The Money Blog

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, metus at rhoncus dapibus, habitasse vitae cubilia odio sed. Mauris pellentesque eget lorem malesuada wisi nec, nullam mus. Mauris vel mauris. Orci fusce ipsum faucibus scelerisque.

How to Create Momentum Instead of Waiting on Motivation

podcast productivity Sep 05, 2021

Plus my number one tip for overcoming the "motivation blues."



September feels like a new beginning with changes in weather and schedules. It’s a time to set new goals, but sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan. We start projects, and then we lose motivation. Sometimes, we don’t even start at all because our motivation is low.


What happens when we can’t find motivation to finish what we’ve planned and dreamed to do? In this episode, I breakdown why motivation is unreliable and how we can beat the “motivation blues.” We need to stop waiting for motivation and start creating momentum! The best news is that we can start today to create momentum with small wins.



About a few other things...


If you are ready to re-prioritize and re-potentialize, leaving behind those martyr moments, join the 5-Day "I Am On The List Challenge" happening at the end of September. Join a group of women working together on action and accountability through doable ways. If your to-do list is a mile long, and you're never on it, it's time for that to change. This challenge will get you started the right way!


Reclaim your creative power and rediscover who you actually are! If you’re ready to come back home to yourself, to be able to say that you know who you are and what matters to you, take my foundation course, “Finding Me.” It’s OK that you’ve lost parts of yourself along the way; but as you learn to anchor back into who you are and align your life to what matters to you, you’ll find that you have more strength, more fulfilment, and more creativity to bring to your important roles and responsibilities.


I have a goal to get to 1000 reviews, and I need your help! If you would leave a rating and simple review on Apple Podcast it would really help the show grow, and reach even more women who need this community. I appreciate each one, as well as your shares, it helps me keep the show going and know better how to serve you!


Sign up for the Go Getter Newsletter to get Progress Pointers in your inbox every Thursday.





Learning with Kelsey code 'ABOUTPROGRESS' for 1/2 off first month of a subscription (subscription ends up cheaper per month!)
Join the 5 Day "I Am On The List Challenge!"
Foundational course, “Finding Me.”
Leave a rating and review for the podcast!
Get on the waitlist for the Strive Hive, my monthly membership group
Lend your voice and experience + be featured on the show HERE
Join Monica on Facebook and Instagram
Songs Credit: Pleasant Pictures Music Club




September somehow always feels like a season of new beginnings. There's a new school year, new weather coming in, new schedules, and new goals. And, just like January, I find September's new beginnings--while exciting --can quickly create overwhelm with so much change and so much to do. It can be very easy to become paralyzed.


And when we see all that is left undone because of that paralysis, we might find ourselves saying something like, "Well, I just must not have enough motivation."


This word, "motivation" has come up a lot in our community. And when I hear you say something about your low motivation, I know that's really not the problem that's going on.


Today, I'm going to tell you what's really going on when you feel like you have no motivation. And my number one tip to help you overcome the motivation blues.


 I used to be the biggest fan of roller coasters. The scarier, the crazier, the more intense, the better! I say "used to" because now I can't even sit on a swing, not even pump and move around, I can't even set on a swing without getting really, really nauseous.


But back when I was a teen, I was such a big fan of roller coasters that I rode as many as I could all around the United States. And I had that opportunity because of band. I was totally a band nerd, played the flute and I was in marching band and we went a lot of places that were really, really fun.


And we went on some of the most amazing roller coasters. One that came to mind, is called the Ride of Steel. It's the Superman ride, I guess you can call it at Six Flags in Southern California. You sit there and you go from no speed at all, and then immediately you go 73 miles an hour. And then you go up this like twisted red track up to a high of 205 feet, and then a 200 drop.


That doesn't sound fun at all to me right now. I was thinking about this ride the other day, I was trying to explain it to my family; and I'm no engineer, but I definitely am guessing that it requires a tremendous amount of energy for a ride like that to go from no speed to extremely fast speeds, almost immediately upon takeoff.


In fact, I'm sure it's so much energy that it's so hard to do that. That's why I've only ridden one roller coaster like that. Most out there, even the extreme ones, just gradually inch you to the top of the first big drop. And that drop is what gives you the energy you need to have to zoom around the whole roller coaster.


You're probably wondering why I'm talking to you about roller coasters when this episode is supposed to be about our problem with motivation. The two connect, because what we're talking about with these roller coasters is symbolic to motivation. Right now, what you're trying to do is to be that, that Superman ride, that Ride of Steel.


You're trying to go from nothing to extremely fast feed speeds all at once. And while that can work sometimes, it requires a tremendous amount of energy. And since we're all living on this earth, we know the truth that that amount of energy will make you tired. It'll make you burn out, come at a cost that you have to pay somehow. And that energy can't be maintained.


When people tell me that they have no motivation. What I really know they are saying is that they don't have the superhuman energy they think motivation requires. Most of us can do extreme feats in one time or one setting at very rare times.


So for example, we can get that high energy motivation together when we need to do something like run a half marathon without training one day, some of us decide to do something like that. Or birthing a baby comes to mind like that's an extreme feat, but you get really, really motivated in high energy to do.


But when you think about those big, extreme things, you're going to realize you can't do that around the clock. We don't have that reserve of energy with us around the clock.


I love to give you little kicks in the pants on this podcast. So here's yours for this episode: motivation is the most unreliable way to make things happen in your life. You cannot depend on motivation.


In 2020, we had Nir Ayal on the show. He is the author of the book Indistractible. And that episode is one of our most popular episodes for many, many reasons. He likes to talk a lot about motivation too. ThIs is something he said,


"Like most people, I only had a vague understanding of what motivation really meant. I thought of it like the wind, it came and went. And if I were lucky enough to catch it in my sails, I could steer my ship toward my goals. The problem with this thinking is that if the wind isn't blowing, you're dead in the water.


And what I love about Nir is it actually took him five years to write Indistractible. And it was because, as he further explained more in the book, he was waiting on motivation. He was waiting on the energy to feel like he wanted to do this really big thing of writing a book. And he most often found himself dead in the water.


So, what if you feel like you're currently dead in the water right now? What if you feel like your motivation is low? Do you just stay there? Do you just grin and bear it because, like I've now taught you, you can't rely on motivation. It just comes and goes, as it wants to, and usually only happens with superhuman feats or random events that are rare occasions.


Right? So what do we do? Well, I told you we're not going to rely on motivation anymore, but you still need energy to move forward. That's for certain. But instead of relying on that high power, high energy amount that we normally associate with motivation, instead of relying on motivation. I want you to focus on creating momentum.


What is momentum? Let's refer to science to explain this, since I've somehow been on this engineering science kick on this episode. In Isaac Newton's first law of motion, we learn that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. To me that represents energy! An object without energy stays without the energy. An object with energy will stay in energy.


What I want you to do is go back to that rollercoaster comparison. And I want you to picture momentum as not the slow climb to the top of the first rollercoaster hill that I talked about, not that part, but what happens when the roller coaster starts to barely begin to inch over the hump of that first hill. And how just that little tiny bit of energy is creeping over and it gathers and gathers and gathers more energy, to go faster and faster and faster. How that little bit momentum at the top creates massive amounts of movement by the end. W


I see momentum as an ever-increasing energy. And the best news about momentum to me is that it requires extremely low energy to create momentum. You just need a low amount of energy. So to help you create that momentum, how to slowly enjoy over that first hump, like we talked about with the roller coaster, here are my two secrets to creating momentum in your life.


1) Do something


2) Focus on the starting, not on the ending.


So let's break down the first one: Do Something. Instead of demanding super high energy on yourself and just expecting it to come right away because you decided it, and if that's not the case then something's wrong with you. . . . Instead of doing that, you can create momentum by doing one small thing.


Around these parts with About Progress, we call this, Do Something. Do Something as both a mindset and a path. It's the way we view our abilities to progress and to grow and to change. And the actions we take as well, the actual actions that we take, it's do something.


We don't do ALL and we don't do NOTHING. We do SOMETHING.


Because we're not Superman with our energy, we won't have this high reserve bank that we can exhaust at a second's notice and without limits. So instead what you do is you only need to borrow a tiny amount of energy to do something. When you think of do something with momentum, the biggest key is to make it so easy.


James Clear talks about this in Atomic Habits, but I love what Nir says about this. He says, "The easier something is to do, the more likely we are to do it."


When you think about how to create momentum, we're not talking about doing all and we're not talking about doing nothing. We're talking about doing something that is easy for you to do, something that requires very little energy.


And this is the magic. And like, my hands are on my face right now, like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, like this is the big part I want you to remember: when you do something, that little energy you start with will have an effect on you and the things you're able to do in a way that will seem paradoxical.


That little thing you do will create more energy.


Remember I told you that momentum is ever-increasing energy and you start low and that builds and the way it builds is just what we learned about science, because an object in motion stays in motion. That low amount of energy that is required when you do something will increase because it will continue to stay in movement, stay in motion.


That first tip was to do something. My second tip is to focus on the starting, not the ending. One of the reasons we rely on high energy motivation is because we're thinking about the finished product, the ending that we need and want to reach.


And it's true that those endings require a ton of energy to get to, just like writing nears book required a tremendous amount of energy by the end. Same goes with anything that you can think of, whether it's running a race ,or improving a habit, or creating routines or systems around your home, whatever might be . . . If you're thinking about the end product,and all the amounts of energy that will gradually put into it all in one place, that's where you can feel stuck.


While I want you to get to that ending, the best way to really get there is to not think about the ending. Instead, we focus on the starting.


Here's another fact that I want you to remember: a little movement now at the starting place, will create more movement later. I'm going to say it one more time for you. A little movement now will create more movement later.


This is what I personally call the "trickle down effect." I made that up, but this is where the small wins that you create now trickle down into other areas of your life.


Sometimes that means the little step that you take to do a bigger task on your plate, like organizing your kitchen. So maybe you decide I'm just going to do one drawer. That low energy amount it's required to create, to just do that drawer will have a trickle down effect in your life. Maybe in that moment, you'll find yourself having more energy to do the drawer next to it.


Or maybe you'll find one drawer is enough, but later on in the day, you have more energy to do another thing around your home or to do another easy task around your house. There is a trickle down effect with both doing something and that focusing on the starting a little movement now we'll create more movement later. This is so exciting, right?


So again, that one was to focus on the starting and I can sum up these two tips for you on how to create momentum with just one phrase. So here's what I want you to remember-- memorize this: when you want to create momentum, this is what you need--do something to start. That's your only focus.


Let's recap really quick, what we've learned so far, we've learned how you can't rely on motivation instead create momentum and create momentum by doing something to start.


 Let's now talk about how to apply what we've learned. Now, my basic formula to take a larger project or a goal or some to do's, then choose one. And then, break it down into smaller steps and then find one way you can do something to start.


Let's just do examples because I think that helps the most. These are examples on how to create momentum instead of relying on motivation. This past summer, we have gotten to do some amazing and fun coaching calls on the Strive Hive.


One of our first calls we did is with a striver that I'll call Mona. Now Mona had a problem. She had boxes of files that she had been wanting to go through for years. And these boxes came from a career that she had spent decades really invested in and a career where she helped so, so, so many people. But even the thought of going through these boxes of papers and files and whatever she found in there was extremely overwhelming.


So overwhelming that she felt paralyzed. She was now ready to go through them, but she honestly did not know where to start. So first, we actually went through the many layers of this problem because it's never just about the logistics. And so Mona and I did that. We went through the layers of why this was hard emotionally for her and mentally, and we unpacked that.


And then we made a plan and I'm going to share more of that plan with you. At first, she thought in order to do this, she had to dedicate entire days at a time to go through that process. And while realistically, it probably will take her a couple days all put together, instead of focusing on the end and all the energy that would have to go into the end product of days and hours and hours of work, we instead focused on how to break this down in a doable way so that she could always focus on the starting. And as she worked on the starting, she created momentum. So what she did is she reserve 10 minutes a day to just go through the papers. She set a timer, and when the timer reached 10 minutes, she would stop.


And all she was supposed to do was just go through the papers, and in time we decided that she would also have three piles, one to keep for scrapbooks. A pile for recycling and a pile for trash. And that was it. She didn't have to do a second over 10 minutes and she didn't have to do it perfectly. She just had to do 10 minutes a day.


And we also connected that to another activities she does regularly. And that was it. We weren't focusing on the hours and hours of work that would eventually turn into. And a few weeks later, Mona reported into us that was actually working, that she had made incredible progress, that she was able to not only go through the papers in ways that surprised her, because it didn't take quite as much time, but she was more effective because she was no longer paralyzed by the sentimental stuff that was attached to it. She was no longer paralyzed by the sheer amount of work in front of her. She only had to focus on doing something to start, one day at a time.


A while back, I think before our break, the summer, I shared about my son who wanted to earn a drum set. And at first we created a chart for him to earn his half of the money for the drum set. And we started that a year ago. And I had listed three levels of chores for him to do. One was a $10 level, which usually required like a couple hours of work, like raking the whole backyard, like that kind of level. Then there were $5 chores like washing windows. And then there were $1 chart chores, which included things like reading to his brothers for 10 or 15 minutes.


And as you could bet, at the beginning of this, he had so much energy and he was ready to go that he tried to only do the $10 chores right away. And in two days he realized they were too hard. They were burning them out. And gradually after a couple of weeks, we realized that he wasn't earning money any more. He had gone days and then weeks without earning money.


So we sat down and we had more of a conversation about how he's only trying to earn his massive amounts that he had to do for his goal. He's trying to earn that massive amount by doing massive things and it wasn't working. So instead he had to break it down to more manageable chores.


More often the past year he has largely earned his entire half of the drum set by only doing the $1 chores. And usually it was the same one: watching his little brother, my youngest, my three-year-old while I showered and got ready each day, because we did homeschool. And that worked, he has now achieved his goal.


So what changes have come up for you already in this new beginnings of a fall? What new routines do you need to take, or on big projects? Maybe just full responsibilities that have shifted maybe a priority that needs to come off the back burner. Now, a habit that you need to install, or even an organization, project, whatever it is . . . Take it and look at it with objective eyes, break it down and break it down some more. And create a way for you to do something to start on it so that you can create the momentum you need instead of waiting on the motivation. That's what I want you to do. I have a couple tricks on how to do this for myself, but my favorite way is to set limits.


Set limits around how you're going to do something to start. I'm thinking like literal limits, like set a timer on how many minutes. And I would say a few that you're allowed to work on a bigger task. Set limits on how many items you are telling yourself you have to put away from a big room of things. You need to organize maybe 10 things out of the 200 that you need to put away and organiz. Organize one drawerout of your whole dresser that needs to be organized. Write one to do on your planner instead of 500. When you set limits, you're actually creating wins.


You're making it possible for you to do something to start, to create a win that creates momentum, which in the end will create more energy. And which will lead you to the final ending you want of the project being completed, the habit being formed, the new routine being installed.


If you follow our Progress Model, then you know, the process to dramatic growth is this: small wins build over time. I want you to set limits so that you can do something to start and start collecting those small wins right now.


I want to give you a little push to look objectively at what's on your plate and to remind yourself that even though sometimes it feels like you have to do it all and all at once, the truth is that most of the time is that you do not, you do not have to do this all and do it all at once. So stop waiting on the motivation to do it all. And instead, focus on creating momentum.


If you are feeling especially burned out right now, if your store of energy is so depleted, you don't even know if you can do something to start a small win, then join us in an amazing challenge we're doing later this month, it's called I Am On the List. I Am On the List Challenge will help you learn how to reprioritize you and put yourself on your list so that you can then have more energy to give, to better show up for the massive amounts of things you need.


The challenge will be five days, lots of fun and learning, accountability, prizes, and easy ways for you to learn how to do something, to put yourself on your list. Again, go to to sign up. And again, that's happening the second to last week of September.


I hope this episode gave you the hug and kick in the pants that you need to grow. Let's review what we learned from this lesson, our progress pointer are number one, motivation is the most unreliable way to make things happen. Instead, create momentum. Two, motivation requires too much energy to be both doable and sustainable. Momentum requires low energy and it creates more energy. Three to create momentum, do something to start. And four, take a larger task and break it down into the most doable way you can focus on the starting, not the ending.


Your Do Something Challenge for this week is to set a timer and take just two minutes to do part of a larger task you have on your plate.


You are allowed to go a little more if it happens naturally because you have the energy wave, but I want to encourage you to just stop at the timer and move on to your day. You'll still experience the trickle down effect in other ways. If you participate in the Do Something Challenge, make sure you share about it on social media and use the hashtag #dosomethingchallenge and also tag me because I'm going to start featuring some of these submissions as our upcoming progressor spotlights that I'm so excited about.


And as a reminder, with the shifts our podcasts have been taking on, I'm going to be featuring more of your real scenarios and problems that you have on the show in your voices too. So to do that, to participate, go to that C a L L I N, to ask me about a real issue you are facing. And I want answer you directly on the air final, quick reminder for you. Learn how to reprioritize yourself. By joining our I Am On the List Challenge.


Thank you so much for listening and for sharing the show. Now I want you to go and do something with what you learned today.


Want Helpful Finance Tips Every Week?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, metus at rhoncus dapibus, habitasse vitae cubilia.