Maintaining Momentum

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Yesterday at the Massachusetts Conference for Women, I met an HTP reader named Beth.  We sat and talked about how hard it is to pursue big dreams when you aren’t even totally sure what those dreams look like and still have to juggle the everyday junk.  She commented that so many people leave inspiring conferences like the Conference for Women thinking, ‘Okay! I am going to CHANGE MY LIFE NOW!’ but then they get home and there are dirty dishes in the sink, and just like that, you fall back into your old patterns and never make any changes.


So, today I am thinking a lot about maintaining momentum.  How to make a change in your life when you still need to do the dishes and pay the bills.  Maybe it’s kind of like setting a daily healthy intention?  But instead of promising to drink water, you set a mini-lifestyle goal.  Thoughts?


Brain fuel:


Just a broccoli and goat cheese omelet:


And some citrus:


Have a WONDERFUL Friday.  Make it great!



  • Emily G. @ from my messy desk December 9, 2011, 9:58 am

    That omelet looks so good. Mine don’t quite flop like that, but they’re still pretty good!

    I think people get overwhelmed with the new goals they want to set and try to do it all at once and end up burning out. I don’t like change and it takes me a couple weeks to adapt. I’ll admit, it’s sometimes easier (stress-wise) to go back to my old habits because they’re what I know.

  • Kate December 9, 2011, 9:58 am

    One thing I did was make my changes part of my routine just like paying bills. For example, I don’t go straight home after work, I go straight to the gym. This means I don’t get home and decide my pile of laundry is more important than working out or that I’m “too tired” to go back out. I also suggest “athletic” outings to my friends instead of our usual restaurant trips – I think you could adapt that concept to apply to anything you want to prioritize in your life whether its service or healthy living or professional development or any other change you want to make.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 9, 2011, 9:59 am

    Great topic! I feel the same way after leaving the fitness professional conference that I attend every summer – it’s like you’re all proactive and ready to be amazing until…. you get home and have to go back to your regular pre-conference life. I think it’s important to remember that baby steps can lead to big changes, and to just take them one step at a time. 🙂 Glad you had such a great conference!

  • Khushboo December 9, 2011, 10:04 am

    I definitely think it’s similar to the daily healthy intentions: whether it’s our health or life, we can’t overhaul everything in one shot! Choose 1-2 of the most important areas and focus on tackling those first! Slowly you will see results and your life changing in front of your own eyes!

  • Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine December 9, 2011, 10:16 am

    I think it’s one of those things that you have to remind yourself, over and over, until it becomes second nature. I’m a fan of sticking post-its somewhere you’ll see them every day, like in the mirror!

  • Joanne December 9, 2011, 10:16 am

    Make a list of all the changes you’d like to make.
    Prioritize them. Start with number one and when you’ve practiced that for two weeks, move on to goal number 2. Small changes lead to big ones. 🙂

  • Tina @ Best Body Fitness December 9, 2011, 10:18 am

    I definitely think it’s easy to get super motivated after encountering a conference or something similar. I believe the key is to use that drive to discover goals and ambitions, but still have a reasonable approach. What steps can you take each day to help work towards those dreams? The dreams still may not shape themselves right away, but knowing you are making the best of each day and not giving up can lead to great changes. Lord knows I have gone through a LOT this past year and am now at a place a year ago I wouldn’t have imagined possible. It was a dream. It took time. It took effort. But it’s finally starting to take physical shape. If I had expected it to just “poof” happen bec I willed it…I would probably not be where I am right now.

  • Adrianne Franco December 9, 2011, 10:19 am

    I agree with Casey, reminding yourself helps create a habit. It takes a lot of discipline to work it out but it pays off. I know, it did for me. 🙂

  • Victoria December 9, 2011, 10:22 am

    I think it requires really tiny, baby steps.
    – go to bed one minute earlier.
    – send the email that you neglected to send.

    An unrelated question:
    Jillian Michaels tapes: No More Trouble Zones
    or Ripped IN 30 ? Which one is a better choice?

    Do you or your readers have thoughts? For a basic strength training plan?

    • Caitlin December 10, 2011, 9:30 am

      @Victoria: I haven’t tried either but all Jillian is good 🙂 I’ve done the 30 day shred and loved it.

  • KellyK December 9, 2011, 10:24 am

    Classic! Get motivated at a conference and return back to the normal pace of life and the clutter and junk bogs down any momentum to pursue changes. I’ve done that a million times.
    Goal setting really helps. So does clearing out the clutter that bogs life down. I’ve tried to focus more on organizing my life to add time and space for my dreams worth pursuing. It does help. Discipline is the key.

  • colleen December 9, 2011, 10:30 am

    That is SO TRUE! After leaving conferences or workshops, or watching webinars, or reading blogs (especially yours) I am filled with so much drive and desire to change and improve in all aspects of my life. But then a day goes by and real life gets in the way of that drive-paying bill, tending to a household, being a mom of three, a wife of one, etc. It’s been going on for too long and I really need to nip it in the butt very soon. Yesterday I vowed to take the last week of this month to get organized for next year and develop a game plan for constant small actions. Need to remember life is a marathon not a sprint. And I will get to where I want to be only if a plan out small manageable steps each day/week/month.

  • Marisa E December 9, 2011, 10:35 am

    Boy would I love the answer to that question!!! That is me…..all the time. I want change for the better, for myself and my family. But I feel like I don’t have two seconds in my day for even a clear thought of what it is I want let alone how to put anything into action.

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb December 9, 2011, 10:42 am

    this is such a good question/thought. it is so easy to get wrapped up in our day to day lives and the things that need to be done just to keep you afloat (for lack of a better word). i think it’s about taking little bits of time whenever you can to make a change… it doesn’t happen easily or quickly, and it’s hard work, but it will all add up.

  • briana December 9, 2011, 10:49 am

    SO TRUE. One thing I’ve been trying to do lately (as in, like, the past three days) is to really get myself in the right frame of mind at night about the next day. that means, first of all, planning and prioritizing the day (realistically) but also thinking positively about it and all that you are going to accomplish. it’s also helped with my sleep a bit, which, for a chronic insomniac, is huge!

  • Amanda December 9, 2011, 10:57 am

    Gosh, I am so guilty of not being able to maintain momentum after I ger fired up about something! I can’t wait to see what you come up with :))

  • lynne @lgsmash December 9, 2011, 11:14 am

    I agree with maintaining momentum – or not being able to! I’m wanting to make a change in my life right now too – one that requires research and resumes – but after I get home from a long day at work, it’s so hard to get myself BACK on the computer to do the hunt. To help combat this, I’m setting aside 2 hours this weekend to work ONLY on said search. No twitter, no blogs, no TV, no nothing!

  • Sarah December 9, 2011, 11:28 am

    YES. Big life-changing goals are tough when you don’t even know what Life’s Passion without shirking my daily responsibilities (which I still enjoy as a part of my life… I just wouldn’t say Laundry is my life’s passion, ya know?).

    I think part of it is letting go of the idea that everyone has ONE passion and you’re floundering/failing at life if you don’t discover it. Especially now in my mid-20’s, I feel SO much pressure from the world in that regard.

    I feel like I am a person with many things I’m interested in and good at, so I just take them as they come. I’ve been developing these smaller interests in my free time and see where they go. If one of them turns out to be that ONE passion, then great. If not, then I’m still filling my life with things that I enjoy.

    Now that I’ve relaxed about finding my ONE passion, I am finding more joy in my current job that I thought I “hated” previously.

    • Sarah December 9, 2011, 11:30 am

      Ok, that first paragraph got really messed up… I apologize for my incoherence. Queue giant mug of coffee…

      It should read:

      “YES. Big life-changing goals are tough when you don’t even know what it looks like. How am I supposed to find my Life’s Passion without shirking my daily responsibilities (which I still enjoy as a part of my life… I just wouldn’t say Laundry is my life’s passion, ya know?)”

  • Vikki December 9, 2011, 11:34 am

    When you work 50+ hours a week, sleep 6 hours a night, commute an hour or more a day, time is at a premium. So to maintain momentum on things that I want to do like my writing career(I’m not yet published, but I view it as a career), I set small daily goal. It could be write 1000 words a day or set a timer for a half an hour and revise as much as I can.

    The important thing to do is to make it a priority. If the dishes sit in the sink an extra day or if I grab something from Moe’s for dinner, it isn’t the end of the world. Writing is what I want to do and it has to come before the non-essentials like cooking, cleaning, and yes, sometimes exercising. Not always, cooking healthy food is good, living in a clean house is good, exercising is good, but if I only have an hour a day to spare, I’m going to use it to write.

    • briana December 9, 2011, 12:09 pm

      really like this comment!

    • Elisabeth December 9, 2011, 12:32 pm

      Thank you for this comment! I work 10 hour days & commute an hour each way and have been trying to figure out how I can find the time to work on a career change – I really needed to hear this 🙂

      • Vikki December 9, 2011, 2:19 pm


        There is always going to be something else that “needs” to be done. Choose to do what you want to do.

  • Moni'sMeals December 9, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Great post. I am going to be pondering all day. 🙂

    But I will tell you what…YES, today will be great because like you said, let’s make it! 🙂

    TGIF. 🙂

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife December 9, 2011, 12:02 pm

    OOOhhh that omelette looks tasty! I LOVE goat cheese.

    I think it is all about the small steps toward that momentum/momentous change. You gotta celebrate and be grateful as you go along or else it’ll never stick!

  • Sarah@The Flying ONION December 9, 2011, 12:07 pm

    I can so relate to what you’re talking about. It’s easy to feel inspired and confident about making changes, but then life gets in the way and all of it becomes forgotten.

    I think it’s important to do some deep thinking and recognize WHY we want the change in the first place. Sometimes we recognize other peoples’ excitement and think this is our own. But we each have different goals, different ambitions. Finding WHAT we want to make a change in and WHY can serve as motivation to keep us going.

    AND, I think having someone to talk to about us will keep us determined. It’s easy to drift off if nobody knows about our plans. Having someone share the excitement is sometimes enough to keep us going (and gives us someone to bounce ideas off of!)

    GREAT post! 😀

  • Beth December 9, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Thanks for writing this post, Caitlin! It was great to chat with you yesterday, and it’s so interesting to see fellow readers’ comments and suggestions – now I understand even better why you do this, as it’s really gratifying to see other people’s thoughts on the hot topic that’s in your own mind!

    I find it helpful to be reminded that I’m not the only one who has a hard time with this, and especially that someone as motivated as you deals with the same challenges that the rest of us do. I do feel like I’m approaching some kind of turning point (which I help will lead to a tipping point!), and building up and maintaining momentum will be a big part of it. I’m taking everyone’s suggestions to heart on this topic!

  • Laura December 9, 2011, 12:17 pm

    This is exactly what I’m struggling with right now. I want to change my career and start living my dreams, but I still need to maintain a certain level of income while my husband is in school. We have a couple of potential forks in the road coming up, one of which would force me to leave my current field of work and pursue something else (like my dream?). Not sure if that is the fork husbando is going to choose though.

  • Candice @ Sailing on Paper December 9, 2011, 12:28 pm

    This is a really good question. I think that we all struggle with meeting goals and going after a vision because these things are so in tangible, you know? You can’t necessarily feel or see a physical difference at first. So it’s hard to keep going after something if you don’t see it paying off right away. But I do think small goals are key. As well as keeping yourself accountable. Failures happen all the time–to everyone–so knowing yourself and being honest with your progress is the best way to keep moving forward.

  • Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers December 9, 2011, 12:49 pm

    There’s a reason we all fall into ruts – change is haaaard! Luckily, it’s often worth the extra effort. Have a great weekend!

  • Katie of Cabbage Ranch December 9, 2011, 12:52 pm

    Building or changing a life isn’t an overnight thing, and there’s never a finish line. Small changes often don’t seem significant enough to really enjoy a “Ta-Da!” moment. (Oh how I love the big Reveals in reality television!) For me, what works best is to set small goals and especially take a moment to recognize when I reach them. I’m not always good about relishing an accomplishment, but fortunately I often get a reminder to slow down and pat myself on the back for a millisecond before moving on… (thank you, husband) That gives me the inner fuel to survive the daily grind without wearing down my inner fiyah!

  • Ali December 9, 2011, 12:52 pm

    This is something I have been thinking a lot about, but on a larger scale. I have been considering quitting my job, moving 300 miles away, and going back to school but what is scaring me is how to pay bills and insurance. It’s definitely scary, but I think sometime we just have to jump to be happy. Just not sure if I’m ready to jump yet! It’s easy to get excited about a career change but all the normal daily life stuff makes me tired and unmotivated.

  • Amanda December 9, 2011, 1:25 pm

    This is a great discussion topic. I certainly struggle with this, but what I’ve found works for me is dedicating the time to do something small each day or week that gets me closer to where I want to be. If I think too much about the big picture, I get overwhelmed and it can be paralyzing. I think of my goals in terms of steps until I build the confidence (and financial means, etc) to take a very calculated leap.

  • zoe (and the beatles) December 9, 2011, 1:34 pm

    so funny you bring up a topic like this! i was just thinking about this yesterday. i think we all find inspiration easily. it’s difficult to actually hold onto that inspiration, however. it’s like we puff ourselves up with the idea of change but then deflate the second we realize the effort needed for said change. ugh. not a fan.

    baby steps help a lot. complete life overhauls rarely work. i feel like big steps lead to eventual early burn out. lists seem to help a lot, too. writing out what you want to do. something about organizing your thoughts, ideas and plans you know? oh, and inspirational quotes! if you lose the initial inspiration, respark it with something motivating!

  • Angela @ MyPinkyToes December 9, 2011, 1:52 pm

    What a true statement. Sometimes life just feels like it gets in the way, but that doesn’t take the opportunity away!

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats December 9, 2011, 2:00 pm

    I agree, I often get inspired, but then dragged back down by everyday life! Maybe having something visual to see and remind you of your goals?

  • Lindsey December 9, 2011, 2:00 pm

    This post speaks volumes to me. The same thing applies to reading self help books. I tend to take notes so I can focus, and I know what they are saying is really important and speaks to me, but putting it into practice is where things fall down. I agree with the comments on baby steps. It is so true that sometimes we are implementing little changes without even knowing it until you have an aha! moment and say to yourself wow, I have come a long way. We are too hard on ourselves and tend to want change right now!! If you give yourself a break you will see that you are changing, just at the pace that is appropriate for you.

  • Miranda @ Living One Bite at a Time December 9, 2011, 2:06 pm

    That omelet looks so good! How do you make them so perfectly???

  • kalli December 9, 2011, 2:10 pm

    caitlin, i love this post! so true….how do you battle with everyday things and look to a huge gowl or acheivement at the same time. i battel with this daily. how do i combine my love of health and welness with my very busy job as a high school administrator. i like your idea of making a daily goal or intention. life is short! we need to balance fun and duties carefully but also live our lives to the fullest!

  • Amber K December 9, 2011, 2:21 pm

    That is so true, I will often read an amazing story and think – I will now be completely different! I will give all of myself! I won’t let stress get to me! And then real life happens and I’m back at square one. Holding onto that inspiration is so important to actually make change happen.

  • lauren December 9, 2011, 2:43 pm

    Momentum is one thing, but change is another. Ultimately, we make time for the things that are important to us – sometimes not changing is because we want/need to keep the status quo, which might involve bills, family life, other important things. When you need to give someplace, you’re usually taking from someplace else – and that’s what makes it so hard!

  • Sarah December 9, 2011, 3:12 pm

    I was just talking to my husband about this last night! We talked it through and it seems like the best plan of attack for me (for us) is mutual accountability. So we’re starting to set small goals together, slowly. It’s too overwhelming for me to say, “ok, self, I’M going to eat healthy every day, and exercise, and be a perfect wife, and a great student, starting now!” Start small and go slow!

    • CaitlinHTP December 10, 2011, 9:26 am

      @Sarah: What a great idea. Accountability is the primary reason I blog!

  • Aundra Weissert | Fit for Life December 9, 2011, 3:14 pm

    Caitlin, what a great post. Short & sweet, but I think it’s something that’s in the back of all of our minds.

    I think it has to do with attitude, among other things. Instead of saying “gosh, I’d love to do that someday,” I’m making today someday.

    I agree with Vikki’s comment above, that it’s about making those tasks a priority. Your entire life can change with one small shift in priorities, and that can become your reality!

  • Jolene (Homespun Heritage) December 9, 2011, 3:31 pm

    I’m a list maker and I truly do better when I can check off things on a list. Even if they are drink water, change the laundry, feed your 4 children, etc! Seriously, though, I do much better having my goals on paper and checking them off as I go.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 9, 2011, 6:17 pm

    This is so true! It’s easy to get inspired by something and want to make a change. But it’s so hard to follow through with it! I think that writing things down and making an action plan is always a good idea. 🙂

  • Erin December 10, 2011, 3:18 pm

    It’s very hard to stay focused when life is always giving you more work, more distractions, more ways to make you tired. What helps me is to have lots of plans and goals. I have daily, weekly and yearly goals that I wish to accomplish BUT I don’t get frustrated if I miss a day. Or take a whole week off from everything. It’s important to let yourself take a break. Also, I keep my goals where I can see them – right in front of my desk, that way I don’t forget what I want to do. Finally, realize that you should WANT to do the things on your lists, that you should HAVE FUN and do what you love and what fulfills you.

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