How to Keep The Momentum Going

Hey everyone, summer is almost over! Our son is going back to school full-time next week. I can’t wait. Finally, I can get back to blogging and doing my errands in peace. Don’t get me wrong. My son and I had a really great summer. We went camping, play sports, hike, kayak, and did all kinds of fun activities. However, I am ready for some personal time. In particular, I need to get back to blogging more consistently.

Less often is more difficult

This summer, I only published a new post once per week. That’s a good pace when RB40Jr is at home. It’s hard to focus when he’s around. (He is a very noisy kid.) I also enjoyed a little time away from personal finance. However, there is a downside too. It was much more difficult to write a blog post than usual!

Publishing a new post once per week meant I only think about personal finance one or two days/week. That is not quite enough to get the creative juice flowing. It was way easier to write when I spend 3-5 days per week on personal finance. Reducing the frequency of blogging made it much more difficult to write. I couldn’t get into the flow.

New blogger

I started blogging in 2010. Wow, it’s been 11 years! I published a new post 3 times per week in the beginning. Blogging was very different back then. You can publish a short post and it’d still show up on various search engines. Now, SEO (search engine optimization) demands longer blog posts with keywords and best practices. Google thinks readers only like long articles with comprehensive information, deep dives. In short, it was way easier to be a blogger in 2010.

Blogging 3 times per week was good when I started. I thought about personal finance every day and it was relatively easy to write. That was a good pace for a beginner who didn’t know how to write. I learned a lot from blogging over and over again.  

Momentum

These days, there is no way I can write a new blog post 3 times per week. That’s way too much work. I already retired from my engineering career and there are fewer things to blog about. It was easier to write when I was on the journey to FIRE. Now that I’m living the easy life, I don’t have as much to write about.

Unfortunately, blogging once per week doesn’t work well for me either. It’s hard to gain any momentum when I blog that infrequently. The writing just didn’t flow.

Once school starts, I’ll go back to publishing two posts per week. I think that’s a good cadence for me. I’d be able to keep the momentum going and write better.

Momentum is very important. Once you lose momentum, it’s a matter of time before you stop completely. That is what happens to most bloggers, IMO. They lose momentum and they stop blogging. I don’t want to stop blogging yet so I need to keep the momentum going.

Momentum applies to many activities

This momentum concept applies to many activities in life. For example, you need to exercise at least 3 times per week. Less often than that and you won’t be able to keep at it. When I was working full time, I exercised every weekday during lunch. It became a routine and I rarely missed a workout. After I stop working full time, I exercise less frequently due to having a baby around. Eventually, I stopped working out completely. These days, I get my exercise by playing sports with my son and charging scooters. Anyway, the point is you need to exercise at least 3 times per week or else you’ll stop.

Momentum theory

So this is my momentum theory. To keep momentum, you need to spend at least half the week on the activity. This applies to anything that takes effort.

  • Exercise
  • Eat healthy
  • Write
  • Work
  • Learn a new language
  • play an instrument
  • Invest

These activities need constant effort to keep going. If you slack off, you’ll lose momentum and stop completely. Once or twice per week just isn’t enough to keep the momentum. Whenever I reduce the time I spend on any activity to less than half the week, I quit completely soon after.

What do you think? Is it possible to keep going if you only work on something once or twice per week?

Blogging is a great way to build your brand and establish a presence on the internet. Here is my guide – How to start a blog and why you should. Check it out!

Image credit: Nadir sYzYgY

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

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23 thoughts on “How to Keep The Momentum Going”

  1. I’ve definitely lost momentum writing during the pandemic, Joe. And once we added Baby JC into the mix, hoo boy. But thankfully I’ve never stopped entirely. I’m aiming to hit once a week as my goal for publishing, but I will borrow your idea of working on it at least half the week to keep my mind on it. Ideally I’d write a bit each day just to stay in the groove.

    And yeah, I’ve taken about a week off from exercise and am already seeing how hard it is to get going again. Still, can always start new today.

    Reply
  2. I guess speaking from someone who is still early on the journey to FIRE and just started a blog a couple month ago, I’m still at the pace of roughly a post a day as there’s so many ideas and struggles constantly to get to the FIRE stage.

    For me, at this moment in time, it seems a breakneck pace is sustainable.

    Later on, this might not be true.

    That said though, if I ever slow down any habit to only once or twice a week, I’d have an extremely hard time keeping up the habit because it won’t be automatic anymore and would require too much willpower. Conversely, if I was in the groove of doing something everyday, it becomes part of my schedule and I just sort of do it as time is blocked out for it.

    Reply
  3. i really relate to the blogging and exercise momentum statement, joe. i do much better when i am busy but when life slows down and i have all the time in the world i find it harder. i’ll give up most of the blog one of these days but want to keep trouncing the indexes with the malevolent missy series. that’s only to show that it isn’t that hard.

    Reply
  4. Very similar to you on certain things, Joe. I need to do some things regularly or I know that they’ll fall by the wayside. Working out is the big one – I try to make that happen 5 days a week now. Otherwise, I know me and the routine will just subside until I don’t do it at all.

    Blogging is a different ballgame for me though. I’ve been writing one post a week since I started in 2015 and the momentum or drive has never failed me. I skipped a couple of weeks on purpose this summer to try to ease back just a little, but the creative juices seem to flow fine for me with that amount.

    I have a ton of topics that I’d love to write more often about, but I try to throw some balance into life. Maybe with Faith started homeschooling again tomorrow I might be able to put on an extra post here and there during a week.

    Reply
    • Working out is much more difficult if you don’t have a schedule. I know from experience too.
      As for blogging, I guess everyone has to find their own ideal schedule. Once per week is too infrequent for me.
      I tend to avoid personal finance if I’m not actively working on a post.

      Reply
  5. I agree. I took a sabbatical from July 1 – August 25, 2021 and found myself EASILY slipping in motivation once I started taking it easier. It’s kind of dangerous how quickly it is to lose motivation and momentum in anything good.

    I’m looking for perspective from bloggers who were able to completely let go, or folks who stopped exercising, etc. I actually think these people are the real superheroes who’ve conquered the ability not to give a damn.

    Sam

    Reply
  6. I feel you on the momentum issue. Momentum can be both positive or negative. Once you stop exercising I find there is negative momentum to continue to not exercise.

    Blogging is tough for sure. I still work full time so it is tough to squeeze in time to write about a topic. Plus, as you said, eventually the amount of topics to write about start to dwindle

    Reply
  7. Doing an activity once per week can work if it’s scheduled such as a weekly bowling league. I loved bowling leagues and tournaments as a teenager and kept at it for years as an adult, many years just once per week on Mondays which made Mondays fun!

    Reply
  8. I have difficulty scheduling creativity. There are times when I can put together ideas for four of five posts and then days when I have nothing. I try to maximize those bursts and write outlines so I can come back to them later when the creative juices aren’t flowing. One problem I have is that the creativity burst can come when I don’t have time to execute.

    I don’t mind mixing in smaller articles (such as those that were popular around 2011) that I know that Google doesn’t like. I can always revisit it at a later time to make it more Google-friendly. It’s also fine to just let it be just for your regular readers.

    Reply
    • I usually write down ideas and think about them over the week. However, these creativity bursts have been tough to come by lately. I’m sure it’ll be better when I write two posts per week. It’ll be more immersive.

      I don’t mind mixing in smaller posts either. Most of the posts were pretty short this past summer. 🙂

      Reply
  9. I’ve really slacked off on the blogging this summer too. We just had too much going on for me to crank out the posts like usual.

    That, and I don’t make money at it like you do, so it’s a lot easier to justify skipping a post when there’s nothing at stake.

    Maybe I’ll get back to it this fall, if the kids manage to stay in school. Personally I think COVID may shutdown the schools in short order, but we’ll see how it goes.

    Best of luck Joe!

    Reply
    • You make a great point about slacking off when very little is at stake. Easy to justify not writing for sure.

      I do love to write and there are always so many interesting things to discuss. I can’t keep up. However, because my wife doesn’t work, I feel like I should.

      I’m going to bet that if Joe’s wife finally retires, his motivation to write will go way up. It’s just a natural situation. An evolution of man to always be providing.

      Sam

      Reply
    • If I skip posting too many times, I know I’d quit. That’s why I need to write at least once per week.
      I’m afraid COVID will cause a lot of problems this school year as well. Hopefully, the vaccine will be approved for younger kids soon. That will make life much easier.

      Reply

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