Is there anything in your life you would like to change? Perhaps a habit? Or a goal that you want to accomplish that you believe will make your life better in some tangible ways? Or to change a behavior or mindset that no longer is serving you well?
I have yet to meet a person who is 100% satisfied with everything in their life. We all have dreams, desires, hopes for something better, to improve some area of our lives, to move forward toward a more preferred future.
All of my coaching clients hire me because, though they are already successful people, they have areas they want to work on and move forward and improve–whether it’s developing greater clarity about a job transition, or developing more effective leadership skills, or identifying some personal dreams that they want to pursue to bring more fulfillment and meaning to their already busy lives, or to design a more purposeful and effective spiritual path that brings them greater peace and a sense of groundedness and life balance, or to improve their most important relationships.
In all these cases, one of the issues I emphasize is momentum. Life change develops most effectively when momentum is increased. In other words, once you begin the process of change (whatever the change is) building forward movement toward where you’re wanting to go is crucial to both initiating change and establishing effective and long term change. Momentum.
In fact, one of my clients–an executive in a fast-growing firm in the finance industry–hired me (after interviewing multiple coaches) precisely because I used the word “momentum” in describing what my work with clients is designed to build. That’s exactly what he was wanting for his life.
So let me suggest 3 specific steps you should take to build momentum for the things you want to change or accomplish in your life that truly matter to you.
Step 1: Identify What You Really Want
Setting very specific intentions (goals) is the first crucial step. Make it clear. And make sure it is an authentic expression of your deep desires. Focus first on the feeling you’re wanting to experience that this change or goal will produce.
Why start with your feelings? Because feelings are more powerful intentions than simple behaviors. Feeling actually drive actions. You choose certain behaviors because–if you were to truly analyze it–you want to feel a certain way. Right? So start with the feeling you want.
Then choose behaviors that will get you to that feeling. Specific actions.
Don’t get fixated on one specific action. Truth is, multiple actions can produce the same feeling you’re desiring. Hold tactics (actions) with an open hand. If one isn’t working for you, change to another one. Emphasize the feeling.
Step 2: Break Your Steps Down Into Small, Doable Increments
Sometimes we’re tempted to think too big. And then we get overwhelmed because the goal looms large over our heads. And then we’re tempted to give up.
Successful people know how to break their steps into small increments that are doable on a regular basis.
One of my clients recently, in describing his goal and the process he was using to get there, put it in a very profound way:
“What can I do today to shift the needle by tomorrow?”
I like his emphasis. The word “shift” isn’t talking about some huge, quantum leap forward. It’s a small, even slight movement.
Keep it small and simple. All you’re looking for is a shift in the needle day by day.
Step 3: Take Steps Regularly & Religiously
This is the strategy to building effective momentum. Consistency.
Jim Collins, in one of the most widely read business and productivity books in the last 13 years, Good To Great, calls this process the fly wheel principle. When at first you try to push a huge flywheel, you meet lots of resistance. It’s difficult. Laborious. But you keep pushing and turning the flywheel. With great effort you keep pushing. And with every push and spin, the flywheel begins to pick up momentum. If you stay with this process, ultimately its momentum becomes a self sustaining power that moves it forward, on and on.
“Good to great comes about by a cumulative process–step by step, action by action, decision by decision, turn by turn of the flywheel–that adds up to sustained and spectacular results.” (p. 165)
The amazing thing is that often onlookers, who see what you’ve accomplished, think you’ve gotten there in one big step. They’re impressed and in awe. They congratulate you. They want to know the secret of your success so they ask, “What was the one big push that caused you to get here so fast?”
But those of us doing this kind of work know that that is a nonsensical question. Was it the first push? The second? The fifth? The hundredth? No!
“It was all of them added together in an overall accumulation of effort applied in consistent direction. Some pushes may have been bigger than others, but any single heave–no matter how large–reflects a small fraction of the entire cumulative effective upon the flywheel.” (p. 165)
Summary. Three nonnegotiable steps to creating the kind of momentum that gets you where you want to go: 1) clearly identify what you really want and how you want to feel, 2) break your steps down into small, doable increments, 3) and take those steps regularly and religiously (keep turning the flywheel and don’t stop).
One of the great rewards of my work is creating the space for people where they can engage in this process, giving them accountability and encouragement every step of the way, and then seeing them create the kind of life they truly want.
I see it every time: after pushing on that flywheel in a consistent direction over an extended period of time, they inevitably hit a point of breakthrough. Change happens. Transformation. And they begin experiencing the joy of living the life they truly want, the one that matters most to them.
Action: If you would like to have a short phone conversation with me about how this could work for you with something that you’re feeling the need to address in your life, email me and I’ll work out a time to visit. It could set up the breakthrough you’re really looking for.
Looking for a Speaker or Coach?
If you or someone you know in your organization is looking for a keynote speaker or workshop teacher for events in your company, congregation, or association gatherings, I would be happy to come speak on this theme or others like it. And interested in strengths coaching? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or look at the Speaking or Coaching pages of this site.