The Momentum of Maintaining Goals

Posted: November 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

One of the toughest barriers I’ve come upon in the most recent month of my life is keeping focus on what I’m working towards.  It’s so difficult to go into each day with a clear understanding of what you need to do if you don’t write things down.  Sure, I’d like to post a blog every other week (at the minimum, really) but when I don’t take the time to actually brainstorm ideas physically – on a piece of paper – then I don’t really have anything holding me accountable.  This leads me to surf the net, read manga, watch movies, or otherwise lead an unfocused day or evening.

Alexander Heyne, from Milk The Pigeon, explains that there are four steps to a structured morning routine (besides shower, shit and shave):

  1. Know what you want
  2. Know why you want it
  3. Visualize what you want
  4. Affirm what you want

Since I don’t intend to plagiarize him much further, I have my own explanation of why his mindset works:  Momentum, Inertia and Focus.  Since I like to actually define keywords, instead of leaving them up for the reader to decide, here’s their definitions below:

Momentum

force or speed of movement; impetus, as of a physical object or course of events:

Inertia

the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force.

Focus

to direct one’s attention or efforts

The problem with us humans is that we don’t live life in a vacuum.  There are constant forces acted upon us every frickin’ day.  Our bosses want us to accomplish several tasks, we get hungry and thirsty, we have very real biological needs, the daily allure of the internet trash sites, and the almighty “Honey Do” list.

Imagine that your life is a blank to-do list as you go into your day.  There are some obvious things you’re going to need to do that don’t get filled in like showering, driving to work, opening up your laptop and then flipping open email.  But what next?  You have nothing planned, so you are going to follow the path of least resistance.  Guess what that path is going to be?  Doing what other people ask you to do.  Sure, it’s work so there’s going to be a modicum of doing what people ask of you.  But because you set no goals – or had any idea of something you would like to accomplish – your day is going to feel empty.  Feeling empty every day is not fun.

I have good news, though.  You can quickly rebound from your days of feeling empty and without gratitude.  You can find that inner compass and follow it this time.  You’ll be excited about the days you’re living because you have chosen the path!  But first you have to start somewhere.

Something strange happens when you start thinking about changing your life everyday.  For me it started off as melancholy, a slow passing of the days while yearning for the horizon.  There was a lot of doubt, there were some tears, a lot of failing to launch.  There were days I asked myself “How did I get here?”  There was even a period that I would very much attribute as depression.  I wish I could tell you that this period was unnecessary, but I would be lying.

During this time I was soul searching, playing out scenarios in my head and in my heart.  I repeatedly contemplated the things I love and wrote them down on paper.  They never changed, but I didn’t take action!  It was then I realized that I had to strip off my fears, one by one, by actually tackling the demons that haunt me.  It’s the slow, small actions that count, and eventually build up your speed.

I’m not going to get technical about what to do, I’m not the expert on goal-setting.  BUT I will tell you this:  One thing will lead to another.  Start off with your basics and work your way up – hell, I’m sure even the pyramids started off with some dude making a sketch of what he wanted it to look like.  What I’m saying is start off with your vision, feel it, live it.  Then take the first step, then the next one.  You will be running with it once you get going!  That’s the power of momentum.

By constantly reflecting on your actions, and maintaining focus, you will find that your inner compass can guide you forward.  There’s a reason why we can’t predict the future:  We haven’t created it yet.  Quite honestly, it’s up to you, unless you leave it to someone else.  So again, reflect on what you’ve done, and focus on what you can do next.  If your goal is rebuild your car, you have to come up with an inventory of what needs replaced or upgraded.  Once you have your inventory, you must logically define what makes sense to replace next.  It’s not ideal to buy new tires first if you’re going to get new rims eventually – you’ll have to pay someone to take the new tires off of the old rims when you could have gotten the rims and tires as a package!

Once you start on your path of action and reflection, you will find yourself in a state of inertia.  It will be difficult to dissuade you from veering off path, because every day you have started by affirming the actions of the day, or week, or year.  The items on your list will feel important, and empowering, motivating you to complete them.  The experience learned from the small steps you have taken will enable you to complete the more difficult tasks.  Repeating small steps will take less time, and that’s exactly what building momentum does for you – it makes you hard to stop!

Live vicariously my friends, but remember to take action as well.

Man. Vicarious.

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