Here are a few tips on how to build and maintain momentum from The 99%:
Momentum takes time to build.
As serial entrepreneur Andy Swan has written, one of the most common mistakes is to “set lofty goals from a resting start.” With images of fame and success dancing in our heads, we set the bar too high, fail to make the grade, and quit because we’re discouraged.
Just as you would start training for a marathon by running a few miles and building from there, if you want to write the great American novel, you might start by trying your hand on a short story.
It’s important to set small, realistic goals at first. Challenge yourself, but don’t overdo it. Setting achievable goals, and experiencing incremental success will help you build momentum and confidence.
Carve out consistent time to work on your project.
Particularly if you’re juggling creative work with other commitments, finding regular time to devote to your project in a daily way can be extremely challenging. But there is nothing more important. Consistent execution is paramount: it keeps your head clear and focused; it rewards you with a constant feeling of progress; and, most importantly, it keeps the ball moving forward.
Work on your project every day. No seriously, every day.
In his collection of interviews with painters like Chuck Close, Dana Schutz, Fred Tomaselli, and Julie Mehretu, author and artist Joe Fig observes, “They are successful because they work incessantly. Several work seven days a week.”
When it comes to momentum, frequency of execution is perhaps more important than the duration of execution. Even if you’re working on your project for just an hour a day that’s enough to keep your objectives and recent activities top of mind. Then, when you sit down to work on it again, you can slip quickly back into the flow.
Get some momentum going, don’t be afraid.
Anyone who’s ever been downhill skiing knows about the scary flipside of momentum. We yearn for it, but we’re also afraid of taking it too far. What if we start going too fast? What if we get out of control?