How to Stay Motivated to Reach Your Goals

How to Achieve Work/Life Balance

Whether your goals are professional or personal in nature, there's one secret ingredient you'll need in order to achieve them: motivation. And the secret to motivation? Momentum, author Aytekin Tank suggests in an article for

"Success doesn't always start with extraordinary motivation. Just like a snowball gathering speed, sometimes motivation builds after we begin," Tank explains. "Once we take even the tiniest step forward, momentum will soon keep you rolling. That's because sustained momentum toward a goal creates a compound effect -- the principle that consistent, incremental effort can produce dramatic changes over time."

And yet, momentum doesn't move forward on its own. Like a car engine, it needs fuel in order to rev. To generate that fuel, Tank recommends the "Seinfeld Strategy," which comedian Jerry Seinfeld famously used to hone his comedic skills and achieve his renowned success.

"Years ago, [Seinfeld] hung a wall calendar in a prominent location and drew a big, red 'X' through the day if he had written new jokes," Tank reports. "As the Xs began to pile up, his motivation grew. 'You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt,' Jerry Seinfeld told a young comedian. 'Your only job is to not break the chain.'"

The visual cues of success a "chain" like this creates are the fire many people need to kindle momentum and, from that, motivation.

"Many people now use this strategy to track everything from jogging to cooking to saving money and working on their startups," Tank continues. "Author James Clear says the Physics of Productivity -- that is, Newton's First Law applied to habit formation -- explains why this tactic is often successful. 'Objects in motion tend to stay in motion,' Clear writes. 'Once a task has begun, it is easier to continue moving it forward.'"

The Seinfeld strategy can be further enhanced with routines and rituals. "If you want to write a blog post, choose a time each day when you'll write just one paragraph. Maintain this routine until you're done," Tank says. "Want to accelerate your momentum? Create a ritual to pair with the routine. Do five minutes of mindful breathing … Or pour a fresh cup of coffee, then get started. The act you choose is far less important than the ritual itself, because daily repetition 'primes' your brain to tackle the task."

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