There’s a funny thing about momentum, once it builds up, it’s hard to stop it. Of course, if you’ve taken a science or physics course, you’re thinking “Duh.” That’s a basic principal. Yeah, there’s all these great fundamental laws about an object in motion, velocity, or centrifugal force, but how many of us think of that object as a dream? You begin forward movement on that dream until you’ve got a healthy momentum going, and it’s rather difficult to bring it all to a halt. You’ve trained yourself that this is the new normal. This idea goes along with the saying that it takes 21 days (or 30 days, or however many days) to create a habit. That’s great, but lots of us think of habits as something we need to quit. For many people there’s negative emotion around the word habit. So I’ve decided to rephrase it. I don’t need to create a habit, I need to create Momentum.
This month I’ve been working on a meeting a challenge called the “1,000 Word March.” A couple of my friends and fellow writers put this challenge together and it’s been great to see people logging their word counts. Even on the days when they don’t hit that 1k. I think it’s those missed days that inspire me the most. That even when we miss the mark, the momentum we’ve been building means we’re still trying every day. We’re showing up truthfully, and without fear of judgment, saying, “I may not have written 1,000 words today, but I’m here and I’m still trying.” For me that’s powerful.
Another powerful tool is to actually see that momentum, and to understand that every step forward, every word written counts. For me a visual reminder placed where I see it every day works best. So I printed out the month of April, with places to log word counts. Every day I write gets a star. Some days have a gold star which means I wrote over 1k, other days have a red star which means I didn’t even break 500 words. But you know what? It’s the 21st of the month and there isn’t a single day without a star. THAT is the momentum I see and don’t want to break. I can’t just let it slide, because once that day is over, there’s not another chance to earn a star for that space.
Silly little mind hack? Maybe, but it’s working.
I’ve written more than 12,000 words on my novel this month, and almost 4,000 on other creative projects. I’d been at a stand still with the book. I had lots of great ideas, but not much forward movement. Now I can see the novel is almost done and ready for editing. That’s momentum, and I’m not stopping. One more star, one more week of stars, and pretty soon? All those stars mean I’m querying agents to get Vargen on the shelf of your local bookstore. Who knew a gold star could help make dreams come true? 😉
What mind hacks do you use to keep you moving on your goals when you’d rather do something else?