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Lost Momentum? How Do We Get Back on Track?

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5 Ideas for Getting the Momentum Back After a Break

By: Shane Bender

I took my family on a 2,000-mile road trip from Texas to Illinois. Now, before images of the movie National Lampoons Vacation pop in your head, it all went well. Yes, some moments tested our patience with four kids, but it was good to get away and out of the regular routine. The challenge was that when I got back home, I had a hard time getting the momentum back.

Have you ever taken a vacation or just lost momentum and had trouble getting it back?  We do lose energy when we take a break, but we need to rejuvenate, right? Sometimes we lose momentum because we have been working so hard, and we start to burn out. Therefore, momentum can get lost if we take a much-needed break or if we burn out. I heard once that we could idle out or burn out, but either way, we are out. We have lost momentum, and we are not moving toward our goals for our business and life.

What do we do to get our momentum back after taking a break? Here are five ideas that can help.

  1. Set Reasonable Expectations and Avoid Discouragement

We need to think of ourselves as a vehicle. We have to stop for gas and refuel so we can continue on our journey. When we stop to get gas in a car, we have to slow down and come to a stop to refuel. Then, when we get going, we don’t immediately get on the highway to drive at the speed limit. We first have to pull out of the gas station, onto the access road, and then onto the onramp to the highway. Eventually, we are back at the speed we want, but now we can go farther. We just needed some time.

We operate similarly in that if we don’t take a break and rejuvenate, we will be stranded, and we can burn out. It will take longer to get up and running again. Therefore, we should not get discouraged when it takes time after a break or vacation to get back the momentum we had before.

  1. Remember Why Rejuvenation Helps

When traveling near Tulsa, Oklahoma, we had been driving for 10 hours and were planning to stay there for the night.  My wife said that maybe we should keep going. There was much incentive to do this, but I knew we would get tired and need a break. Yes, it would slow us down, and we would get home later, but it was the right decision. We have to take breaks to rejuvenate, but then it does slow us down.

In the book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, the author makes a very persuasive point that active and intentional rest increases productivity, creativity, and peace. Now rest comes in many forms and can include sleep, naps, play, and sabbaticals or vacations. I am speaking mainly about taking a vacation to get away and separate yourself from work. When we step away from our routine, we come back and see things differently and many times come up with new ideas to improve our life and work. Who doesn’t want more productivity, creativity, and peace?

  1. Revisit Your Goals and Why

It is essential to review your goals for the year and quarter regularly. I use the Full Focus Planner to help me with this. This planner not only reminds you to review your goals weekly but also gives you a place to write down key motivations and next steps. Remember why you set the goal in the first place. It is also possible the goal needs to be adjusted to keep it relevant and exciting. A time of rejuvenation can help you put this in better perspective. I think it is important when you do get away for a while that you set aside some time for reflection before hopping back into the chaos of emails and meetings.

  1. Don’t Dwell and Keep Moving

If we have a nice relaxing break, it can be easy to dwell on how nice that was or wish it was longer. You might struggle to get back to work because it was so nice sleeping later with no agenda. I think we can cure this with action. When we get back to work, we should first spend time planning our week, so we are productive. Get back to doing the routines that make you the most successful. I provide more about getting back from vacation in my article “5 Ways to Productively Return from Vacation“.

  1. Plan Your Next Break

If taking a break and rejuvenation are so important, we should prioritize this in our life. When we are just getting back into the groove, it is an excellent time to think about your next break. Get it on the calendar, so you have the excitement of this next break. It will be easier to no longer dwell in the past when we have this next time planned. Now I am not saying we should live in the future either. I am a fan of living today to the fullest. But we are busy people, and if we don’t schedule something, time will pass, and it will not get done. Don’t lose out on the time to rejuvenate, spend time with family, and see new things.

We know that rest and rejuvenation are essential, so don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to get back the momentum you had before the break. You will eventually be back and probably more productive and creative than ever if you do it right. Revisit why you have your goals and make adjustments if necessary. Keep moving and don’t spend time dwelling and ruminating about your time off. This is counterproductive. Finally, it helps to move forward and plan your next break before time gets away from you.

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