Yesterday’s post was a brief discussion about the minor role of motivation, and the major role of consistency. While I still stand fully behind that post, it bugged me that it wasn’t really the full picture. The more I reflected on what I wrote, the more I realized that while the spirit of the words about consistency being more important than motivation ring true, it didn’t really speak to the tools needed to get you to a place of consistency.
Life is a constantly changing playing field, and all the pieces that make up your life are constantly in motion including your investment in yourself. Those of you that can recall your school science classes will likely also remember Newton’s 3 laws of motion, and in many ways these laws don’t just apply to physical objects but also to your own mental state.
Lets focus on Newton’s first law, which states:
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction, unless acted upon by an external force.
Applying this “law” to, for example, becoming stronger has two major implications.
First off, until you make a change that initiates the goal of becoming strong (for example, that first clumsy strength training workout, or that scary first initiation at a Crossfit box), you will never make headway towards that goal. This makes absolutely perfect sense, of course. You will not change without an effort that facilitates that change.
The most critical implication of the law, though, comes after the concept of getting started. The key to consistency, and a MUCH more critical component than motivation is that of momentum. Once you apply the energy needed to get started, it is relatively easy to keep going.
The mind “trick” that I use to continue to push myself physically, at work, or in anything I attempt to achieve, is that the important step of getting started is important because it provides the basis for momentum. Knowing in your mind that you can only take advantage of that first (or even the 1000th) strength workout if you use momentum to build on what you have already started makes the consistency aspect almost too easy.
In summary, the final advantage of turning your mind towards focussing on momentum instead of motivation and consistency is that all you need to concern yourself with is the effort you just applied, and the effort you need to apply next time. Nothing else matters, and nothing else is needed to get the results you seek, except time.