“The world is wide, and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.” – France E. Willard
To officially kick this series off, we’re going to dissect momentum thoroughly. This blog is most definitely not the meat and potatoes out of the series. You can think of this piece as more like the vegetables that we used to spread across our plates as children to make it look like we ate more than we did. Even though, I know damn well some of you still do that now.
Get ready for the most “self-helpy” blog out of the entire series. I mean, most of the writing that I do can be categorized under self-improvement, so this is nothing new. That being said, I’ve never been a fan of giving you guys actual steps on what to do. I’d rather deconstruct an idea to the point that allows you to put your interpretation on it. Unfortunately, that ain’t this type of blog, Jack. Sometimes this way is needed to help break down an idea to its bare essence. You ready? Off into the world of self-help we go.
Looking back on my life, to when I finally accepted that I was at my rock bottom and wanted things to change, I now realize that I was caught in a cycle of perpetual, negative momentum. At the time I don’t think I ever realized that I was even in the midst of it. Had I been consciously aware, I may have been able to break the cycle sooner rather than later.
Some of you may already be at a point where your life ain’t too shabby. If that’s the case, this blog will be nothing more than a better understanding of momentum. Hopefully. This is more for the people who are caught in that vicious cycle of negative momentum. Even if you think things are “going good”, you might not be aware that you’re trapped in the middle of a shit-storm, so don’t write this off just yet.
Breaking momentum can only be done one or two ways; first is hitting rock bottom––getting arrested in Georgia while already on probation. (Hey now.) Our second option; you find the willpower to step in and break the cycle yourself. The latter is extremely difficult but can be done, and is a much better alternative than hitting rock bottom. Trust ya boy.
If you can’t find the willpower to stop negative momentum in its tracks, or don’t know how to, these next few weeks are going to blow chunks. Understanding how to do this is non-negotiable for the sake of the series. Half the battle of breaking this type of momentum is becoming aware that you’re even caught up in it in the first place. Once that’s illuminated, it becomes difficult not to want to try and dig yourself out of that hole.
So, this is the goal for today; take an honest account of where you are in your life. If you’re not doing too bad, as I said, next week should be a breeze to start up. But, if you are caught in a cycle of negative momentum, next week is going to feel like I’m dragging you into hell and will turn you off completely. Not what we want. Get your shit together, Jerry, and let’s figure out how to break this momentum.
Breaking the Cycle of Negative Momentum
Wake up no earlier than 2 PM −−> shitty sleep schedule leads to a diet that has a similar resemblance to a steaming pile of shit −−> shitty diet leaves minimal efficient energy −−> minimal energy leads to weaker willpower, making it easier to justify skipping out on the gym or any other form of physical activity −−> skipping the gym = no production of feel good hormones = further increase in my anxiety and depression −−> increase in anxiety and depression leads to getting high and watching TV until four in the morning trying to numb myself −−> shitty night of sleep leads to waking up no earlier than 2 PM.
That was my life a couple of years ago when I was at my all-time low. I went from someone who was engaged with the world, to someone who took on the lifestyle of a hermit. I gave up everything, and it was rare that you would ever catch me leaving my house. Even my best friends had zero shot in getting me out of the house. That is what being caught in negative momentum looks like. And as obvious as it may look, I had zero clue as to what was really going on––that cycle lasted for about three years, on and off, until I was finally able to break it––or if I was aware, on some level, I didn’t give two shits to do anything about it.
When you’re caught up in this real-life version of hell, the odds of drawing the type of willpower that’s needed to break the cycle, out of your ass, are slim to none. You, lit-chur-lee, don’t have the energy that’s required. When do we step in and break this cycle?
This is why it usually takes someone hitting their rock bottom to get the ball rolling in the right direction. When you’re forced, you don’t have an option. In a sick, twisted way, it’s easier than trying to do it on your own. But who the fuck wants to hit rock bottom? At some point, we have to realize that no one’s going to save us from this hell. Once we accept that, then willpower becomes a viable option.
So, then, how do we break this momentum without getting to rock bottom?
You have to want it – The very first thing that needs to happen is that this “need to change” has to come from within. And I’ll argue by saying, wanting to change, is a more powerful driving force than feeling like, you need to change. This series won’t mean shit if you don’t give a damn about wanting to better your life or improve an aspect of it.
Think about the people who smoke cigarettes or an alcoholic who’s in AA. When it’s an external force that wants them to stop the very thing that’s harming them, 95% of the time, it’s not going to work. And, if it does work, there’s usually a relapse in the near future.
Conversely, we realize that when the want to stop smoking cigarettes or kick the booze, is coming from within; 99% of the time it happens almost immediately, with a rare chance of relapse. Think about anybody that you know who has been in a similar situation and tell me I’m not spot on. Hmm, weird right?
Moral of the story; feeling like you need to change < wanting to change
Big momentum versus little momentum – We have to figure out what type of momentum we’re dealing with. Are you barely making it from day to day? Does the story of what my life use to look like sound like yours right now? If so, congratulations my friends, you’re fucked! There is an upside though. It’s literally, all, uphill, from here. Get it?
Life comes in waves. If you’re on top, sooner or later you’ll be right back on the bottom. If you’re at rock bottom, just know you’re only going to go up––as long as you put in the work. No good. No bad. It is what it is. This is life, my friends.
And if you’re that lucky son of a bitch whose life ain’t too bad right now, then make sure there are no holes in your game. Example: My life isn’t terrible right now, but I am aware that I’m caught in negative momentum surrounding my diet and working out. Find the holes in your game and clean it up, bitch. Myself included bitch.
Accept – Next on the list is to accept where you are––even if that’s nowhere decent. There’s nothing wrong with it so don’t beat yourself up. Like I said, if you’re at rock bottom, let this be the fuel that motivates you. Only start to beat yourself up if you realize where you are, and continue…to do…nothing…about it…
Once you accept where you are, there’s a shift that takes place. I’m sure there are some studies to back this up, but I already told you, that ain’t this type of blog, Jack. But, if we want to use woo-woo talk, refer back to my cigarettes and alcohol rant.
Just decide – Yup. You read that right. No elaborate plans here. Where did you think you were?
I promise you that it is as easy as just deciding that you want your life to change for the better. That doesn’t mean you sit around watching The Secret (trash) waiting for shit to fall into your lap. No, no, no. You have to take action. Making those changes are going to be hard, no doubt about it. Use the shift that comes from acceptance, and it will make this process seem practically organic.
Immediately after you accept that this is where your life is, decide that things are going to change. Do not wait for days or weeks. There is going to be a small window––like microscopic––that will make it easier to initiate change. It’s almost like there’s a little glitch in the matrix that can be taken advantage of, so, don’t fuck it up, fuckers!
“Make a choice. Just decide. What it’s gonna be, who you’re gonna be, how you’re gonna do it. Just decide.“ – Will Smith (If I could narrow down one of those things that you hear off hand that sticks with you for life, this would be in my top 3. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this has positively impacted my life. Just. Decide.)
Figure it out – You need to figure out a goal that you want to achieve. Are you looking to lose weight? Are you looking to be more productive with your days? Are you looking to be nicer? Are you looking to finally start up that one thing that you’ve been putting off for the past couple of months?
If you break that momentum and you don’t have a plausible direction to head in, chances are you’ll be consumed by your cycle in a matter of days. Once you have your goal narrowed down, we move on to starting small.
Start small – If you haven’t been to the gym in years, going one day a week is going to be better than none. Of course, you can go five days a week at the start, but most people aren’t programmed like that. It’s just not in our nature. Get into the habit of one day a week if the idea of even getting back in shape seems daunting.
Once that one day becomes a habit, then you bump it up to two. This works across the board in whatever you’re looking to do. Do too much too fast, you will most likely burn out before you even know what hit you. Start small.
If you wait for “the right time,” 10 years will have gone by, you’ll have 16 cats, be addicted to meth with half a head of hair, a total of 3 1/2 teeth and your wife will have replaced you with an AI robot––the kicker is, only in the bedroom where you’re not even allowed to look inside anymore. Is this what you fucking want, Tom?
Vacation – I’ve said it about twenty times now. Breaking negative momentum is going to require willpower from Thanos himself. One of the most important things that I’ve learned from traveling is this, anytime you take a vacation, 98% of the time when you get back, you’ll feel as if you got your ass waxed (in a good way) while being fed grapes for the past ten days. You’re going to have this little sparkle in your eye that will make all your co-workers contemplate all the different ways they can kill you.
What I’m trying to get at is that you’re going to feel like a new person when you get back home. USE THIS TIME WISELY. This is big. You’re going to be in the midst of positive momentum. Hit the ground running when you back. If you’ve wanted to start something new or make changes in your life, you will most likely never find a more opportune moment than this. Don’t fuck it up, fuckers!
What this will look like in the end – If you do everything right, things are going to go smooth––for a while. But, unfortunately, we’re humans, and humans are flawed as fuck. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when.
When you catch yourself digressing back into old dirty habits, don’t freak out. Win little battles that turn into patterns which turn into habits (going to the gym one day a week is a pattern that eventually becomes a habit). Use this to help get yourself back on track.
Every time you get back on the ball, you start to create a superpower within.
You start to cut the time that it takes to get on track in half. Let’s say you’re doing good, broke the cycle of negative momentum, and finally got into to the swing of positive momentum––then life does what it does best and makes you its bitch. You fall off the ball.
It takes you two weeks before you finally get back on track. Cool.
The next time you fall off––if you do fall––that recovery period will most likely go from two weeks to one. Just like working out at the gym, this is an ability that can be strengthened over time until it is routine. Patterns lead to habits, and habits lead to routines. I just said this.
Listen, at the end of the day, if we all sat here and were honest with ourselves, we know what we would need to do. Quit that job. Start working out. Start eating better. Stop lying. Start up that side hobby. Whatever. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it may seem which is why I wanted to start the series with this blog. But I am telling you, that once you finally say “fuck it” and decide, everything will change––instantaneously. If you want a meaningful life, put in the work. There’s your “secret.”
How about that for some self-help?
“You want words to become flesh then take action.” – Deca
Edited by: Patricia Hendriks