Do you ever have days where it’s impossible to take action on a task? Do you get stuck in a negative spiral that you can’t get out of?
These are two examples of this negative spiral in motion:
You tell yourself you’ll study tonight, then the night comes and you push it off for tomorrow. But when tomorrow comes, you tell yourself you’ll do it later. You become frustrated you procrastinated the past two days, and stress to the point where you can’t focus. So, you push off studying another day. Because you haven’t studied, you do poorly on the exam. Now you define yourself as unintelligent and lose motivation the rest of the semester.
These events all happened because of a negative momentum spiral.
Another example is you’re discouraged about not going to the gym the past two weeks. So, you let another week go by without working out. The next week you’re scared you’re going to be too sore if you go, so you stay at home. Then you’re upset you’re not working out so you decide to eat unhealthy comfort food. Now you define yourself as out of shape, so you become slightly depressed.
Also, everything in this story came from a negative momentum spiral.
Whatever the scenario, negative momentum is a powerful force on your mind and body. I hope you understand how a couple of steps in the wrong direction, and a negative mindset, can lead to problems we couldn’t imagine.
However, positive thoughts and actions create positive momentum, which is just as powerful (or more powerful) than negative momentum. And when you harness positive momentum, you’ll be empowered to accomplish the tasks in your way.
Create Positive Momentum
Once you set a goal (like studying for a test, going to the gym, etc.), the following three steps are crucial to create positive momentum to push you to greater heights:
1. Immediately take action. Don’t wait for a light-bulb in your head to go off, a special sign from the world, or what you imagine is “perfect timing.” In reality, there is always going to be an excuse to put something off and avoid getting out of your comfort zone. But, each moment we procrastinate gives dangerous power to negative momentum.
Identify the first action step, and execute it. Analyze how it went, and possibly make adjustments. Then repeat this process for step two and the rest of the steps.
A tilt of positive energy can go a long way. For example, think of the snowball effect, where a tiny snowball gains size and speed as it goes down a hill. As the snowball keeps moving from the top of the hill to the bottom, it continues small wins after small wins. The snowball didn’t magically start small and instantly become huge. The same lesson applies to your goal.
3. Maintain reasonable expectations early on. Don’t expect unrealistic results in the beginning, because disappointment can crush your motivation. Then, you won’t achieve anything if you quit early. Also, it’s troublesome to compare your achievements to someone who has three more years of experience. Remember how they also started from scratch and were once in the same position as you.
If you need to make a comparison, compare your progress after three weeks from when you started. Focus your mind on progress. Let your expectations naturally grow as your positive momentum and experience grows.
Different Actions And Different Results
Positive momentum can completely change the two negative stories in the introduction to success stories, like these examples:
You start to tell yourself you’ll put off studying until tonight, but then you remember the potential dangers of this decision. So, you get over your feelings of not wanting to study, and decide to only collect the material for your exam: just to get the ball rolling. Since you’re already in front of the material, you choose to study the first two chapters.
Then you follow the Chip Away Method to ace your exam. Now you define yourself as intelligent and work hard academically the rest of the semester.
In another example, you’re discouraged about not going to the gym the past two weeks. But, because you know the power of positive momentum, you take a stand and go to the gym today. You reason this discouraged feeling will only get worse if you don’t go, and going to the gym now will only make it easier in the future. You enjoy your workout.
Then you go the following day and meet a workout partner. Now you define yourself as actively getting more fit and a regular gym-goer. These positive vibes plus the dopamine from working out leave you feeling great.
The Choice Is Yours
I hope you saw how just as your negative thoughts and actions can pile on to create a major problem, positive thoughts and actions can build up to create an incredible achievement. The choice is all in your mind.
So, do you want to think and act negatively or positively about the steps required to reach your goal?
If you want a life of struggle and regrets, choose a negative mindset and inactivity. If you want to enjoy a fulfilling life, choose a positive mindset and action.
Related: Positivity Challenge
Readers, what are your experiences being in a rut? What times in your life did you notice you built momentum day-by-day? What helped you build this momentum? Any other thoughts on the topic?