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How to Create Upward Momentum in Your Business (and Life)

If you don't do the work to keep moving up, you're doomed to go downhill.
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If there's anything that's true in business and in life, it's change. And change means that each element of your business and your life is either improving or deteriorating. Because nothing ever stays the same.

Take your health, for instance. Depending upon the choices you made during the day, your body is either stronger than it was yesterday or it's weaker. You've either extended your life or accelerated your demise. There's no in-between.

Similarly, depending upon the actions you took during the day, you have either grown your company's revenue, profit, and potential or you've shrunk them. There's no in-between.

A couple of days in a downward direction won't kill you or your business. However, it's extremely easy to build momentum when you're headed downhill. Building upward momentum is more difficult. It requires constant effort.

Here's how you build upward momentum:

  1. Make a list of at least six areas of your life and work that are important to you.
  2. Resolve to take at least one action, every day, to improve that area of your life.
  3. Schedule those actions into your daily routine.
  4. Execute on your plan.

For example, here's my list from a few years back:

  • Sales. Call or email at least one prospective client.
  • Health. Do at least 15 minutes of aerobic exercise.
  • Family. Make at least one person in my family feel incredibly loved.
  • Networking. Call or email at least one business contact.
  • Financing. Take at least one action that give me more control over my finances.
  • Creativity. Do at least one creative activity that's not business writing.

What I've discovered is that acting upon those resolutions, day after day, week after week, create upward momentum in the areas of my life that previously had a tendency to get shoved aside and therefore go downhill.

What I also discovered is that, because these small actions ensured that I would give attention to these areas of my life, I usually found myself doing more than the minimum that I resolved to do.

Just as important, knowing that I was address these otherwise-neglected areas freed me from the burden of worrying about them when I was hard at work.  That allowed me to get more done in less time.

Try this method for a week.  Once you feel the upward momentum, you won't want to stop.

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IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Jul 28, 2014

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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