When’s the last time you found yourself chasing a goal and just falling further and further behind?
This is the dark side of momentum. Momentum is a powerful emotional force where each event builds upon the previous one making the reinforced outcome more likely. It’s like spinning a flywheel; it takes a lot of effort to get it moving but requires less and less effort to maintain. However, changing direction comes at a great cost.
Usually, we see momentum in sports. A team might catch fire at the end of the season and momentum carries them through to the championship. Each win makes reinforcing the belief of inevitable success.
However, we also momentum when a team starts losing. They perform below their potential and even the simplest tasks start appearing monumentally challenging. Players start trying too hard while everything goes wrong.
Our personal lives are similar. When we create goals, momentum is either our ally or greatest foe. A large part of success is the simple belief we can do it. The more likely success becomes, the more likely we are to continue doing it as it makes us feel good.
I’m currently battling momentum for survival.
Attempting to complete a 1000k (635 mile) virtual race from May until August, I’ve fallen behind off the pace and need 220 miles in August to finish. July was unexpectedly busy and, despite a 35-mile run, an accumulation of missed runs created a scenario where every misstep exponentially increases my risk of failure.
I started the month needing over seven miles/day to finish on time. I was nearly on target for the first five days, then I missed two days due to late starts, family obligations, and evening thunderstorms accentuating mistakes earlier in the day.
I approached the weekend, my first days off in weeks, needing 30 miles just to break even. While my intention was to get out there and start early, I stalled. Tired and struggling to mentally prepare, the Florida heat arrived in full force. The excessive length of the run added the complications of carrying fluids and snacks to sustain a significantly longer duration than normal.
I’m stuck in a negative feedback loop, building momentum against catching up.
The worst part?
It was avoidable.
How do I fix it?
When I’m tired and comfortable in bed, I need to remember the awful feeling of guilt my future self will feel, as well as the heat…
Recognizing I need recovery days, I need to add a buffer and extra miles on the days when I have the opportunity.
Take advantage of small walks before work, lunchtime, and whenever else possible. Recover and knock out miles.
Only through consistency will I be able to restore momentum to my advantage.
Miles to go before I sleep,
Miles to go before I sleep.
(Note: 18.62 miles completed today. 12 tomorrow will make a successful weekend, but at a high cost of will.)