Momentum is Everything
It is impossible to separate success from momentum. Momentum is the act of moving forward. If you really want to find success you have to be moving forward.
Momentum gives us confidence. We have all seen someone who is down on their luck – things always seem to go terribly wrong for them.
If we believe we are going to get bad things, that is exactly what happens.
We have also observed others who seem to have all the “luck.” It seems like everything they touch turns to gold.
The reality is they have disciplined themselves… and now have the momentum and confidence necessary to accomplish anything they set their minds to.
To compound our growth is very important to increase our momentum every day.
Why You Need Momentum
I have always looked forward to the day I would be able to help my kids learn to ride their bikes. There is something special about seeing them fail and eventually get it. I can still remember my own struggle with learning to ride a bike.
The other day as one of my daughters was practicing, she kept losing speed which caused her to tip over. I explained to her she needed to maintain her momentum or she would keep falling.
After a few failed attempts, she mastered this momentum concept and was on her way.
How Momentum Applies to Life
Momentum is not only important when riding a bike but also for life in general. Through many experiences of my own I have noticed when I have momentum on my side I feel more confidence in myself. Progress seems much easier.
When we lose this momentum, it is very hard to get it back again. If it were easier more people would do it.
As with my daughter and riding her bike, we seem to fall more frequently when we lose speed. Sometimes we get frustrated and lose the desire to keep trying altogether.
We feel our confidence erode the longer we go without it.
My Friend’s Experience with Momentum
This concept of momentum applies directly to our money and is perhaps one of the easiest to relate to – as we have all experienced it.
I have a good friend who recently lost his job and later his momentum. Prior to his misfortune he was working diligently on getting out of debt. When he lost his job, he stopped making progress and quickly started moving backwards.
This impacted many aspects of his life as the stress started hitting other areas. His confidence began to fade and he lost hope. As I spoke with him I discussed this principle of momentum and how he needed to focus on getting it back.
While he was searching for a job I encouraged him to focus on other areas of growth so that he could gain confidence to help him in his job search. He began focusing on learning, exercising, and his relationships.
Even though the loss of income was still a major concern for him, he worked on these other areas and his confidence came back. Coincidentally – or not – he quickly found employment in a dream job.
I am sure the confidence and momentum he had in other areas helped him perform in his interviews. It changed how he felt about himself and made him a more desirable hire.
Others can see the lack of confidence we have in ourselves even if we are doing our best to hide it.
If my friend hadn’t caught his loss of momentum it may have gotten to the point where he lost years of progress. Progress is so hard to make, and yet so easy to lose.
If we are not paying attention we may be moving backwards before we realize it.
Momentum and Money
I am sure we have all experienced momentum when it comes to our money. It is one of the hardest areas to master – and one of the most important. Its affects every area of our lives.
Life seems to hit us hardest when we are trying to be better. My friend was paying off debt as quickly as he could when he lost his job. The despair hit very quickly for him. He almost gave up hope.
When we lose our momentum, we resort to spending on credit and other unwise purchases. We lose track of where we want to be and only consider what is directly in front of us.
We get discouraged and begin to believe there is no point in trying. I have heard many people say, “I am in such a big hole financially, why bother trying to get out?”
This is a direct result of losing our momentum – which also impacts our confidence.
How to Gain Momentum
Gaining momentum usually starts with something small. The reason many people fail to regain it is because they neglect the small steps and aim for the moon.
I am all about aiming high; but if it is your goal to be a millionaire in six months and currently your net worth is negative than your goal is not realistic. You need to focus on the primary steps first.
I recently read a book by Admiral William H. McRaven entitled: Make your Bed. In this book he talks about how something as small as making your bed can set the tone for the rest of your day.
I was initially skeptical of this book solely off of the title but was pleasantly surprised.
If you are struggling to find your momentum start with something basic in nature – something you are confident you can accomplish. Focus on this for one week and take notice of how your momentum grows.
The subtitle to Admiral McRaven’s book is: Little things that can change your life and maybe the world.
It’s not that making your bed will change the world – it’s that you are more likely to change the world if you start with the basics.
The same thing applies to building wealth. You are more likely to do it if you master the basics first.
How to Gain Financial Momentum
The mistake many of us make is we put our lofty goals ahead of the small steps. When we compare these goals to our current situation it seems impossible.
We also get impatient with the time aspect of building wealth and want it today. These two factors cause many of us to stop trying.
To be most productive we must focus on what is directly in front of us. I am sure we can all pinpoint one area of personal finance we struggle with.
Here are a few basics you can focus on:
1- Pay off Debts: Find small debts you can pay off first. Seeing them with a zero balance will give you momentum for the bigger balances. Take the payment savings when this debt is done and apply it to other debts.
2- Start Investing: If you are not investing in your company’s 401(k) start now. This will help you gain confidence in investing. As you see your investment balances grow you will gain momentum and gain interest in starting other investment accounts to grow your wealth.
3- Establish an Emergency Savings Fund: If you don’t have an emergency savings, set up a separate account – even at a different bank so you are not tempted to use it. Have your employer deposit $50-100 directly from your pay each pay period and start building this account.
Chances are you will not even notice the money being taken out. After a few months, increase the amount periodically and before you know it you will have a 6-month emergency fund.
This will help you gain confidence when it comes to saving.
4- Spending Reviews: I don’t particularly enjoy budgeting so I call it spending reviews. Do this monthly and find a few areas where you spent money on items that didn’t add value or real enjoyment. Now start putting that money towards debt reduction or investing.
You’ll be surprised how many things you spend money on that can instead be used to help you gain momentum with your finances.
Try This Exercise to Help Gain Momentum
Don’t focus on too many areas at once – it may cause you to quit before you begin. Instead try this exercise.
Make a list of 5-10 areas you want to improve in – do a separate list for both personal and financial goals.
When you are done, list them in order from easiest to hardest. Immediately get started on the easiest items on both lists.
The idea is to start building momentum.
Starting with the first items makes it easier to get started. As you work through this list you will see your momentum increase as real progress takes hold – then move onto the other items on the list.
Now is a good time to look at your personal and financial momentum. Are you moving forward or backwards?
If you are moving backwards take steps today to change your direction.
If you are moving forward, the question is now: are you gaining momentum? If not focus on how you can build on past growth and gain further momentum.
The closer we track our progress the more likely we are to take steps forward instead of tipping over – like my daughter on her bike.
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