January 11, 2011

Maintaining Momentum

Day 11: 25.3 miles/1:33

“When the going is easy and the wind is at your back, push hard; when the going gets tough, push harder.”

Our lives pretty much exist in cycles where on one day focusing on accomplishment doesn’t take much. We seem to be on point and on task with everything. The day flies by, the energy, the conversations, and the output is simply excellent. Then, the next day we feel like we are carrying around a piano. Things seem to move slowly, everything seems to be going wrong, nothing is going right, and we get almost nothing done. How is it that the same person can experience two entirely different days? It is called life. Sometimes we simply couldn’t engage that day. It happens.

Brandon was talking last night with a great deal of clarity regarding his experiences in this cycle. He has days where working out, writing down his thoughts, attending a meeting, and feeling good about life is easy. Other days, the simple prospect of doing any one of those things is more than he can deal with. The difference for him in his current state of clarity is that on those days where doing anything is a chore, are the days that it is most important for him to make sure he does them. When he shared that with me, I was impressed. He was right on.

It is the off days that can cost us all of our momentum. No matter how far and fast we travel on our good days, we can lose all our momentum on one off day. This is not to say there will not be off days; we have already established there are. The key to managing the off day is to push through it harder than ever to make certain that everything we have defined as key to our commitments are fulfilled. If we don’t fulfill them, we lose momentum. Off days cannot slow us down or stop us. Our accomplishments on the off days is what gives us that added energy on the good days. When we don’t fulfill our commitments on the off days, that failure has a carryover effect. We have a tendency to reflect back on bad days and will even acknowledge that we didn’t have a good or complete day. That results in some sense of failing or shortcoming. It is human nature to be disappointed for allowing a bad day to interrupt our progress. And it does happen. As a result, an off day becomes an off day, plus.

Similarly, the effect of pushing through a bad day and fulfilling our commitments has a tendency to increase our energy and enthusiasm. After all, “It was a rough day and I still got everything done.” “Even in the worst of times, I fulfilled my commitments.” Those are pretty powerful internal conversations. Imagine how that makes you feel. Even when things go bad, things were accomplished. Those are the types of outcomes that create that wind at your back moments on the good days. Not only are you having a good day, you are having a great day because you turned a bad day into a successful day. You now have this contagious positive energy every day, even on the bad ones.

Pushing through on the bad days creates momentum for the good ones. Never lose sight of your commitments and your goal. Even if you move slowly, painfully forward to accomplish your commitments on the hardest of days, the outcome of that accomplishment will be greater than the accomplishment itself. It will be the source of ongoing and sustainable and positive energy to drive you even harder on your best days. Momentum is a wonderful and dangerous resource. When you have it, you can go very far, very fast. When you lose it, it can take a lot of effort to get it started again. Keep your commitments, focus on the goal and you will always have momentum on your side—even when you don’t necessarily feel it.

About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.