Motivation vs. Momentum

I recently had a conversation with another artist friend in which he mentioned to me that he has been having so much trouble getting motivated to work.  He said he had several paintings which needed to be done, but he simply doesn't have the motivation to work on them.

I find myself in that situation often and I know how awful it feels to be there.  On one hand, you want to do the work, but on the other hand, you don't want to.  You end up simultaneously feeling guilty about not doing the work and not wanting to do the work.  It's not a happy spot to be in.

However, I tried to point out to my friend that I don't think his problem is motivation, I think it's momentum.

The difference is subtle.  Motivation is the underlying desire to do something.  Momentum is the force that keeps you moving in a direction.  Motivation is necessary, in any degree, in order to create the momentum, but the momentum is what keeps you on track.

My friend is feeling motivated.  He wants to do the work.  He clearly doesn't want it bad enough to just jump in, but he's been making small steps to "try to get motivated", he told me.  He's motivated. He's trying to regain his momentum.

So, you're motivated.  You want to do it.  How do you get the momentum?

Momentum can only be created by you and it can only be created by getting to work.

An object in motion stays in motion, right?  So the real trick is overcoming resistance and getting in motion.  This week, we'll be talking more about motivation, momentum, and resistance, but right now, let's determine if your core problem is motivation or momentum:

1. Do you want to do it or do you feel like you need/have to do it?  If you don't want to do it, you have a motivation issue.
2. You want to do it, but starting feels so unappealing.  If this is a yes, your problems include both motivation and momentum.
3. You want to do it, you've had several false starts, and can't seem to keep it together.  This is a momentum issue.