Music Monday: Motivation vs. Momentum

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote my Stretch on what Tom and I had learned on our quest to renew our health. One of the things we’ve implemented successfully has been to get movement and exercise into every day. After two months, it feels weird if we don’t get some exercise, but it didn’t start out that way.

Breaking bad habits can be hard. Ten years ago, I’d lost 40 pounds with exercise, smaller food portions, a daily meditation practice, and healthy eating. I was able to maintain my ideal weight. I was physically strong and mentally focused. I loved the way I looked and the way I felt.

But in the last few years I’d allowed other priorities to creep in to my daily routine. I stopped putting my own health and well-being first every day and instead put my business, clients, children, and an endless to-do pile at the top of the list… all the while thinking, “I’ll get back to it when all of this is done.” Of course, it was never “done” and so it never happened. The only thing that did happen was the creation of a new bad habit which was reinforced the longer I continued down the path.

Now I was back to hating the way I looked. I felt sluggish, weak, and discouraged. I desperately wanted my old, healthy self back.

Given my past experience, it wasn’t that I didn’t know how to do it or that I had any doubt I could do it. And, it surely wasn’t a lack of motivation on my part. So, what was it? Why couldn’t I get off dead center? I’ve determined it wasn’t a lack of motivation but a severe lack of the other “M” word: Momentum.

My business coach, Mark LeBlanc, has a saying: “Consistency beats commitment…” which he often reminds me of when I’m slipping back off the habits that created our current success. In other words, we can say we are committed to a goal but without taking daily steps consistently toward that goal, our resolve isn’t enough. The same is true for motivation and momentum.

Motivation, like commitment, is tied to a feeling or an intention. Momentum, like consistency, is tied to action. Action is what creates results, not intentions.

What Tom and I discovered is that once we got a few days of early morning walks under our belts… we were on a roll. We had momentum. After a week, we increased our distance. After another week, we increased our speed. By the end of two months, we were craving our walks and adding more kinds of exercise to it. Some days all we can get in is 15 minutes in the evening before dinner. When I have a travel day for work, sometimes all I can do is walk around the airport and take the stairs a couple of times while waiting for my flight to board… but we get it in. We have momentum.

And our momentum feels so good, we didn’t want to break it with excuses. So, we’ve supported each other, created a new habit, and continued to push the edges of that habit together.

Where do you need momentum in your work or life? All that’s required for momentum is just to start… no matter how small. Just start. And the next day, just start again. Pretty soon you’ll find, as we have, that a new habit is formed, and your momentum is carrying you farther than any motivation ever would have long-term.

So, this week, get going! Take a small step. And the next day… take another one. Get the boulder moving even if it’s just ever so slight… you’ll be building momentum. Then hold on because the change will accelerate, and you’ll quickly find yourself racing full speed ahead toward your dreams. Just like our song choice for this Music Monday, you’ll definitely be… “On a Roll!”

Sugarland: On A Roll

Got my hands in my pocket
Got a heart like a rocket
Man a train couldn’t stop it today
I got a smile like the sunshine
Eyes closed, keeping time
My feet know the beat and the way

Can’t hold this down
We own this town
Done walking round
From now on

I’m on a roll, babe
Watch me go, babe
I’m solid gold, babe
Of good things getting better
Life is short, but so sweet
So cut the cake and let’s eat
Right next to me is where you wanna be
I just can’t stop
I’m on a roll
I’m on a roll

Got my headphones thumping
Feel my blood start to pump
And ain’t it something when the rhythm’s insane
It’s like the whole world’s dancing
I hold it in my hand
Like a kid that is ready to play

My mirror ball
It shines and spins
Even if it falls
I still win

‘Cause it can roll, babe
Watch me go, babe
I’m solid gold, babe
Of good things getting better
Life is short, but so sweet
So cut the cake and let’s eat
Right next to me is where you wanna be
I just can’t stop
I’m on a roll
I’m on a roll

I’m on a roll babe
I wanna reach out and touch your soul, babe
I’m like a southern Baptist preacher, babe
I got enough of that in me that I can reach you, babe
I’m thinking up speed, hit the gas go fast
‘Cause there’s nothing more fun to me
I just love it how lucky I am, kiss the dice
Ace of spades, remember the third grade
You on fire, gotta stop, drop…

And roll, babe
Watch me go, babe
I’m solid gold, babe
Of good things getting better
Life is short, but so sweet
So cut the cake and let’s eat
Right next to me is where you wanna be
I just can’t stop

I’m on a roll babe
Watch me go babe
I’m solid gold babe
Of good things getting better
Life is short but so sweet
So cut the cake and let’s eat
Right next to me is where you wanna be
I just can’t stop
I’m on a roll

I’m on a roll, roll, roll
I’m on a roll
I’m on a roll