What is the secret that is going to help you achieve your dream? It’s building momentum.
Don’t let the fear of failure, the distance you need to travel, or the length of time it will take to get there keep you from taking the first baby step toward your objective. Because the first step leads to the second, which leads to the third. Your muscles ache, and you’re watching your feet to make sure every step lands on solid ground. Your end goal seems so very far away, but you keep moving because you know you’ll never get there by standing still.
You notice some people turn around and head home, while others stop to try to build a racecar that will get them to the finish line quicker. You don’t know how to build a racecar, so you just keep going.
And while you’re covering ground, all sorts of other unexpected benefits are coming your way. Your body starts to get used to the exercise, so you’re able to move faster, without getting out of breath as easily. Before you know it, you’re jogging. And you get to know your body better so that when you are out of breath, you know when you can push through and when you need to slow down for a while.
You meet other people on similar journeys who give you advice, some of which works for you. They cheer you on. They tell you about shortcuts to take and paths to avoid. You see other people starting out on their own journeys, and you tell them that it gets easier because you know how tough those first few steps can be.
Your cheap walking shoes wear out, so you invest in some good quality ones and don’t know how you ever got by with the old ones. Then you think about how far you made it in the old ones. You remember that the shoes are the tools, but you’re still the one who has to take the steps.
You pass by people sitting on a bench, telling you to give up – you’ll never make it – but by now you’re moving so fast that you barely hear them. You think about them for a few moments after you pass them. How did they get to that bench? Why don’t they just get up and keep taking steps? Who would want to sit on the same bench their whole life?
Some days you are tired, but you know that you can keep taking one step at a time because you’ve done it before. Most days, you wake up and can’t wait to keep going because your body has become so used to burning all that energy, you don’t know what you’d do if you had to sit still. Every once in a while, you glance backward. But all you see are things you’ve already seen. Places you’ve already been. You can’t even see your starting point anymore.
You realize that finding solid ground is like second nature now, and you no longer have to stare at the road. It seems so funny that you used to spend so much time looking down. Now you spend most of your time looking forward.
At some point, you realize that the destination isn’t nearly as important as the journey. The path you had planned in the beginning is getting a bit too boring, the journey too easy, so you decide to pick up a partner, change directions and go on an adventure.
Maybe you decide to climb a mountain. You’ve never even seen a mountain in person before, so it totally wasn’t on your radar when you began your trip. And you think, “man, what was I doing with all that walking and running? I should have been training to climb all this time. The other people on this mountain have been climbing so much longer than me.”
You and your partner team up with a group of other climbers who are headed toward the same summit. You tell them the story of where you started, the paths you took. They tell you theirs. Some people had a relatively easy journey while others… you couldn’t even imagine doing what they did to get here. You’re surrounded by the same type of people that you used to look to for inspiration. But you’re all in the same place now, and you help each other as you ascend to new heights. A few people in the group are veteran climbers. They keep climbing new and different mountains over and over and already have the tools and experiences to get through just about any type of mountain terrain and weather. You’re incredibly happy to be climbing with them.
You know that even if the journey is tough, you can get through it if you keep taking it one rock at a time. Your body is in good shape now, so even though your arms are aching and your core is burning, you don’t need to stop to catch your breath. Who knew that those strong leg muscles from running would come in so handy for climbing a mountain?
Together, you make it to the top and look at the world below you. Everything seems so small, so achievable. You reflect on the beginning of your journey and realize you’ve traveled much further than you had planned. You’ve been on the move for years, which is funny because you remember thinking that it would take forever to get anywhere worthwhile. But when you look back now, the time flew by so fast.
You see someone down below speeding along in their race car and think its pretty good you didn’t try to build one because you would have never made it to the top of a mountain in a car.
You descend the mountain carefully, marveling at how much work is involved in climbing down. Still, it is much easier it is to come down a mountain than to climb up one and you make good time.
You continue to keep moving, not in as big of a rush as you used to be. You take the time to stop and talk to people, offering your advice. They tell you that they couldn’t possibly do what you did. They don’t have the right shoes. They don’t have as much energy as you. They have to pull a wagon full of rocks behind them. You want to scream because you know that you did it, that countless other people have done it, and that they can do it too if they really wanted to. You realize that you can’t actually take the steps for someone else, and you can’t force them to take them either.
You also talk to people who tell you about their own incredible journeys. Some stayed on the road while others made their own paths through the unexplored jungle. Now, you realize, you can tackle any adventure you want to. You have the tools and the drive. You begin to look for new challenges, new people, new places. It’s hard to think of a goal that seems out of reach because you have already achieved the seemingly impossible.
Momentum will keep you moving, faster than you thought possible. If the going is tough and you really don’t want to keep moving, just think about how much easier it will be tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that if you just stick with it. Focused energy multiplied by time equals miraculous results.