Saturday, April 18, 2009

More Success Rules - Start to Finish Momentum

My blog post on Success spawned feedback that prompt me to write on it again.

My mom said "Finishing is one Success rule". So true. I know a lot of people who do 80 or 90% but never finish.

I would add "Starting is also a Success rule". Often people simply do not start. So start it.

Both parts of just doing it are important. Then they need to be tied together and what I use is momentum.

So what are some of the tricks I use to gain and keep momentum from start to finish?

1 - I have many mantras. Statements I repeat often to myself. One of these is "Just Do It". Hopefully Nike does not sue me for it.

2 - I do the worst thing first thing. I have a to do list. I simply go through it and pick the one task I am like the least and do it first. Brian Tracy calls this "Eat a Frog first thing and the rest of the day looks better". He even wrote a simple book on how to solve procrastination called Eat That Frog.

To add power to this technique, I create 2 first things. First thing in the morning and first thing after lunch. What originally spawned this was the fact that I could not call someone first thing in the morning often because they would not be available so I started adding after lunch. I found this so effective, that I have kept this habit.

I soften the technique some by adding "15 minutes". I have the theory that I can do anything for 15 minutes. Often when I start it I keep going but I give myself permission to stop after 15 minutes.

3 - Break the big job down into small parts. Small parts are not onerous. And often some of the small parts are easy to do.

4 - Do a few small parts of the job. Success builds momentum.

5 - Set a specific time for a job or task. I find I am more likely to do something if I have a specific time to start it.

6 - I ask myself "what would I like to have done by the end of the day". This simple technique often inspires me to complete the task.

7 - Sometimes I journal. I tend to do this sporadically. For me a journal is not where I put my feelings. Rather I write what I accomplished and how I am doing on my goals. For some reason, knowing that I will write about it helps me keep on task.

Any other ideas on starting, maintaining momentum and finishing?


At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Kevin said...

Another good post.

Sometimes to keep momemtum, when we can all be easily knocked off track, we "keep our eye on the prize" it is sometimes a far, far way off. Maintaining the positive outcome vision that the prize is just another step closer, helps in maintaining momentum.

Rewarding oneself for a job well done with a break or a small distraction can also be useful for maintaining momentum, when some tasks become tedious. This tends to stop procrastination in its tracks, by not feeling guilty about a small delay.


At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Jeremy Newton said...

"Keeping your eye on the prize" is definitely something I was thinking of when reading the post.
I also think that reading about, speaking to, or watching something/someone that motivates you can get you pumped up enough to knock off a couple of those tasks which seem most daunting.

Great post.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Catherine Cantieri, Sorted said...

Great ideas! I really like the notion of having two frogs in the day; I plan to implement that one.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Taylor Beech said...

I honestly wanted to mention the exact "keep your eye on the prize" comment that they other 2, very obviously incitful people did;)

It is the ability to create a vision of your future self and life and then reverse engineer your choices to make that happen that keeps me going too.

At 3:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am surprised you did not say "rise early". I know you do from the time on some of your posts (particularly impressed that you do this even on the weekends)

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Ross Rader said...

Hi Jim -

Great blog as always. I'm currently training to break a cycling record - Ottawa to Windsor in less than 36 hours (more at

As you know, training for this kind of thing requires a ton of self-motivation and self-management. Here are a few of the more obscure, but useful techniques that I've used to help me get this far.

1) Don't be afraid of letting the story unfold. Not everything has to come from within, sometimes you can build momentum by riding the wave already in motion. This doesn't always work, but I find it helpful to keep an eye out for the wave and ride it when I can.

2) Use bigger goals to diminish the epic stature of your current one. I always try to keep three race goals in mind - the one I just completed, the one in front of me, and the one right after that. The one I just completed serves to remind me that I can accomplish things and relative to what I'm working on now, how easy it was. The one right after that creates a shadow over the current objective, but only if I set my sights on an objective that builds on the current one.

3) Use your support network. Don't be afraid to tell them when you are lacking in motivation. On Saturday night as I was pondering whether I really wanted to venture out into the cold, windy night for a ride out to London and back, I commented in my Facebook status that it was going to take a lot of motivation to get me off the couch. Within minutes, the encouragement of at least 10 people flew into my inbox. I immediately got off the couch.

Thanks again for the blog. Keep writing!




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