Maintain momentum


"An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force."

I'm not a student of physics but the part of Newton's First Law that I always think of is that an object in motion stays in motion.

How often have you started something, stopped it (for a good reason or a not-so-good reason), and then had an incredibly difficult time restarting? I've talked to countless people who have experienced this this with running, dieting, journaling, exercising, sleeping well and all sorts of other good habits they're trying to build.

My advice is to maintain momentum. No matter what.

A friend of mine has come to the conclusion that she really has to run every day so she's not constantly calculating when she should go. But she's not always able to run, due to lack of childcare, weather, etc. She had an a-ha moment when she realized that even if she can't go for a full run, just the simple act of getting into running gear will help her maintain the habit. Or if she can't go for a run, she can at least go for a walk with the kids. Or if she can't run for 45 minutes, she might still be able to run for 5 minutes. All these would help her keep her momentum.

I've done this with writing my blog posts. I write on weekday mornings, usually from 6:20 to 6:40. If I have to leave the house earlier than usual and my routine is thrown off, I still open up my laptop and do something for the blog, even if it's for just 2 minutes. I might decide on my next topic, select a photo, or write a sentence or two. This helps me maintain the momentum of writing every weekday morning. And on days when I'm just not feeling it, I still just keep writing because out of bad writing often comes good writing. It's all about momentum.

I work out at a fitness center every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. When I was first building the habit, I made sure that if I knew I couldn't get there one of those days, I went on Tuesday or Thursday instead to keep momentum. Now that my habit has been in place for almost a year, I don't run the same risk of falling out of the habit. But I still don't want to lose momentum. So when I knew I would be out for an HR conference on Friday, I told the owner of the center and my workout friends, "See you Monday!" That way, there was no way I was going to miss working out on two consecutive workout days, because I had already said I would be there.

The other positive of maintaining momentum in workouts is it helps me stick to my goal of eating healthier, because why would I want to undo all the hard work I'm doing at the fitness center by having another scoop of ice cream? That's another truth about momentum. Often once you build energy in one area, you're able to create energy in other areas too. Exercising can lead to healthier eating. Healthier eating can lead to cleaning your closets. Cleaning your closets can lead to starting a new business. The possibilities are plentiful.

There will also be plenty of temptation to stop. Do yourself a favor and maintain momentum. Channel your inner Dory from Finding Nemo, and sing to yourself, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

And then just keep going.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."

    - Henry David Thoreau