The definitive guide to building lasting momentum
It’s Wednesday morning, 5:00am.
I’m pumped to start working. I did not hit the snooze button, and had no intention to.
For the past few days, I’ve felt it. I felt something was changing. Something positive was building up inside my mind.
The reason I hadn’t written much on that topic in the past few months is not because it was an untrue statement, on the contrary, it’s extremely powerful!
But I had lost it and couldn’t get it back.
Wanna know if you’ve ever felt it — True Momentum?
Have you seen the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper? To a smaller degree, that’s how True Momentum feels.
But don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy to reach it. In Bradley’s case, he “cheated” with NZT. I’m talking about legit stuff here. Building it yourself. Doing everything you can to build it up.
Before we get into the guide on how to build it for yourself, here’s how I would define True Momentum in practical terms:
True Momentum is when you’re so invested in something that going in the opposite direction has become very difficult. Moving forward happens more easily and at a better pace.
It’s like pushing a boulder down a hill. At first, it goes slowly, but as it goes down the slope, it goes faster and faster, to a point where stopping it becomes much harder. It’s near-unstoppable.
Now that I’ve got True Momentum for the third time, it made me want to revisit the topic. I want to give you a definitive guide on how to build it yourself.
I wasn’t completely right in my first story on the subject back in January. I couldn’t see at the time. But now that I had lost it badly and regained it, I have a better idea of how it works to get it, and I’ll give you as many hands-on tips I can.
In this story, I’ll put other linked stories in-line, but please read the whole story first, then you can revisit the ones that interest you most. It’s better to keep the flow of reading.
Suggested Stories For After:
23 Key Principles For Building True Momentum
I’ll start by saying that doing everything on that list is near-impossible. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to building True Momentum, it’s a combination of many of the following things, and what works for one person may not for another.
So here’s how I would plan this if I were you:
- Read the suggestions below and note those you think you can implement easily, or already have.
- Try to implement them for 1 month straight.
- At the end of the month, take note of what worked and what didn’t.
- Read this guide again, start from 1.
It’s an iterative process, like most things in life. You won’t get it right the first time.
You’ll know it once you’ve reached True Momentum.
The list below is not in any particular order, pick and choose from there.
And take note of this very important thing:
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.” — Zig Ziglar
You have to keep doing the things on this list to have lasting True Momentum. I lost it twice. I’ll lose it again. It’s inevitable. But I’ll do everything I can to keep it as long as I can!
1. Keep or Make Good Habits, Drop The Bad Ones
This is the starting point, and most likely the most important one. Habits are strong. We’re creatures of habits. Good or bad. Keep the good ones. Make new, better ones. Drop the negative or ineffective ones.
- The Power of Habits, by Charles Duhigg
- Willpower Doesn’t Work, by Benjamin P. Hardy
- Getting COMFY, by Jordan Gross
2. Reading Uplifting Content Before Going To Bed
Don’t let yourself go to bed in a bad mood, or by filling your brain with “crap”. I understand that you need to decompress before going to bed. I completely get that.
But what you do before bed affects how you wake up, and the state of mind you’re going to be in for the first part of the day.
My top recommendation here is to read biographies or self-help books. I find them so uplifting. It’s always nice to hear that even the inspiring people in our lives are just as imperfect as we are, sometimes even more so.
- Any biographies. I personally really like Tai Lopez’s book recommendations: https://www.tailopez.com/books.php
- Tribe of Mentors, by Tim Ferriss
- 31 Stories To Motivate and Inspire You To Work Harder And Build Momentum, by Danny Forest
In Need Of Motivation? Try These Simple Tried And True Productivity Tips
Think about this simple idea: Productivity leads to wins. Wins lead to momentum. Momentum makes you unstoppable. Being…medium.com
3. Listen To Uplifting Music, Podcasts And People
It might seem strange, but my most productive days seem to be when I’m dancing to music on my chair. Great music puts me in flow state. I feel like I can do anything!
In terms of podcasts, nothing gets me more than the Tim Ferriss Show.
For people, I like to listen to people smarter than I around myself. Or TED talks.
4. Keep Inspiring Quotes Near You
Quotes are insanely powerful. One thing I had realized early on when I started writing was that things people highlighted most in my stories were the quotes I put in them.
And I get it. People far smarter than me have said far smarter things I have.
Reading at least one good quote a day puts you in the right mood. Keep it on your fridge/desk. Let it be in your face as frequently as possible.
The one I kept the longest the last time I had True Momentum was this one:
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” — Markus Aurelius
5. Work Out, Even If Just A Little
The best months of my life was when I was doing physical activity. I was feeling great in my body.
I’ve always been a skinny guy, but when I’m working out and seeing even small gains in muscles, I feel incredible.
Whatever your goals are health-wise, be active, measure every little gain, and keep going.
- Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Story, By Arnold Schwarzenegger
6. Have Monthly Goals And Track Them
New Year resolutions suck. They’re near-impossible to achieve.
Monthly goals, on the other hand, are excellent. Committing to goals for a month is doable, and leads to building great habits. It’s great to experiment and see what works for you, and what doesn’t.
7. Make A Clear Task List
I work on at least 4 projects on a daily basis. A lot of people would say this is insane and counter-productive, and they would be mostly right.
I’ve been disorganized and lost many times. I was using simple To Do lists and had a really hard time tracking my progress on the various projects.
A few weeks ago, I started using TeamWeek and my productivity sky-rocketed!
TeamWeek is basically a Gantt chart. The colours are different project. You can see a lot of tasks in there. But you’re missing about half of them…
- Getting Things Done, by David Allen
8. Aim Freaking High
Always make your lists bigger than you can chew. We, as humans, like comfort. If we allow ourselves to be comfortable, we end up doing close to nothing.
Make your lists big. But make sure the tasks are small and achievable. I have about 15–20 things to do every day. Most are 10 minute tasks.
If I aim to accomplish 10 tasks. I will. And I will be “satisfied”. Now if I aim to accomplish 20 tasks and complete 15–18 of them, I’ll be pumped. I won’t see time go by and the dopamine rush I’ll get rush for accomplishing so much will strongly contribute to building that True Momentum up.
9. Prepare Your Next Day The Night Before
What I’m proposing you here is to simply make a list of things you want to accomplish for the next day a few hours before bed, and then review it shortly before “calling it a night”.
Don’t make it too complex. Just a simple list. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. I usually come up with a list of anywhere between 10–20 things to do.
Here’s what happens when you prepare your next day the night before:
While you sleep, your subconscious is “working on” things you “fed it” before going to bed. When you feed it with things you want to accomplish for the next day, it will “prepare” you for them.
10. Write For Yourself
Writing has been a powerful medium for me to express myself. I never knew I had so much to say, let alone inspire people along the way.
I did it for myself, really.
Yet putting all my thoughts in writing has been a phenomenal way to free my mind and think clearly, ultimately leading to some momentum.
Should You Write One Story A Day? Here’s What I Learned From The Last Two Months
I really didn’t want to write yet another post about “writing a story a day”. Many people have done that before me.medium.com
11. Delegate To People You Trust
This is WAY underrated! I thought people who delegated were lazy. I didn’t get the 4-Hour Workweek the first time I read it.
There was a guy I worked with who was so proud of letting others do the work for him. Turns out he was secretly a genius.
There are so many things I was doing that could easily be done by someone either more qualified, or with more time doing simpler things.
Since I hired my assistant in February, I was able to focus on the things I’m good at, and have increased my productivity up to 10x.
12. Have A Semi-Strict Routine
My wife hates my daily schedule/routine. It’s pretty obsessive indeed. But damn it works. The more I stick to it, the more productive I am.
I tweak it every month. Here’s what it looks like for this month:
As you can see, most items in the list are not *that* detailed. I don’t say what I’ll be working on, what my workout is, what I’ll be eating, etc — that changes every day.
13. Don’t Stop When It Hurts
How do you build muscles? You continue when it starts hurting.
And you know what? That’s how you grow in anything in life. No pain no gain.
If you stop when it’s hard, you just wasted valuable energy and will NOT build momentum. Recognize when you’re in a dip, and then get out of it!
- The Dip, but Seth Godin
14. Surround Yourself With Motivated People
Here’s one of my favourite quote of all times:
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn
This is so true.
I seek mentors. I seek positive people. I seek people who get stuff done.
I can only work from co-working spaces, mostly because of that. This, along with delegating, are the main cause for intense productivity.
Suggested co-working spaces
- The Living Room, by Ben Kolp
- AngkorHUB, by Jeff Laflamme, AngkorHUB
- ProjectSpaces, by Jeffrey Howard
- WeWork, by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey
15. Walk To Work, and Limit Wasted Time
Walking to work is one of the most “meditative” things you can do. Going in, you can prepare for what’s to come. Going out, you can disconnect from work.
When back home, analyze how you spend your time. We all waste time on “useless” things. And I’m not saying to not watch TV or play video games, but realize that there’s a time when you need it, and a time when it’s a waste.
Analyze How You Spend Your Time, And You will Realize There Is Plenty Of Free Time
Last night I saw one of my brothers for the first time in 6 months. It was really nice catching up with him.medium.com
16. Constantly Learn New Things
That’s probably what I’ve written the most about, and what contributed the most to the changes in my life.
“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” ― Robert Greene, Mastery
Everything I’m doing today — my “successes”, my “failures” — it’s all because I had decided I wanted to consciously learn 3 new skills every month back in September 2017.
17. Learn To Power Nap
Power napping is a skill, and it’s hard to master. I’ve mastered it over the years, and it’s been a key ingredient to my productivity.
We can’t be alert 100% of the time during the day. When my energy levels are low, I power nap. Once. Twice. Three times a day! Who cares.
15 minutes after power napping, I’m back in peak state and accomplish so much more than if I didn’t nap.
18. Learn To Meditate and Journal
I knew meditation would be hard when I decided to start doing it. But what I didn’t realize was that it’s a skill and it needs practice. I quickly learned that I had the wrong expectations, and that held me back. Meditation is not about “not thinking”, it’s about being aware.
When I started journaling, I had the preconception that it was a dumb idea and that I wouldn’t have anything to say. I could not have been more wrong. On my first journaling session, I wrote for 3 hours without even noticing.
It’s a powerful tool that frees up your mind and aligns your goals together. You become more aware and focused.
- Willpower Doesn’t Work, by Benjamin P. Hardy
19. Take A Well-Deserved Vacation
It’s hard to brake when your pedal is all the way back. But you know what, sometimes that’s exactly when you need to brake.
You can’t function at peak state when you’re constantly under pressure.
Dare take vacations, you need them!
20. Don’t Be Alone
I’m an introvert. I like solitude. I’m so drained whenever I’m surrounded by people.
But I need to have people around me once in a while, to share my stories, my experiences, my “successes”, my “failures”, etc. Everyone does.
Everyone needs to be uplifted, and you can’t (easily) do it alone.
21. Meet New People, Attend Events, Do Things Outside Of Work
Meeting new people and doing things outside of work is very important both for your sanity and for making important connections.
I voluntarily go out to seek and talk to people that are now helping with some of my projects. And of course, I help in return!
You gotta have things outside of work. You can’t be all work and no play. Work hard, play hard. Cliché I know, but it’s true.
22. Do Good, Be Grateful
I don’t know of anyone who has True Momentum and are not doing good. Doing good is so rewarding and gives you such a high.
And when someone does good to you, be grateful. Gratefulness is almost as powerful as doing good yourself.
23. Celebrate The Small Wins
If you’re like most of us, you don’t get many big wins in a month. It’s hard to keep our motivation when we don’t win frequently. It’s not by accident that people, including myself, rush to video games — you are constantly being rewarded. That’s also why we’re trying to gamify everything now.
So I say to you, every time a small event happens where it could be considered a “win”, acknowledge it. Take note of it. Have a “success” journal. Here’s an example of things I saved yesterday:
That’s it! These are not big wins, but they totally uplifted me, and is the main reason I’m writing on this topic today!
- Reality Is Broken, by Jane McGonigal
Here’s what I suggest you do:
Bookmark this, and refer to it regularly.
Here’s a quick recap of ideas to build True Momentum (makes for a good list on your fridge!):
- Keep or Make Good Habits, Drop The Bad Ones
- Reading Uplifting Content Before Going To Bed
- Listen To Uplifting Music, Podcasts And People
- Keep Inspiring Quotes Near You
- Work Out, Even If Just A Little
- Have Monthly Goals And Track Them
- Make A Clear Task List
- Aim Freaking High
- Prepare Your Next Day The Night Before
- Write For Yourself
- Delegate To People You Trust
- Have A Semi-Strict Routine
- Don’t Stop When It Hurts
- Surround Yourself With Motivated People
- Walk To Work, and Limit Wasted Time
- Constantly Learn New Things
- Learn To Power Nap
- Learn To Meditate and Journal
- Take A Well-Deserved Vacation
- Don’t Be Alone
- Meet New People, Attend Events, Do Things Outside Of Work
- Do Good, Be Grateful
- Celebrate The Small Wins
Be consistent in working towards your goals. Don’t skip. Do. Even when you don’t want to. Every small gain builds your momentum. Momentum makes you unstoppable!
You can do this!
Thanks for reading and sharing! :) Follow me for more similar stories!
First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/how-these-23-key-principles-helped-me-overcome-my-challenges-and-made-me-unstoppable-e68a2a9eb6e1