How to Build Momentum for the Change You Want

Posted by Sherry Borzo on

Move forward with the change you want

Tis the season for goal setting. I enjoy creating goals, and the new year is a convenient time to evaluate the past and make resolutions to advance forward. The action of writing down your goals is an effective beginning in the journey of self-improvement.

What is one word you can use to help you stay motivated? Pinpointing that word and the action that it represents can help you persevere, even with the inevitable setbacks.

Yes, growth comes with bouts of failure, but that’s when returning to your word can help you tap into your resolve.

After considering the question and discussing some ideas with close family, I came to the word momentum. Merriam-Webster’s second definition for momentum is, “the strength of force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes.

Momentum is inevitable so long as we’re alive; but intentional, momentum requires forethought and planning.

If you don’t read any further, please take this nugget with you. You are a marvel as you are, but you are also a work in progress. There is no nirvana of perfection in life; it is your pursuit of growth that defines you.

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." Ernest Hemingway

Make the Momentum of Change Work for You
I’m reminded of the great TED talk by psychologist Dan Gilbert. He says, “we live in an illusion that history, our personal history, has just come to an end, that we have just recently become the people that we were always meant to be, and will be for the rest of our lives.”
Gilbert goes on to say that we underestimate how much we’ve changed in the past 10 years and how much we will change in the next decade.
Think about changes you’ve already achieved. For example, what values were important to you in your 30s? Your 40’s? And how have those values changed as you’ve aged? I know that my view of what success looks like has evolved dramatically as I’ve grown older.
Questions for Change
We may not be able to fathom our “future self” as Gilbert calls it. But so long as we breathe, we will be different people in the days, weeks, and years that we walk the earth.
However, to achieve intentional incremental change, effort must be applied,to reap momentum towards your desires. It’s important not to be detoured by the sweat of the climb, but instead to see yourself traveling on the adventure of a lifetime.
Here are some questions to help you focus as you approach your voyage of change.
  • What is one thing you’d like to change? I’d like to be more focused in my actions. I tend to flit from one project to another leaving things undone for long stretches of time. It’s the nature of my work that I can only go so far until other details fall into place. To stay focused, I plan to do a better job of monitoring my progress with tools such as habit trackers.


  • Understand your “wired” self. You likely have a good idea about your personal tendencies. Although these change with time, it’s good to touch base with your wired nature; this personality is neither good nor bad, but just how you tend to operate. Identifying how you deal with the world helps you gently figure out how to adapt and progress, given your nature.

I used to think I was an extrovert who needed to gab and be social. As I’ve aged, however, I’ve realized that talking is just my way of dealing with nervous energy. I misunderstood that my wired tendency as an audio learner, and so I needed to speak more. In fact, I discovered I needed to listen more.
  • How can you strategically set yourself up for the change you want? If you understand your natural tendencies, then make a plan that factors them in.
I’m prone to taking on the moods and attitudes around me, by way of what I watch and the people I associate with. I made a conscious decision to stop watching broadcast news all the time, and to STOP writing snarky comments on social media.
It’s been a solid year of progress in these areas, and the result has been that I’m less anxious and less depressed. Consequently, I’m also opened to being more understanding.
  • Recognize Intentional Change Is Your Ongoing Project. Even though change may slow as we age, there is always that future self we can’t imagine now. If you desire to have some input toward your future you though, it will take incremental intentional momentum to get there. 
If New Year’s resolutions are off-putting to how you are wired, try taking an “old resolution” approach as that described in the article over at Iowa Dispatch.
Begin by recognizing that progress is two steps forward and one step back, and allow for ongoing improvement as a lifelong project. I love the Benjamin Franklin quote the article sites:

“But, on the whole, thou I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour, a better and happier man then I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it.” 


The Power of Humility

Personal improvement is about finding your source of power. It's easy to feel powerless when we look outside. Grace comes when we work on what is within our realm. In response to fear, spread the message that we are all humbly human. 

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