Go for the small wins

Imagine you have a massive metal flywheel, approximately thirty feet in diameter, two feet thick, weighing almost three tons, mounted horizontally on an axle. Your task is to get the flywheel rotating on the axle as fast and for as long as possible. At first you begin to apply great effort to get the flywheel to inch forward very slowly. You keep pushing and grunting, and after hours of perseverance you get the flywheel to rotate one complete turn. You keep pushing as the flywheel begins to move a little faster, and with continued effort it makes a second rotation. You continue to push in a consistent direction. Three turns, then four, five and six—it builds up more and more speed with each turn as momentum continues to build. Nine turns, then ten, and the flywheel moves faster with each turn—twenty, thirty, forty, fifty…a hundred!

At some point, momentum shifts in your favor, heaving the flywheel forward at greater speeds, turn after turn, as the law of inertia helps the heavy weight actually begin to work for you. You’re not pushing any harder, but the flywheel moves faster and faster. Each turn builds upon the work you have already done, compounding your investment of effort. Thousands of times faster, the huge heavy flywheel now moves forward with almost unstoppable momentum. If someone were to ask you, “What was the one big push that caused the flywheel to go so fast?” How would you respond? Was it the first push? The second? The fiftieth? The hundredth? Of course not. It was all of the pushes added together in a cumulative effort applied in a consistent direction. Granted, some of the pushes may have been bigger than others, but each single heave represents only a small fraction of the entire effort expended upon the flywheel. Success won’t happen to you in one fell swoop. There will be no single defining action, solitary lucky break, or gut-wrenching revolution. Instead, success will result from a cumulative process…step by step…action by action…and turn by turn of the flywheel of your life.

In order to build momentum, you must increase the things that move you forward and decrease those that hold you back. In other words, it takes creating good habits while letting go of those that don’t serve you. By its nature, momentum requires a lot of upfront push to get the flywheel moving. Here are some tips to help jumpstart it in your life:

  1. Visualize what your success looks like and post your vision to review each day.
  2. Set a specific, compelling goal that generates passion and enthusiasm.
  3. Guard your energy against people and things that drain you.
  4. Face your fears and move forward, your courage will follow.
  5. Choose an accountability partner who energizes and inspires you.
  6. Learn as you go and make adjustments when needed.
  7. Never give up on your dreams, your momentum will begin to work in your favor.