The last stretch is all about how to navigate tough terrain when we have nothing left in the tank. Part 1 dealt with the need to take care of the basics. Part 2 is all about maintaining momentum.
I have done my fair share of 4×4’ing around Southern Africa. One of the unique terrains to tackle is soft sand. As you approach rough terrain you ensure that you have engaged low or high range and deflated your tyres. Then you drive. The aim is to keep going. As soon as you stop, you increase your chances of being bogged down. I remember being on a game drive where the ranger was crossing a river full of soft sand. A birder shouted STOP at a critical moment. The ranger instinctively stopped. Once the bird was identified (a brown hooded kingfisher) we were stuck. He had lost the momentum needed to get up the river bank on the other side!
It’s the same for us. In the midst of tough terrain, momentum is our friend. As soon as we stop, give up, choose apathy, remain in bed all day, we become bogged down. Our game vehicle needed momentum to get out of the rough patch. We also need momentum in order to breakthrough, open up new possibilities, solve a situation, shape a new context. In my worst moments I have so desperately wanted to throw in the towel and numb all feelings through distractions like series or social media, resigning myself to the idea that if things are going to change they must change without my input. It doesn’t work like that. We play a role in influencing our future. Don’t give in to apathy and despair. That leads to depression. By simply getting up, getting changed and pitching up we maintain momentum.
If you are struggling with momentum here are a few things you can do:
- Break your day down into segments. Focus on getting through one segment and then focus on the next. Sometimes we only have capacity to think about a few activities or a short space of time.
- Set an alarm for the morning and get straight up when it goes off and head for the shower, get changed and get started. Choose momentum.
- Open the curtains as soon as you get up and let the light in. Take a moment to consider your surroundings and choose one beautiful thing that presents itself as you take in your surroundings.
- Bring more ritual into your day. For example; lay your clothes out the night before, set an automatic daily alarm for a set time, shower as soon as you wake up, prepare lunch the night before, go for a walk at a set time in the day, call a friend at a set time in the day etc. My daughter is learning violin. I found it interesting that her teacher recommended that she try and practice at the same time every day. That will set her up to maintain consistency and develop her skills.
I know how hard it can be to maintain momentum when all you want to do is adopt a victim mentality and lie down.
Resist that temptation and keep going.