Summer Snowballs

This week I’m starting a four-week, end-of-summer series about a powerful but mysteriously hard to quantify force: Momentum.

The simple science definition of momentum is force gained by motion.

Momentum is a series of successful endings not beginnings. Excitement happens at the beginning. Momentum builds at the end.

– Dan Rockwell

So the first step to building momentum is to accomplish something small. A tangible first step in the direction you want to go.

So how do you generate momentum? You start by rolling the snowball…

You probably learned that the fastest way to build a snowball was to pack some snow into a tight ball and then start rolling it through the yard. As it gained momentum, the snowball grew into something more like a snow boulder.


There’s no better way to illustrate this than Dave Ramsey’s famous “Debt Snowball” approach. Ramsey has helped millions get out of debt with a simple strategy: Pay off your smallest debt first, regardless of interest rate.

Though many “experts” argue with him about the math of interest rates, the results are clear. The debt snowball works. Why? As Ramsey says, “Personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior.” You’re more likely to achieve your big goal if you accomplish small ones early on the journey.

Like much of life, it’s about motivation.

Motivation and momentum work together in a virtuous cycle. Initial motivation, applied to a task that produces quick, visible results, creates momentum. That momentum, in turn, provides motivation for the next, slightly harder task.

And as momentum builds, so does the mass of the object you can move. The smaller tasks behind you build toward the bigger ones ahead. How do we accomplish the biggest goals in our lives?

Get those summer snowballs rolling…

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.