Have you ever started off strong on a New Year’s resolution in January and fizzled out in February? Me too.
Making long-term changes can be hard. Forming new health habits, changing careers, completing big projects like writing a book or building a website take time and sustained effort. Often clients reach out to me when they have stalled in their first efforts to make change and are looking for help to get back on track.
It is common for people to lose momentum after starting strong, but there are many ways to keep the momentum going until you reach your goal.
Ideally, you can make steady progress, get tasks done, build on your habits, and feel the rewarding momentum weekly.
Even when you encounter challenges and get stuck, you’re able to reassess the situation and move around the obstacles.
Soon you are moving forward again and building momentum until you reach your destination.
Here are my 8 practical tips for maintaining momentum over a long period of time:
1. Take time to imagine a future when you have achieved your goal.
What would be different? How would your daily life change? How would you feel? Why is this change important to you?
2. Break down the steps needed to achieve the goal and make a visual map.
You can create this on a computer or with paper and pens. Use whatever method inspires creativity in you. Hang the goal map somewhere you look often.
3. Celebrate the small successes along the way.
Don’t just wait until the end to celebrate. The celebration could be as simple as telling a friend about your success or more elaborate like a special dinner out.
4. Prime your environment with pictures or quotes that inspire you.
I have a sticky note near my desk that says “Remember Your Why” and a notecard with one of my favorite quotes.
“It may take a little time to get to where you want to be, but if you pause and think for a moment, you will notice that you are no longer where you were. Do not stop. Keep going.”
– Rudolfo Costa
5. Reflect back on your progress.
Write in a journal or talk about the progress with a good listener. Look at the skills you’ve gained, failures you’ve learned from, information you have learned and the people who have supported you along the way.
6. Partner with a reliable friend or coach for accountability.
We are more likely to follow through on commitments when we have someone checking in with us.
7. Practice self-compassion when there are setbacks.
Failures and disappointments are a normal part of learning. Research shows that responding to our pain with self-compassion instead of self-criticism increases motivation to change.
8. Notice what recharges your energy.
Spending time in nature? Creating art? Dancing? Hanging out with friends? Meditation? Playing tennis? Whatever it is, make time for it.
Making big changes requires effort, but there are many ways to support yourself as you accomplish long-term goals.
I’d love to hear what works for you. Leave me a comment below.
If you are looking for additional support to maintain momentum for big changes, send me an email at email@example.com to request a free consultation.
3 thoughts on “How to Maintain Momentum for Big Changes”
This is a great post, Dianna. The number one thing that helps me is having an accountability partner. I want to give the partner positive news of my progression, so it helps me to get motivated to make those baby steps.
I really loved your first tip “Take time to imagine a future when you have accomplished your goal.” I’ve never thought of that. I’m going to try that. And I’m going to put positive notes around for myself!
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Wonderful Rebecca! Most of us benefit greatly from an accountability partner.
I’m glad you are going to give the first tip a try. It’s easy to zip past this step & be unclear about why our goal is important to us or even what we are truly trying to achieve. I always start here with my coaching clients.