In 2019 my 16 year old daughter was on a 6 month student exchange from Australia to France. I planned to fly to France to spend the last 2 weeks of her stay with her – and with visions of myself as Audrey Hepburn shopping and sightseeing in Paris, I booked my plane ticket. But my daughter had other ideas. She wanted to go skiing.
Skiing? Really? What about Paris… honey?
Every fibre of my body was opposed to the thought of skiing. I was about to turn 50, had never skied in my life, and, having spent the best part of 49 years living in Australia, shuddered at the thought of being cold and wet. I mean, come on – I am a beach baby, not a ski bunny!
But then I paused and I challenged my thinking. I took a ‘moment’ and that moment changed my life.
So, what exactly is a MOMENT?
When I first googled the word ‘moment’, I discovered something amazing – it is a homonym – that is, a word which sounds and is spelt the same as another word, but which has multiple definitions (for example: ‘for’ and ‘four’).
First, a ‘moment’ is a unit of time. I had always used the word ‘moment’ as a figure of speech and a way of buying a little time when someone interrupted me: ‘Just give me a moment…’. But no, the word ‘moment’ first appeared in the 8th century when St. Bede the Venerable recorded that each hour is divided into 4 quarter hours; 10 minutia; and 40 momenta – the latter representing 90 seconds of time.
Being a time management expert, this discovery tickled me pink.
Second, a ‘moment’ is a measure of power: the ‘Moment Magnitude Scale’ measures the power and amount of energy released by an earthquake at the exact ‘moment’ of the earthquake.
And finally, a ‘moment’ is a unit of force: it is the name given to the turning or pivoting effect a force exerts on an object. For example: when you push open a door, it rotates around its hinges. This rotation is called a ‘moment’ of force.
I was suddenly loving the word ‘moment’ and the momentous (ha!) opportunity this word presented. Imagine, I thought, the monumental level of change I could exert on my life by adding these individual ‘moments’ together. Could I take 90 seconds of time to open a new door to generate earth quaking energy?
TIME + FORCE = MASSIVE MOMENTum
Often the incredible, audacious goals we set for ourselves, those amazing opportunities we flirt with, the big dreams we dream, begin as an exciting spark of inspiration that provides an immediate rush of adrenalin. But then real life snaps us back to reality and we put that big idea, dream, or goal on permanent hold because…well, because it is just too big, too hard, and too massive to possibly execute.
But maybe we have been doing it all wrong? Maybe we are biting off way too much and then disappointing ourselves when we don’t meet our big hairy audacious goal within 3 weeks? Maybe, instead of going all audacious, we need to start with one small step and then add another small step and then another and another until all of a sudden we realise that we have actually climbed that mountain we thought was impossible to climb. Maybe, instead of focussing on the big picture, we should be focussing on the 90 second ‘moments’ of time that simply require us to exert enough power to open a new door?
Because maybe, when we add all of those small ‘moments’ together, what we actually create is the MOMENTum we need to achieve the audacious?
Back to skiing
Armed with this exciting prospect I decided to embrace the potential of ‘moments’ and I created a 5 step framework – the MOMENtum Magnitude Framework – to see if I could actually create enough momentum to go skiing.
The MOMENTum Magnitude Framework
STEP 1: Decide to be Audacious
It can be hard to find the time and energy to ‘be motivated’. Trust me, I get it – I live in Melbourne, Australia and we have experienced one of the most prolonged periods of covid lockdown in the world with close to 200 days of total lockdown (to date) where we are only allowed to leave our homes and travel in a 5km radius for 5 reasons.
But to truly understand why it is so hard to find ‘motivation’, we need to look to physics.
In 1687 Isaac Newton published his 3 Laws of Motion. Newton’s first law of motion, otherwise known as the law of inertia, states that an object at rest stays at rest. If you are not moving, you are not moving. Simple. I call this the law of ‘what’s on Netflix?’ Happily, however, the reverse is also true – while an object at rest stays at rest, an object in motion stays in motion. I call this the law of ‘productivity’.
It’s time to shake off your inertia and get productive.
In Step 1 I want you to take 10 seconds to decide to exert a ‘moment of force’ to open a new door – because that is where the magic happens.
Be outrageous, be audacious! Choose something you have never ever done before – that thing on your bucket list that you know you will one day regret not doing when you has the chance.
For mine, I had never been skiing before. I gave myself 10 seconds to decide to be audacious – 10 seconds to say YES – I’m going to go skiing in France with my daughter.
You are 10 seconds into your first MOMENT. This is all about creating MOMENTum.
Step 2: Identify The Resisting Force
Now that you have made the decision to be audacious and to exert a moment of force to open a new door, there is ONLY one thing on earth that can stop you gaining momentum – an opposite force.
Newton’s Second Law of Motion states that the rate of change of momentum in an object is directly proportional to the force applied to it. This second law explains exactly why it is so difficult to maintain a new habit – because your brain is fighting against all of your pre-conditioned behaviours and habits (or forces) that may be greater than the force you are trying to generate to move forward.
In Step 2, I want you to take 20 seconds to identify your personal resisting forces. Write down 3 things right now that might get in the way of you moving forward with audaciousness and creating momentum. What could get in the way of your commitment in Step 1 to open that new door? It might be self doubt or a lack of confidence. It might be lack of energy, business competition or challenging customers. It might be a lack of money or time.
If you allow it, the combined force of all of these resisting forces will absolutely slow down your momentum to the point where you make NO progress at all. You will be left standing still. Game over. What’s on Netflix?
This was certainly true of skiing – that’s for sure. There were plenty of resisting forces – I gave myself 20 seconds to think the worst and trust me, it wasn’t hard:
- I’m not going to lie, I don’t like being cold and I don’t like being wet. The concept of being cold and wet as a treat on a holiday was an absolute anathema for me.
- I had never skied before. What if I hurt myself? What if I was laid up in a French hospital for 100 days in full body plaster?
- I had no ski gear and no ski clothes. What on earth was I going to wear? And just how much was this going to cost me?
You are now 30 seconds into your first MOMENT. This is all about creating MOMENTum.
Step 3: Identify your Core Values
All things being equal, you can stop right now. You had a 10 second thought of something really cool to do, but the voice of reason snapped you back with a slap across the face and with a long list of reasons why you are never, ever going to open that door.
Thank god Sir Isaac had a Third Law of Motion. This third law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So, now that you know what’s likely to get in your way – the resisting forces – you need to counter these forces with an equal or a more powerful opposite force.
In Step 3, I want you to take 20 seconds to identify your core values – those powerful, motivational forces of action that drive you forward. I’m not talking the ‘vanilla values’ everyone has like honesty and integrity. I’m talking about your true, underlying behaviours that dictate how you make decisions about where you really want to invest your time.
Let’s talk skiing. Step 3 of my framework meant that it was time to eliminate the forces of resistance by identifying my key values and what was most important to me. This was easy. I have 3 core, fundamental Values :
- My kids: I had not seen my daughter for 5 months. I had spent many, many hours at 2am (AEST) receiving homesick crying phone calls from France. And here was my daughter who had missed me terribly and who I had missed desperately wanting to go skiing with me. This was an amazing opportunity to experience something completely new together. No brainer.
- My business: I had just launched my 4th book: ‘Me First: The Guilt-Free Guide to Prioritising You’ which is all about finding time to focus on yourself. It actually includes a whole section on setting and smashing audacious goals. Going to France and skiing for the first time in my life provided huge fodder for my business articles, posts and keynotes. It also meant that if I did not act I was an absolute hypocrite! No brainer.
- My health: fresh air, exercise, awe, inspiration, French Alps. Another no brainer.
You are 50 seconds into your first MOMENT. This is all about creating MOMENTum.
Step 4: One Audacious Goal
It’s time to articulate one massive, audacious goal which is aligned both to the door you decided to open in Step 1 and to the values you identified in Step 3.
Like all good goals, your goal must have 3 elements:
- It must be written in the present tense, like it has just happened today;
- It must be written in the positive tense; and
- It must be measurable, so you know when you have achieved it.
Here is the Big Ski Goal I wrote in December 2019:
It’s April 2020 and I just turned 50. From now on, every single year I am going to open a brand new door and do something that massively stretches the limits of my comfort zone. So, here goes – it’s January 25, 2020 and Peggy and I have spent 3 glorious sunny days skiing in France. I found a holiday package that provided accommodation, ski passes, and all of our gear. We skied from 10 ’til 4 every day. I was a bloody superstar and I didn’t get snow in my undies once. Peggy and I laughed until we cried. I have volumes of content to write and talk about and my first blog post is up on the website.
In Step 4 take 30 seconds right now to write your big goal.
You are now 80 seconds into your first MOMENT. This is all about creating MOMENTum.
Step 5: Take Action
We already know from Sir Isaac that an object that is moving has momentum. In other words – YOU have to be moving to create momentum.
The final step of my Momentum Magnitude Framework is to turn the work you have done in the first 80 seconds of your MOMENT, into a physical step. Just ONE physical step forward to help generate massive momentum.
For example, if your audacious goal is to run a marathon, then your very first step might be to walk 5,000 steps today. If your audacious goal is to jump out of a plane, your very first step might be to google Life Insurance. If your audacious goals is a family road trip around Australia, your very first step might be to sit down with your partner and compare diaries.
So, let’s get moving. For Step 5 take 10 seconds right now to write down the very first physical action you are going to take towards achieving your audacious goal.
For mine and my Skiing MOMENT, my very first step was a very small and simple one: I googled medical travel insurance. That was it. Simple. Small. Doable. Forward Movement.
In just 90 seconds you have used the power of MOMENTs to create MOMENTum.
You have now worked through the 90 second 5 step MOMENTum Magnitude Framework:
- You made the decision to open a new door.
- You identified exactly what could get in your way.
- You identified your core values as the force to knock any resistance out of the way.
- You wrote one truly audacious goal.
- You decided the very first, small action you will take to ensure you generate momentum. And now you have taken that first step – you can sit down and decide the next step and the next and the next after that.
Never forget that every single monumental change in your life starts with one small step – from now on, I want you to call this step a ‘MOMENT’. When you focus on and embrace each separate MOMENT and add a new step and then another and then another, you create MOMENTum. And once you have MOMENTum, you are literally unstoppable.
For mine, it took but a Moment to decide to embrace life and go skiing for the first time in my life.
Was it exactly as I envisaged? Well, mostly …I did fall 1000 times, I did face plant and end up with a fat lip, I did fail to execute a flawless dismount from the ski lift and ended up arse over tit and tore my shoulder, I did lose my pole from the highest point of the ski lift, I did get wiped out by a kamikaze 8 year old and break my thumb, and I did slide down a 6 km RED run entirely on my bum rather than my skis…BUT I also had the most amazing time with my daughter – we laughed until we literally wet ourselves, and I got to experience the pure joy of my daughter realising she was 1000 times better at something than me.
It was just a Moment in time, but it was life changing. And so, my challenge to you is this: seize the Moments and live your best life.
Written by Kate Christie.