Motivation Vs. Momentum: How To Use Both To Become A Consistent Powerhouse

You didn’t want to clean your apartment, a spark never hit you to do it, but suddenly you just started sorting your mail, which led to cleaning your counter, and suddenly, you’re cleaning the entire kitchen. And you think, wow… that wasn’t so bad. And before you know it, you’re inspired to clean your entire house.

What started as a little movement gathered into momentum and transformed into motivation.

While motivation is defined as a desire to do something, or how I like to think of it as a *spark* of inspiration and inclination to do the damn thing, momentum is a force created by a sequence of events.

So, can you start with movement and get to motivation? Or do we have to start with motivation in order to become productive?

I’m not going to get all hardcore physics on you, because it’s not my forte. And I’d surely butcher it. But here’s a quick, relevant piece that plays a role in how we can get things done: Newton’s Law of Motion says that a body in motion stays in motion.

For example, let’s say you’re rollerskating down a hill because maybe you’re experiencing a lil quarter-life crisis and need a thrill that doesn’t involve jumping out of a plane.

So you’re going downhill, gainin’ speed, and the force becomes stronger as you go down the hill. You’re like holy sh*t – I’m going fast. I hope I don’t crash. The speed and force between how you’re flowing, you’re not moving your feet much, you can just glide down, and you’re *basically* unstoppable.

It’s not taking any energy, and you’re soaring.

And even if you run into a person *yikes I know* and crash into them. You’re not going to just hit them and fall down right there. You’re likely going to have enough force behind you to continue moving forward before crashing.

When you gather speed and energy into what you’re doing, and you’re going-going-going, you’re going to gain momentum. The force carries you forward, without much efforting. You’re not working hard to keep it going, and it builds as you go.

So, when motivation isn’t striking you, can’t you use momentum to guide you into motivation?

It all starts with movement, AKA taking action.

With me?

Okay, so let’s dive into how to use the sequence of movement to momentum to motivation to become a consistent powerhouse who gets things done, even on the laziest of days.

When motivation fails

The #1 question I get from readers, and when I coach women who want to start their online business is…

How do you stay motivated?

They believe that they need to stay motivated in order to achieve their goals.

I don’t agree, and here’s why.

I believe it’s a myth we buy into to convince ourselves that we’re just not invested enough in our goals. “I’m just not motivated enough” or “I must not want it enough because I don’t feel that spark.”

When the reality is more complicated than that.

Yes, finding that thing that keeps you motivated regularly is important. When you have a big why (and intrinsic motivation), we’ll get into that, it’s killer for your long-term productivity.

But motivation still ebbs and flows, and there’s a lot more that keeps us stuck than just motivation.

Can you guess what the #1 most powerful motivator is?

It’s fear.

Fear of losing something.
Fear of missing out.
Fear of not being successful.
Fear of letting your parents down.

But do you know what also keeps us from getting motivated?

Yep, you guessed it. It’s also fear.

Fear of not having what it takes to make something successful.
Fear of getting rejected.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of not being taken seriously.
Fear of putting yourself out there, and hearing crickets.

We have experiences that have shaped us and built into our motivation seeking tendencies.

There are two main types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Basically, you can sum up the two with intrinsic = inner will, and extrinsic = based out outside rewards.

Intrinsic motivation looks like:

  • Decluttering your home, because you enjoy a clean space
  • Drinking lots of water to stay hydrated and healthy
  • Writing blog posts, because you enjoy sharing your perspective
  • Working out, because you like staying active

Extrinsic motivation looks like:

  • Getting a job, so that you can make money
  • Doing a homework assignment because your professor instructed you to do it
  • Getting your doctoral degree just to make your parent’s proud
  • Signing up to run a marathon, so you can impress your friends on the ‘gram

According to the Self-Determination Theory, intrinsic motivation comes from three things:

  • Mastery
  • Autonomy
  • Purpose

We’re internally motivated when we feel like we can do something and do it well, when we have ownership over what we’re doing (without outside influence), and when something gives us meaning.

Intrinsic motivation is going to keep us more fulfilled long-term. It’s going to give us a sense of meaning to our lives, and that’s what we should lean on to keep fueling our motivation.

That said, sometimes we’re not able to get motivated, because we don’t have any momentum.

Everything feels overwhelming. We don’t feel like we have control over anything. And that’s where fear comes crashing in.

  • There is so much to do.
  • What if I’m just lazy?
  • My life is a mess right now.
  • I just can’t get it together.

When I’m in this spiral, it feels impossible to get out. And it’s likely that without creating a momentum-boosting routine, I could be stuck in this place for weeks at a time.

How To Kickstart this Movement – Momentum – Motivation Train

Start with movement and don’t look at the bigger picture.

Going back to the example of cleaning your entire apartment – how many times have you thought, “I need to clean this apartment” and felt overwhelmed to the point of taking zero action?

Yeah, because the full picture is overwhelming. Where do you start? How many hours will it take you? What if you have something else better to do? All these questions and doubts come flooding through.

One of the greatest parts of a momentum strategy is that it builds off of one small action and allows you to coast down from there.

So, how do you start?

Just put on the skates. Allow the flow to happen to you as you start moving and taking action, from one task to the next.

Instead of waiting for the spark, you start taking action first until you get the spark.

And eventually, because you build up the momentum, you’ll start doing more. The motivation will start to follow, because you’ll have stimulated your sense of control. 

You no longer feel powerless over your to-do list, or the goals you set for yourself, because it feels more achievable. It feels like you can master the goal, which is one of the core aspects of intrinsic motivation.

When it comes to getting things done, we want a sense of feeling like we can accomplish it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

We want that intrinsic motivation to kick in. We can get ourselves to that feeling of mastery, autonomy and purpose that makes us feel motivated to meet our goals. And then, we’re unstoppable.

So, instead of seeking motivation first and waiting for that spark, kickstart it by taking action – and see how you flow and gain traction toward your goals.

You got this.

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