Building Momentum with Tiny Wins

Setting good habits sets you up for success. The more that you practice those habits the more momentum you start to build.

I absolutely love how Darren Hardy refers to momentum in The Compound Effect,

I’d like to introduce you to Mo, or Big Mo,” as I like to call it. Big Mo is, without doubt, one of the most powerful and enigmatic forces of success. You can’t see or feel Mo, but you know when you’ve got it. You can’t count on Mo showing up to every occasion, but when it does—WOW! Big Mo can catapult you into the stratosphere of success. And once you’ve got Mo on your side, there’s almost no way anyone can catch you.


It takes time and energy to get Big Mo, but with it, success and results compound rapidly.

There are times though, that it feels that no matter what you do, it’s not enough. All that time and energy but where are the results? Why hasn’t Big Mo shown up yet?

That means it is time to adjust your focus and your mindset. Step back, breathe, relax, and look at what is possible.

Motivation When You’re Stuck

It may be tempting once you’ve stepped back and are assessing the situation, being mindful, to just stand still. You may not even realize that is what is happening, however, when you’re stuck, the only thing that will get you unstuck is movement.

Author Shane Snow in the book Smartcuts offers a glimpse into research that has been done supporting this,

Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile took on the question in the mid-2000s in a research study of white-collar employees. She tasked 238 pencil pushers in various industries to keep daily work diaries. The workers answered open-ended questions about how they felt, what events in their days stood out.

The answer, it turned out, is simply progress. A sense of forward motion. Regardless how small.

To motivate stuck employees, as Amabile and her colleague Steven J. Kramer suggest in their book, The Progress Principle, businesses need to help their workers experience lots of tiny wins.

Tiny Wins for Development

In this great piece called Tiny Wins by Joel Califa, he writes:

But large-scale projects demand coordination, diligence, and — most of all — time. These things don’t happen overnight. In the time it takes to ship something of substance, a product can begin to feel stagnant. For a startup (especially one with viable competition) that stagnation can spell death.

To combat this, companies have to create an atmosphere of momentum and prove to their users that they’re both listening and improving. They need to fill the long gaps between ambitious launches with smaller ships.

Not only is this great for the user, they see forward progress, but this provides developers with a series of tiny wins to keep the momentum going.

Schedule It

Whether it be that you want to improve your product, lose weight, squash more bugs in the code, create illustrations, or just catch up on reading, it’s beneficial to schedule those items; make time for them.

Back to The Compound Effect, Hardy writes about creating rhythms around your habits:

When your disciplines and actions develop a rhythm, you welcome Big Mo.

Along with my daily rhythms, I also plan ahead. For instance, in looking again at my goal of deepening the love and intimacy of my marriage, I designed a weekly, monthly, and quarterly rhythm schedule.

Doesn’t sound too romantic, I know. But maybe you’ve noticed that, even when something’s a high priority for you, if it isn’t scheduled on your calendar, it often doesn’t happen, right?

I’ve created a framework in my calendar so that at a glance I can see color-coded areas of my life that I’m trying to improve.

Screenshot of CalendarScreenshot of Calendar

Establishing the framework, ignoring perfection, and creating routines will give the consistency needed for Big Mo to show up.

Let’s build momentum and experience tiny wins in every area of life that we want to excel in!


March 20, 2018

© 2010-2023 Gary Bacon. All rights reserved. - Mastodon