16 Feb Momentum
Humans are daily prisoners of the temptation to let go of responsibilities. The reason we often give ourselves is as simple as the “lack of motivation”. It’s as if motivation has been engraved to be the most important component to drive efficiency and productivity.
But is that way of thinking even efficient and productive at all?
Motivation explains why people or animals initiate, continue, or terminate a certain behaviour at a particular time. It is merely the reason behind why you’re suddenly wanting to go for a 10km run or why you’re feeling a random “can do” attitude at 1 in the morning. Growing up, I’m sure we’ve all heard the importance of motivation and the power of a “can do” attitude – from primary classroom posters or school guest speakers and such, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the idea of motivation.
However, how many of us have fully grasped the fact that motivation is unsustainable?
Motivation is not useless, but it is also not ideal to use as your primary signal for productivity. It’s a great boost and possibly one of the best internal feelings that can instantly uplift your mood. Motivation gives you the feeling and the urge to act but you can’t depend on motivation to achieve your definitions of success.
Momentum refers to the “quantity of motion in a moving body”. Anything in motion has momentum therefore if we look at it in a less “sciencey” perspective – our actions contribute to creating our momentum. So instead of waiting for that strike of motivation to come again, we can maximise our efficiency during the day by depending on what we are able to control.
Just doing one simple thing in the morning can give you momentum. Making your bed, taking a shower, or brushing your teeth – anything we do after our daily morning ritual seems to come easier because we’ve already started seizing the day and our momentum is already building up.
Momentum meets Motivation
Motivation and momentum work together. Motivation can cause momentum and momentum can cause motivation. However, the latter will always be the better way to think. I’m not saying this just because I believe so, in fact, it is scientifically backed up. I’m still in no way an expert, however. I am only a mere Year 11 so please if need be, feel free to do your own research.
Motivation is involved in a brain pathway that is influenced by the neurotransmitter molecule called dopamine. Now, certain things we do release dopamine, for example, ticking off something from our to-do list, finishing a run or even eating a nice meal, can give us a rush of this chemical. This is because dopamine is connected to feelings of achievement, reward, and happiness hence why we feel motivated after seeing the long list of the things we have to do reduce to none. We can take advantage of this by remembering that momentum is action and certain actions release dopamine. Here’s an example:
If you want to finish that pesky overdue assignment, build momentum to release dopamine. Set yourself a small goal like answering the first question or writing a specific number of sentences to the best of your ability. When you finish it, there’s your achievement and there’s your dopamine, so give yourself a quick reward then get right back to it. Now, if the dopamine triggers a hit of motivation, you can utilize it to keep building further momentum until you’re able to finish!
Take control, build momentum and maximise your efficiency!
Pollen Marcuelo – Year 11