6 Ways You Can Ride the Momentum from the New Year

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Whether you like it or not, the holidays are over. It’s time to sober up and get busy on your big goals for this year. The good news is that it shouldn’t be too difficult finding motivation to start.  With the new year comes a lot of new energy. The bad news is that starting your goals is the easy part. The real test comes when all the excitement from the new year wears off.

Businessman Relaxing

Like most people, you’ll be off to a great start at the beginning of the year. You’ll hit the gym, start reading that book that’s been sitting on your shelf, and actually stick to your budget.

That’s the edge the new year brings. You can start with a clean slate, telling everyone at the office how you’re going to crush this next year. You are more motivated than ever.

But that’s just the problem…

…your motivation from the new year is coming from an external event, not an internal drive.

Motivation from the new year comes only once a year (unless of course you also celebrate the Chinese New Year).

If you wait until January to find your motivation, it’s probably not going to stick around a few months later when times get tough and your goals are challenged.

Last year I was incredibly determined to make a short leadership video every single day. I wanted to work on my speaking skills and thought videos would be a great idea. Coming out of the gates running, I hit my goal of making a video every day for 3 weeks straight.

Of course, it didn’t last. My schedule changed, and the time and effort it took to make a video every day was just too much. I eventually lost motivation for that goal (but I still made some awesome videos like this one).

What the new year does bring, however, is an excellent starting point.

Just like when your mom or dad would give you that initial boost on the swing set, the new year can give your goals the boost it needs for a great start.

The challenge is keeping up the momentum from that initial boost. On that swing set, if you wanted to continue swinging, all you had to do was kick your legs back and forth a couple of times to maintain the motion. Without much effort, you could keep swinging as long as you wanted. That’s the power of momentum – once you have it, it’s easy to keep up.

So as you kick off this new year, here are 6 of the best ways that I’ve personally found to use that initial boost and keep up the momentum so you can hit your big goals:

1. Immerse Yourself

Having big goals can feel overwhelming and if you try to do too much, you can easily get burnt out. So rather than being a “jack of all trades and master of none”, it’s far better to become highly proficient in one skill at a time.

This practice is called immersion. It’s about taking your goal and breaking it down into manageable pieces. I recommend doing it 3 months at a time. This gives you plenty of time to immerse yourself on whatever topic you need to learn.

For example, let’s say that you want to get better at public speaking and your goal is to speak at a TED Talk. Using the immersion strategy, you would:

Your only goal in those 3 months is to learn how to become a better speaker. It’s not how to design powerpoint slides or how to actually apply for a TED talk – it’s just about that one skill.

In just 3 months, not only do your goals come quicker than expected, but you are less likely to get burnt out and lose grasp of that goal.

2. Reconnect With Your Goals Weekly

Have you ever thought about buying a new car and then suddenly you see that exact car – everywhere? That, my friends, is the power of focus.

What you focus on grows.

That’s why the more you focus and review your goals, the more likely they are to happen. So while you may feel confident setting a goal at the beginning of the year, simply writing it down and looking at it once isn’t going to fly. Hitting your goal takes consistent focus.

That’s why I created the Weekly Planning Guide. This guide helps keep my focus by tracking my goals. I use this guide to review my goals every single week and keep an eye on my progress. Just enter in your information below and I’ll send you the guide, for free.

3. Stay in Motion Physically

Newton’s First Law of Motion states that “a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” So while you can thank the new year for kickstarting your goals, it’s your job to keep yourself in motion (it’s much easier than starting all over).

According to Tony Robbins, keeping your body in motion all starts with your physiology.

Think about it, have you ever fallen asleep while walking? Unless you have narcolepsy, it’s almost impossible.

What about when driving late at night? Probably a different story.

Your physiology matters. It’s what helps you get into a positive state. It’s what helps keep you in motion. When you change your physiology, you increase blood flow throughout the body which stimulates the neurons in your brain. If you feel like you are losing momentum, simply move your body around to get back into a positive state.

Go for a walk, work out, or jump into a cold shower. They all work great for shocking your body out of a negative state (I personally recommend the cold shower) and getting you back in motion.

4. Selectively Announce Your Goals For the World to See

There are just as many studies done about the benefits of coffee as there are about how awful it is for you. It’s so confusing. Either way, it works for me so I’m going to keep drinking it (I prefer Bulletproof Coffee).

That’s how I operate with telling people about my goals. Just like coffee, there are tons of people who strongly advise against telling people your goals while others think it’s a great idea. My opinion? Selectively announce your goals for others to see.

Personally, I want to be held accountable. I want other people knowing my goals because there is a social anxiety that comes with not doing something that you told people you were going to do. What I don’t want is for the entire world (i.e. Facebook) to see my goals.

For example, if I was planning to quit my job (which I’m not), would it be a good idea to tell my boss those plans? Probably not. That’s why I selectively tell people my goals. I recommend you do the same: Find your inner circle and hold each other accountable for your goals. It will make all the difference.

5. Set Negative Levers On Your Goals

As humans, we are driven one of two ways:

  1. Towards pleasure
  2. Away from pain

Pain will always be a bigger motivator than pleasure. Use it to your advantage and set negative levers to hold yourself accountable to your goals throughout the year.

For example, if you don’t commit to a habit you said you were going to, you must donate to the charity of your worst enemy’s choice (you should be cringing just thinking of this!).

This is the stick to the “carrot and stick” situation. I’ll actually be using this “negative lever” method a lot this year, using a company called Stickk to help me stay accountable (follow me @scottallenbradley to see what goals I’m committed to and which anti-charities I will have to give to if I don’t follow through).

6. Get Motivated Daily

One of my favorite quotes is from Zig Ziglar, who famously said:

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

If you are going to ride the momentum of the new year, you must incorporate it into your daily routine.

My recommendation is doing it first thing in the morning. It will help set a positive outlook for the day and get you started right.

For daily tidbits, my personal favorites are The Daily Stoic and Darren Daily. Motivation also comes from a daily practice of reading and consuming the right content. Never tried personal development before? In my Personal Development 101 Guide, I outline the best books and resources you can use to kickstart your personal and professional development. Download it for free in the link below.

If you’re not willing to lose that promotion this year, be overlooked for another job, or lose the weight you’ve been wanting to drop then keeping your momentum is going to be crucial.

The fact still remains that 92% of you won’t hit your goals this year. The numbers don’t lie. However, if you follow these tips and continually stay tapped into the right resources and people, you could join the ranks of the top 8% of performers. I’m not saying it will be easy, but it sure will be worth it.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.