Build momentum to motivate yourself

You don't wan't to break your momentum chain..

Calendar being crossed of with red crosses

Wow, it’s now been about 1 month since I started writing this blog and I’m amazed by the feedback I’m getting and people liking my page and sharing my posts. It is really motivating to do something when you see that other people are enjoying your effort. (hint: If you want to see more quality content from me you should like the Facebook page and share it to your friends 😉 )

Enough fishing for likes…

So it’s been a crazy weekend with lots of events and I kind of fell off my track with posting =(

Last week I wrote 1 post a day and then over the weekend nothing.. And in the one month I’ve been doing this I’ve crammed out 16 posts, so I’m quite happy with the result and how easy it is to write. (Hopefully also easy to read)

This brings me on to a though about motivating yourself by building up a momentum.

Build momentum

It’s kind of like when you roll a snowball up a hill: it will be hard at first, but once you come to the tipping point it’s all downhill from there.

The reason I was able to post once a day without fail was that I had built up a momentum; I did not want to break my “posting-spree”. Then I had plans for the weekend and couldn’t find time to write anything or even sit in front of the computer.

Enough excuses… Now I’ll just have to get back on the horse again and continue rockin’ it!

Building momentum will bring you in to a positive feedback-loop, where you are rewarded (mentally) for completing the task, which will in turn motivate you to keep on track.

You will be motivated not to break your momentum and still keep on working towards your target.

Make a calendar and track your progress

Jerry Seinfeld had a calendar where he crossed of every day that he had written a joke. By keeping this calendar visible he would see his chain of X’s and stay motivated not to break the chain.

“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”

And if you want to stop with a bad habit it also helps you stay off because you will think: “I haven’t done something for Y days, why start again now?”.

Extending the calendar idea

This calendar idea can be extended further to allow tracking of several tasks and habits at the same time. You’ll just have to remember not to start doing too many things at once. Rather build up one habit and then later on add more once you’ve gotten consistent with the existing tasks.

Here’s what I did: I got a small whiteboard that I kept next to my computer desk, and on it I drew some lines to get a spreadsheet. In the top row I put all the tasks/habits I wanted to keep track of and in the first column I put the upcoming dates.
Then as I went along living my life I just checked off the things I had gotten done.

screenshot of a spreadsheet tracking my progress

Screenshot of example spreadsheet

Later when the whiteboard got full I just manually copied it into an excel document. (If you are really advanced here you can track your progress over time with how many % of the cells are checked etc.)

You can of course also just keep this information in an excel document. But then you won’t be reminded about it all the time unless you keep it open in the background. Still not as effective though.

This is a simple, yet effective way to stay motivated.

What to track?

Well this should actually be up to you and what your goals are.. But since I’m a nice person I’ll give you some tips on things that will be healthy for you:

  • Workout
  • Read / Listen to audio books
  • Play an instrument
  • Sleep enough
  • Watch a TED talk per day
  • Maintain hygiene, clean your apartment etc
  • Do something productive
    • Write a post
    • Do homework
    • Finish up assignments

This list can go on for ages but these are some personal favorites.

What are you aiming to do on a daily basis?