based motivation uses love instead of fear to lead and inspire you. It comes from a different part of your brain than fear-based motivation. Love-based motivation comes from the part of your brain that is responsible for joy, creativity, and passion.

5 Questions of Love-Based Motivation

There are many ways to deploy love-based motivation. The trick is to use one or all of the following to motivate you towards your goal: empathy, curiosity, innovation, vision, and heart-centered action.

Here are five questions you can use to motivate yourself using love-based motivation.

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1. What Would You Say to a Friend?

Chances are that you talk to your friends in a much kinder way and with more empathy than you talk to yourself. You wouldn’t tell a friend, “you better starve yourself and hit the gym three times a day to look good in that bikini!” Instead, you would probably say something like, “I’m so excited to go on this vacation with you! I can’t wait to spend time catching up while sipping margaritas on the beach.”

Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your friend.

2. What Are You Curious About Learning That Might Help You Get to Your Goal?

More often than not, achieving our goals is more about the journey it took us to get there than the goal itself. Curiosity makes journeys more fun. Perhaps you are curious about doing a triathlon but you don’t know how to run. If you spend three months learning to run, you would get into better shape and learn something new.

3. How Can You Get to Your Goal in a Way That Feels Good?

Using the “Yes, And” game is a great way to come up with innovative ideas for working towards your goals. If your first instinct is to go to the gym six days a week but you aren’t jazzed about it, find something that you like about that idea and make it better.

For example, if what you like about going to the gym is that you work up a sweat, what if instead of the gym, you join a dance class where you can learn some new moves to show off on your vacation?

4. What Is Important to You About Your Goal?

When you dig into your goal, chances are that you’ll find a deeper meaning. If your goal is to “look good in a bikini,” ask yourself why that’s important to you.

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For example, “I want to look good in my bikini because I want to have fun on vacation.” Then, ask yourself how much having fun on your vacation depends on how you look in your swimsuit.

5. What Heart-Centered Action Can You Take That Will Help You Reach Your Goal?

Whether your goal remains bikini-focused or changes to ways of having a good time on your vacation, choose an action that you can take that feels like it is coming from a place of love instead of fear.

For example, suggest to your friends that you take scuba diving classes as a group before vacation. It will get you moving and bring your friends together.

Long-Term Happiness and Satisfaction

Fear-based motivation may help you achieve your goals in the short term, but it won’t lead to long-term happiness and satisfaction. Fear isn’t designed to be used for long periods, and you will eventually tire of the fear and give up on your goals. Love, however, is designed for longevity.

Finding your motivation in a place of love will fuel you to reach your goals, whether your goals are about feeling good in a bikini, getting a promotion at work, or speaking up for what you believe in.

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Featured photo credit: Jeremy Perkins via unsplash.com

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