When you’re in the groove on something like exercise, reading, or working on a long-term project, it can feel great. Losing momentum, on the other hand, is painful. Yet, there are advantages to losing momentum, like the realization that you need to change direction on a project, or the freedom to remain stopped altogether. Losing momentum can give you clarity on what’s most important to you.
But when you stop doing things that are important to you—those commitments you swore to yourself to keep—you can find yourself on the dark side of lost momentum. That’s when we’re hit with three big costs:
- Effort. Newton’s First Law of Motion says a matter at rest stays there, meaning it takes more force to get something moving than to keep it moving. That’s inertia. We all know how hard it is to pick up an abandoned exercise program, writing regime, or sales networking discipline. Starting over again—especially if you’ve lost ground on the thing you were doing—can be discouraging.
- Compounding disinterest. Once you’ve lost momentum on something, it becomes increasingly easier to ignore it again. That’s why it’s so hard to get back to a regular workout routine once it’s lost. It’s already been (however long it’s been), so what’s another day? Compounding disinterest makes it easier to put off reengaging the longer you’re away from it.
- Self-trust. Perhaps one of the biggest costs to lost momentum is the hit you take to yourself. Losing momentum can cause you to doubt yourself and whether you really have what it takes to follow through on what you’ve said is important. If it’s so important, why can’t I trust myself to get it done? Left unchecked, that self-doubt can descend into shame–the disengagement that comes from feeling you’re utterly and hopelessly defective. But the truth is, you’re not enough. And that’s good news. Here’s why.
So, how do you move past the dark side of momentum and get going again? And, perhaps more to the point, how can you do it so that you don’t slide back off again in the future?
I’ll cover that in my next post.
Comment below: What are some of the costs you’ve seen when you’ve lost momentum?