These last couple of months sitting at home on the couch have eroded more than my waist line. My get-up-and-go is gone, too. How about you?
I admit there’s nothing wrong with a break from our overscheduled and distracted lives. I’m not suggesting we return to that. I’m proposing we restore some healthy momentum in the wake of binging on Netflix and potato chips. Momentum is our proof of life!
Oddly enough, momentum doesn’t build by filling up our calendars and frantically rushing out to make up for lost time. Don’t mistake a busy life for positive momentum. Healthy momentum emerges by slowing down, but in a totally different way than how we’ve been living recently.
Seriously? How can slowing down build momentum!?
We build momentum when we slow down to focus on the moments of our life.
If this seems a strange correlation, think of this: momentum is the 14th century Latin root of the word moment. This speaks to me about their practical kinship. Unlike an instant, they are both ongoing, and a transition between our past and our future. Our moments are the secret agents of momentum.
Here are four momentum-makers to restore the life we deserve:
Your Ordinary Moments Can Be Extraordinary
It’s easy to remember the big, life-changing moments in our lives. But it’s equally important to see how the everyday ones are special too. The true meaning of our moments is more about how we orient our hearts and souls toward them. We can always find meaning in every moment if we choose.
Our seemingly unremarkable and barely noticeable moments can provide us with inside information about the meaning of life. Begin by raising your awareness of the feel-good moments of your day. Then create the habit of looking for them the next day.
Every night, take inventory of:
- What made you laugh and feel good?
- What stirred up feelings of love and life?
- Where were the moments of unexpected beauty?
Sure, make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it. But in spite of your plans, look around and drink in the momentum-building moments of your life.
Create a “Life-List”
As an extrovert living in this slower world, I’ve been re-examining the concept of the bucket list. My problem with bucket list mentality is that it feels driven by the fear that time is running out. Yes, time is precious. But healthy momentum doesn’t thrive under pressure.
There were times in my life when I didn’t know if I’d live or die. I planned my recovery with promises to write another book, travel to Israel, and maybe raise llamas!
Last time I was in this life threatening position, something changed. I stopped thinking about what I hadn’t done and began to feel God nudge me to do what I was already doing, but differently. Rather than live like I was dying, I began to live like I was living. So:
- Stop pressuring yourself to make up for lost time.
- Don’t ask what you haven’t done. Ask what you can do better.
- Start using the phrase life list instead of bucket list!
Live as If You Have All the Time in the World
Momentum doesn’t mean living faster. It means living better. This concept may be hard to accept considering many of us give in to the warning: “There aren’t enough hours in the day.” We love shortcuts, express lanes, and rapid rewards. The problem is, an abbreviated life is less of a life.
If you live like you have all the time in the world, your life will feel more valuable. You will create the kind of momentum that carries you up and on, instead of exhausting and costing you dearly. For example:
- Instead of taking the fastest way home, take the scenic route home to rebuild your energy.
- Instead of eating in the car after driving through the shortest line, pull into a spot under a tree to feed your body and your soul.
- Instead of texting the abbreviated BFF, spend three more seconds to spell out the words, Best Friends Forever. Seeing these actual words will stir up a greater positive emotional experience.
Embrace What’s Familiar in an Unfamiliar Way
Familiarity feels good. When our brains recognize something familiar, they release a small hit of dopamine – the chemical source of feel good emotions. We know what we love and so we love what we know. We get hooked on this predictable, but dangerous, feedback loop.
New experiences can feel like lifting a refrigerator – risky and frustrating. But the way our brains work is pretty cool. When they sense something new, they stretch, which is a little uncomfortable. Our brain chemistry goes a bit crazy when it expands – as do we. So, we avoid uncomfortable new experiences.
Why do we need new experiences? Because they make us feel alive. They move us toward the purpose we’ve been created for. But here’s what’s important:
- You don’t have to chase completely new activities or meet new people and places.
- Simply change HOW you experience what’s already in your life, by paying attention to the quality of your life – not the quantity of your experiences.
- Finally, get going!
You need and deserve life-affirming and meaningful momentum starting this very moment.
Has this pandemic set your momentum down? Are you moving backward instead of forward? What do you think you need to start living in the moment and get your healthy momentum back? Please share your thoughts with our community!