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maintaining motivation

“Regaining momentum takes three times as much energy as sustaining momentum.” – Daniel Pink

Big lofty goals are exciting. They get people motivated, they inspire, and they give us something to dream about and look forward to.

More often than not, however, that’s as far as it goes. The goals are made, imagined, but never achieved, and a big reason for this is that we simply run out of steam.

The remedy for this? Learning to maintain momentum. Setting goals is, of course, necessary, but to actually achieve them, we need to find a way to continue working towards them long term. By implementing the following simple steps, you can take your business (and personal) goals from the brainstorm session and into reality.

Take small steps everyday

If you want to run a 5K and you’re not a runner, you don’t lace up your shoes and attempt a marathon on your first day. You start off small and slowly build up, day after day.

It’s not glamorous, it’s not ground breaking, it’s simply committing to small steps every day. And it’s the key to maintaining momentum, and ultimately, success.

The little daily steps can often feel so trivial that we end up skipping them or putting them off for another day, but when we commit to them, they begin adding up to large leaps towards our goals.

As Daniel Pink puts it, “I really think that we have given short shrift to the concept of small wins, both in terms of personal development and organizational performance. We want big, audacious goals, we want moon shots, we want giant transformations—and that’s cool sometimes. Sometimes that’s the approach. But most times, the more practical, realistic, and ultimately effective way is to go for a small win.”

maintaining momentum

Celebrate your successes

As we discussed in an earlier post, we are driven by internal motivators. Feeling satisfied, engaged, and proud of the work we accomplish is a key component in working to the best of our abilities and maintaining momentum. It can be so easy to focus only on the end goal that we lose sight of all the small accomplishments along the way and feel unnecessarily defeated.

Taking time to celebrate what you have accomplished rather than focusing only on what still needs to be done is hugely important in maintaining engagement and momentum.

Check in regularly

Without regular check-ins, it’s easy to lose control of a project and let things fall to the way side. Checking in regularly, either with yourself of with your team depending on the project, helps to keep everything on track. It allows everyone to be held accountable for their role in the project and helps to identify any shortcomings or areas that need more attention.

At Catalyst, we’ve set up a check-in schedule that helps to keep everyone focused and ensures that we’re all on the same page with our goals and projects. From our daily morning huddles to our quarterly mastermind sessions, we have a clear-cut schedule for check-ins that cover both the micro and the macro.

Change course if necessary

It’s hard to maintain momentum when things feel like they either aren’t working or aren’t necessary. What may have started off as a great idea may not be as exciting or effective in practice. When you’re working towards your goals, it’s important to reassess regularly to see if everything you’re working towards still makes sense/is worth the effort. You’ll be much more motivated to continue if you take honest stock of your progress and course correct anything that isn’t working.

Setting goals is the easy part, anyone can do that. But finding ways to maintain momentum and carrying out the sometimes tedious steps is what will allow you to actually realize them.

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