The advantages of losing momentum

I haven’t blogged since February of 2018.

You read that right: I’ve been gone from this space for a whole year. Actually, it’s worse than that: the post before that February one was dated five months earlier. What once was a three-times-a-week habit in my life has been set aside for more than 18 months.

The advantages of lost momentum

I didn’t intentionally decide to go on a sabbatical from my blog. Like many decisions in our lives, it just happened that way. I had plenty to keep me busy: building a new digital agency with my son, leading a church as an interim pastor, and co-hosting the BoldIdea Podcast. All good stuff — things I wanted to do.

Sometimes, we have to let something go because we’ve entered a new chapter in our lives. And sometimes other parts of our life take over for a season — our family, our health, work demands — and we have to recognize that we’ve exceeded capacity and need to set something aside. Or we set something aside without really realizing it, until it becomes a habit not to do it anymore. 

Eighteen months ago, it pained me not to issue a post. I felt like I had an obligation to you, my readers. But, frankly, missing my own deadlines to blog, with so much going on, was easier than making the deadlines. The more I missed writing a post, however, the easier it was to keep putting it off. And the more I delayed, the more comfortable I felt with putting it off again. It was as if compound disinterest took over and I lost the momentum I had when I was writing three times a week.

But this accidental sabbatical from blogging has shown me some advantages to losing momentum that I’d never considered before. Stepping back from a habitual activity we may be engaged in seems to me to offer four opportunities:

  1. Opportunity to confirm. When you lose momentum, you gain the opportunity to confirm if WHAT you were doing is still important to you, or if it had just become a habit that you had on autopilot. Sometimes we only do things because we’ve become habitualized to doing them, without really assessing its importance.
  2. Opportunity to clarify. Once you’ve reconfirmed that what you are doing is important to you, you also gain the perspective of WHY it was important to you. Psychologists have routinely discovered that a strong sense of why is needed to persevere under challenging circumstances. Why continually invest in something without having a strong why?
  3. Opportunity to change. Lost momentum can give us the opportunity to change our direction if we need to, or even to change HOW we do things. The distance this space grants allows us to see what’s working, what’s not working, and how we might change it going forward.
  4. Opportunity to claim freedom. Perhaps the biggest advantage to lost momentum is in discovering the freedom you have to do or not do the thing you’ve stopped doing! Maybe something you’ve been doing has gradually become a burden rather than a joy, or maybe it has cost more than you thought it would cost. You have the freedom to choose. You get to say WHEN.

Losing momentum grants us the freedom to step out of a narrative that is no longer working for us, helping us to own our activity as opposed to our activity owning us.

For me, stepping away from blogging granted me space in other areas of my life. My time away also reminded me that this is something that I really want to be doing and something I chose to make time and space for going forward. It’s good to be back, and I’m ready to move forward.

Even so, there was a cost to stepping away. We’ll talk about the dark side of lost momentum in my next post.

Comment below: What advantages have you discovered when you lost momentum on something? Please tell me you’ve lost momentum at one time or another! 😉

8 thoughts on “The advantages of losing momentum

  1. A few years ago I quit sending out a daily bible verse and a word of encouragement to a group of guys. It was hard at first to not send them off and I found that I unfortunately didn’t spend as much time in the word and more time in my job. But lately God has given me a refreshed passion for for doing something new. I’ve learned that stepping away can have other effects on your life if you don’t stay involved in something.

    • Yes, so true, Kim. That’s part of the dark side of losing momentum which I’m planning to cover next. Great example and so glad God’s renewed your passion. Go get ’em. 👊👊

  2. Wow – amazing timing that I stumbled back across your blog yesterday, was impacted by it and now you’re back at it. I loved the phrase “compound disinterest.”

    I think it is easy for us to think what we are doing is so important – and sometimes it is, but other times we need to miss doing that thing to get the real perspective of whether others find it as critical as our own self worth might. If we miss a monthly newsletter is it missed? Or does life just go on until the 2nd month (or the 3rd).

    • So true Rich. I like how you put that, “easy to think that what we’re doing is so important.” If we don’t ever take a pause, we may never really know. Thanks for visiting and for your incisive comment.

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