Monday, December 19, 2011

What To Do When You Lose Momentum

If you have been stuck and started to do what I suggest and start doing thirty day challenges, then you will notice that after you do a few, you will start to create some momentum and be able to do each successive thirty day challenge a lot easier than the one before. This momentum is created once you start to see some successes no matter how small they are. Eventually, something might happen that disrupts your rhythm and slows or stops your momentum. When this happens, what do you do?

Losing momentum usually happens for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that you might encounter a roadblock you didn't expect. Once you run into it, you might not be able to overcome it for any number of reasons. The second most common reason is that you weren't mentally tough enough to keep the momentum going you started. Maybe this was because you thought you had more mental strength than you thought and tried to accomplish to much at once.

The second reason is a lot like going to the gym. You work out for a few weeks. Maybe you can bench press 100 pounds. One day you go to the gym and psych yourself up and convince yourself that from this point forward you will now bench 150 pounds. The first day in the gym, you get through about 5 reps of 150 and discover you can't go any farther. You weren't as strong as you thought.

The same goes for mental strength. When you attempt to challenge your brain with tasks that weighed more than your brain could lift, you'll experience failure and lose momentum.

That's why I am a big believer in progressive resistance. Each day or week or month, incorporate small changes by adding a small number of tasks to what you do every day. These small changes are more like adding one pound instead of fifty. They don't require  huge amounts of mental strength to complete yet over time, create a more mentally tougher you.

As far as the first reason goes. If you encounter a roadblock you didn't anticipate, start asking yourself what you could do to prevent or overcome that roadblock.

For example, this past week, I had a problem with internet access. In my routine, I couldn't complete my podcast because I didn't have it. So I asked myself what could I do to prevent a problem like that in the future, and the one thing I came up with is that I could work ahead a few days. If I did that, an occasional hiccup in internet access would go unnoticed by my readers.

In either case, once you lose momentum, make sure you have a pre-established "bar" or minimum number of tasks you will complete every day. Don't go below that as you add new tasks.

The very next day, start back up. If that proves to hard, then back off and add smaller amounts of additional tasks to your mental strength training.

I like to get right back at it the next possible change I get. If you aren't able to do that, then my fall back would be to restart at the beginning of a month a new push towards increasing your mental strength.

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Michael Kuhn

Black Belt Project: Build Mental Strength