Travel lessons learned: Losing Momentum and how to get it back

Markus Ruzicka Random bits and bobs of life Leave a Comment

Momentum is what keeps us going after our goals and dreams, it’s something that provides us with energy. It’s even one of Newton’s laws: “a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion.”

Though I have learned, that we ourselves play a big role in keeping the momentum up.

It can be fairly easy to lose our momentum, especially because life has the tendency to somehow get in our way. When we lose momentum, we start to get lazy, and might eventually even give up. Maybe it’s because certain expectations weren’t met, things turned out way harder to achieve, or we just feel like being trapped in a downward spiral.

Paddling through Alaska, and the rude Awakening

In the summer of 2015, I set out to conquer the Yukon river in Canada and Alaska, to paddle 3000km from Whitehorse, up to the Bering Sea. Long story short, I pushed too hard, hurt my hands, and had to pull out after 2050km.

During my around 40 days out on the river, I had lots and lots of time to think about my life, where I want to get, how I will try to achieve it and so on. I was stoked, had lots of plans, and was full of momentum.

Right after coming home, I immediately will get a job, move to my new apartment, start with BJJ, get my girlfriend back,….and a bazillion other things.

I was biased by adventuring.

Sorting things out in the wild is quite simple: if there is a storm, you are in the middle of the river, and the waves are getting too big, it’s paddle to the shore or die. If you don’t want to have some unpleasant surprise in the night by Mr. Bear, you have to do the dishes right after eating and store them in your bear barrels. If you don’t want to get soaked by a storm at night, you have to be fast at pitching up your tent.

After coming home, grooming, trying to not get sucked up by adventure withdrawal symptoms, everything felt completely different, though I still tried to stick to my plans.

Get a job, move to my new apartment, start with BJJ, get my girlfriend back, well…the only thing I managed to do was to sign up for BJJ class, which I admittedly don’t visit as often as I “want to”.

Don’t get me wrong, I wrote about 60+ applications, and still check for open positions to get a proper working contract in order to have some proof of a stable income for my new landlord, got to know some other nice girls, and yea, I sometimes attend my BJJ class almost regularly, but there isn’t this intense urge to get things done any more.

After coming back, I wasn’t forced to paddle any more, with paddling being an anecdote of getting ahead in life, got lazy, and slowly lost my momentum.

Especially in view of the fact I wrote a book about grasping life to the fullest… (Yea, following our own advice can be quite tough.)


Reclaiming momentum

Momentum is what keeps us going, be it our dreams, be it our goals, be it us being forced to by nature. As we are all humans, it is perfectly fine to have a bad day, be bored, feel like getting nowhere, and on tops, losing momentum feels like another blow to the liver. We feel derailed.

Often, we then sit back, and wait for some miracle, or rather special event to happen, to get us back on track.

Yesterday I had an interesting talk with a friend of mine, who happens to be a physicist (and thereby highly logical), that shook me up. It went about so: “Why do people always need to wait for new years eve, next Monday, or some other distinct point in the near future to get going and sort out their lives? Time isn’t a loop or something that is partitioned and runs in circles, and there is absolutely no sense in waiting for some specific point to set of.”

Well, as most of us aren’t physicists, we either like to set specific dates where we plan on doing something, or we are waiting for certain (actually unrelated) events to happen, because we get the feeling we will have more momentum then. And partly, I believe it to be true, as it feels like a fresh start. A fresh start which gives us momentum.

(Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we have to wait for certain events to happen, before we can get going. Learning to play the guitar, without having a guitar to practice would be quite pointless.)

Alas, why not define the fresh start for ourselves to be right now? (Well, or maybe after getting some sleep if it’s 2 a.m. like here.)

Start small, with tiny steps. Take it easy, and be nice to yourself. Keep in mind that if things don’t work out immediately, that that’s not a big deal. Never overestimate others, they struggle too, they just don’t show it. Like a child that learns how to walk, and gets faster from step to step, to finally up and running, we too can rebuild our momentum.

One thing is for certain, even though you might not succeed immediately, you will feel better for actively doing something to achieve your goals, and that’s the first step on getting the momentum rolling again!

I for my part, will wade through another bulk of corporate bullshit saturated job announcements, and even if I won’t get the job the 65th time, or the 66th time, at some point I certainly will, look back, have a good laugh, and move to my new apartment!

P.s: If really struggling, like with morning sports, it might help turning into a cave man for 15 seconds!

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