Building And Leveraging Momentum

The idea of momentum is really interesting. I’m not a sports junkie anymore, but when I used to be a big fan I remember momentum being mentioned by the losing coach in almost every post game interview. Often along the lines of “We were playing well, but we made a few mental errors, and after losing our momentum we were unable to recover.”

Regardless of if you’re a big sports fan or not I’m sure you’ve heard something similar at some point. Of course, momentum isn’t just important in sports. It’s relevant to every other area of our lives as well.

Momentum In Socializing

Have you ever noticed that when you first arrive at a social event it tends to be pretty dry? People may be engaging in small talk, but nobody’s really dancing, or having a massive amount of fun? This is social momentum at work.

When you unplug from work, or whatever you were doing earlier in the day, it takes a while for your brain to shift from “logical” mode to “social” mode. This is why when you first start talking to someone the things you say may not come off as smoothly, and you might feel somewhat stuck in your head.

However, after you’ve been talking to them for a few minutes your brain will start to click into social mode, and as long as you’ve got decent social skills you’ll begin to vibe with the other person. Because of micro-momentum you’ll find your social skills improving through out the night.

However, in addition to micro-momentum there’s also another type of momentum called macro-momentum. This is a more consistent momentum built over a longer period of time.

In the case of your social life you can build macro-momentum by going out consistently over a period of several days, weeks, months, or even years. Even if you can’t drastically improve your social skills within a couple days you’ll find your interactions running more smoothly simply because you have social-momentum.

Think of it this way. If downing a few drinks allows you to be more social for one night think of macro-momentum as a constant low level buzz (without the hangover). By consistently going to social events you can leverage momentum to quickly improve the quality of your interactions.

Momentum In Other Areas Of Life

Even if you’re already satisfied with your social life both micro and macro-momentum can be used to improve any other area of your life as well.

Take writing for example. If you want to improve your writing skills set aside some time to write everyday. By doing this you’ll find it easier to come up with new ideas, and you’ll find that writing becomes an enjoyable activity where your words just seem to flow rather than one where you find articulating your thoughts is painful.

As a writer you’ll also notice that when you first sit down writing may be difficult, but as you type the first paragraph, and then the second it quickly becomes easier and easier.

Even if you don’t have inspiration initially I recommend attempting to write for at least 15 minutes before giving up. I’ve found that as my brain switches to “writing” mode I’m inspired to write about something and am able to complete a whole post on it 9 times out of 10.

Leveraging Momentum In Your Personal Development

Perhaps the greatest thing about momentum is it can apply to your personal development on a broader scale as well.

In the case of micro-momentum you’ll typically find that if you complete one thing off your todo list you’ll be motivated to do more. For example, if you lift weights in the morning you may feel more motivated to eat healthy, or read afterwards instead of zombify in front of the TV.

However, if you start the day with a movie marathon, or eat junk food you’ll find yourself more prone to making poorer decisions later in the day as well. How you spend the first hour of your day is extremely important in determining how the rest of your day is going to play out.

Despite the importance of micro-momentum, macro-momentum is even more important in personal development. If you ever plan to accomplish ambitious goals macro-momentum is a necessity.

Because I consistently exercise, eat healthy, write, etc. I’ve got a lot of macro-momentum. If I procrastinate and miss a day of exercise or writing it’s probably not going to kill me.

When you consistently do things for a long enough period of time they require less and less effort, and they almost become a part of you. They’re not automatic, but they essentially become your new comfort zone.

Even if I’m feeling lazy and lack energy on a particular day I’m probably still going to be able to write simply because I’ve got enough macro-monentum on my side.

How To Build Momentum

Building momentum is a simple, straightforward process. If you’re aiming to build micro-momentum consciously decide to make the next action you take a positive one that moves you closer to your goals.

If you’re trying to build macro-momentum consciously craft an environment that consistently requires you to establish habits that’ll force you expand your comfort zone.

If you’re to lose weight this could mean joining a gym and hiring a personal trainer or finding an accountability partner. If you’re trying to develop better social skills this may mean giving a close friend $200 and telling them to keep it unless you go to 5 social events this week.

Regardless of your specific circumstances, if building momentum and making changes in your life is truly important to you you’ll find a way to make it happen. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.

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