How To Build Momentum

The hardest time on a project is the very start.

Everything is new to you. Your first reaction is nearly always apprehension. You do this naturally because of an ingrained fear of the unknown.


Unknown = fear

Picture this.

You've just been moved to a new role on a different project in work. You know nothing about it. You become defensive almost immediately. You think it will be harder than your last project and your previous role. You feel like you just aren't getting it.

You fear you won't do well, which means you'll loose your job, which means you can't afford your house, which means your family will leave you, which means you'll be all alone in this world.

You tell your boss about your fears in the hope that she will respond by moving you back to your comfort zone. The thought of the unknown keeps you awake at night. Its the first thing you think about in the morning. It's a bad time for you.

You start looking for a new job just in case the worst happens.


Habit = fearless

In meantime you try to make the best of a bad situation. You get some training and you're given tiny pieces of work. You complete them successfully and on time. Then gradually through repeating this process, you begin to feel slightly less uncomfortable. The work gets a bit easier as the days go on. You answer a question or two without running to your mentor.

You've lost that initial fear.

You feel a slight confidence as people start to recognise you as someone that can help. You're of use. Pretty soon you attend meetings and offer advice.

You are by no means an expert, but someone mistakenly identifies you as one. However, it turns out you are able to answer their questions. You lived into someone else's perception of you. You no longer defer to a colleague. You're confident there is little that can trip you up now. You've become a subject matter expert. You have built momentum.

You have started to roll.


Start rocking. The roll will follow.

Building momentum can take time in the beginning, but it will lead to the creation of good habits eventually. Most people don't get this far. This is because the start is the hardest part and also the easiest time to give up. Results are rarely seen in the first throws of effort. Nor in the second, third, forth and fifth. They take time and repeated, unrewarded effort. You need to trust that your effort is making a difference. You can't see it yet, but you will. Once the process becomes a habit, you'll find success.

First you rock the bolder. If you rock long enough and with the right technique, it'll start moving forward. The more it moves the less effort it will take. Once habits are in place they become unforced and natural. The bolder starts rolling without much effort at all.


Here are 5 things to help you build momentum

1. Belief. Nothing great in life is built without a belief that the effort will all be worth it. Lives are taken and saved everyday because of our's a powerful thing. So believe in yourself and your daily habits and you will harness that power to build your own momentum.

2. Grit. Life is tough. Starting out is tough. Making a difference is tough. Show some grit. Grit is more than just displaying resolve. It's about facing the grind and in perverse way enjoying it. Show grit over a long enough period and you will get everything you want.

3. Pause. What ever you're doing right now stop. Have a reality check. Evaluate where you are. It may feel you are not making any headway but trust that you are. Think about what you have achieved so far. Celebrate the tiny moves you have made. Know that it only gets easier with time, repetition and putting good habits in place.

4. Strip. Not literally, and especially not if you're reading this on the 8.15 to Waterloo. Go Back to basics. Strip back anything you don't need physically and mentally. It will let you focus solely on your effort to get your project moving forward. It's like using a magnifying glass instead of a greenhouse to start a fire. 

5. Patience. One day at a time. You need to think small steps. In fact, forget that advice, you need to think tiny steps. You might not be able to make a difference in a day, a week, a month or maybe even a year. But have patience. Be confident in yourself and don't panic. Plan your habits, take action everyday and then reflect on what you have done. 


Once you get your first boulder rolling, you'll never be the same again. When you come up against the next boulder, you'll know that all it takes is a bit of repeated rocking and the roll will follow. 

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