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Last Updated on April 22, 2020

Giving up Is Not an Option! How to Not Give up and Stay Motivated

Giving up Is Not an Option! How to Not Give up and Stay Motivated

We all get them – those feelings of doubt, fear, lack of self-confidence and lack of self-belief. Whatever it is we want to achieve in life, no matter how much we want it, there will always be times when you hit a challenging period, your motivation hits a wall and you feel like giving up.

You’ve heard it, “giving up is not an option”, but when it comes to how not to give up, it could be difficult sometimes.

In this article, you’ll learn that tough times make even the most motivated person consider giving up and this is completely normal.

Despite the overwhelming feeling of wanting to just give up, it’s actually the most important time not to.

Video Summary

What makes you want to give up easily

Identifying the reasons why giving up seems like the best option is so important. There are many reasons why people want to give up and each is driven by different motivations. However, there are a few human instincts that come into play here.

  • Mistaking lessons for failure: Not being able to see the roadblock for the lesson it is and keep going anyway.
  • The outcome is more important than the journey: Putting more emphasis on the end result and dismissing the importance of how you’re getting to the end goal and growing along the way.
  • Seeing the failure before it’s even happened: Self-sabotaging yourself by creating the thought that it just won’t happen. This is usually down to limiting beliefs and lack of self-belief.
  • Lack of discipline: Realizing that achieving your dream won’t just fall into your lap within a few weeks but will actually take hard work and determination.
  • Not adjusting to changes: Not embracing changes in direction, the need to tweak ideas or finding things evolve differently to how you originally imagined it and taking it as a sign it’s not meant to work out, are showing you that you’re not open to changes and the natural evolution to something even more amazing.

People often say, the moment they almost decided to give up was the moment just before they had a breakthrough. While demotivation, failure and giving up feels horrible, there’s a reason for this: it’s because you’re giving up on something that deep down you know is possible.

Why you should think twice about giving up

The power lies with your mindset and shifting this is key to keeping up the motivation you need when the going gets tough. This is why it’s important to realize why you shouldn’t give in and give up.

Instant success is a myth.

It is a generation of instant gratification which creates the illusion that everyone needs what they want. People look at other successful people and assume they got overnight success but in reality it took hard work and a lot of failing to get where they did. Most never see the journey but only the destination, and they fall in love with this idea that they don’t need to work hard to get it.

Understand this is a myth. Don’t be deterred by this because actually the journey is where the magic happens and makes your end goal ever more sweet.

A different approach maybe needed.

People judge themselves so harshly and assume that they are just not capable if they seem to be failing at something they want. It could simply be resolved by trying a different approach.

People are often so focused on the end goal and believe there’s just one or two ways to get there. In fact there may be a hundred more avenues that their mind isn’t opening up to.

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Open up and change your perspective. Are there other ways you can do it that feels better to you?

You’ll always wonder ‘what if’.

That feeling of regret can hit you hard. What if I’d just stuck with it? I could have achieved it by now. What if I hadn’t given up, how different my life would be?

While regret is the number one thing you shouldn’t waste your time doing, before you quit your dream just imagine how your life could transform and where you could be in a year, two years or five years.

Don’t give your future self the chance to become regretful because of the one decision you make in the present moment.

You could be quitting right before your success.

Many times, when people give up, they’re actually just a step away from success like this:

    The toughest times are a precursor to a major breakthrough to success. Think of it as being tested just to make sure this is exactly what you want.

    Decide yes, I still want this more than ever! You’re pretty much saying yep, give it to me now I deserve this after all I’ve done and this is usually the time it happens. Keep going! It’s all about trust that it’s going to work out.

    It’ll happen again and again.

    Do you find yourself quitting things a lot?  By default, your habitual mindsets and thought patterns play out over and over again throughout your life if you don’t identify and change them. Don’t think, ‘I’ll have another go in a year’s time’ because you are really likely to repeat exactly the same pattern again.

    It’s important to sit down with yourself and identify why you have a tendency to give up. This may feel uncomfortable and you may feel resistance to doing the process. But once you actually work through your limiting beliefs, they can be released really quickly and help you to remove mental obstacles you didn’t know were stopping you.

    Struggle does not equate to failure.

    We’ve been led to believe en mass that struggle is something to be ashamed of. It’s somehow a negative representation of our core character and ability to move through the world. I’m here to tell you it’s not. Never think of hard times as failure. In fact, just take failure out of your vocabulary. Stop caring about what others think and just know and believe you are capable of getting through it and coming out the other end.

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    Struggle actually builds character. It’s there to serve you – to help you learn something you’ll need to use later on. Stop assuming struggle is negative but see it as a blessing on your road to great success.

    How to not give up and stay motivated

    The thing people tend to forget when all they want to do is give up is that failure doesn’t fix anything. Maybe for a moment you’ll feel relief because you no longer have to face that challenge, but the satisfaction will be fleeting.

    Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, drinking, or any kind of bad habits; or whether you’re trying to achieve a goal; the misery you were experiencing will be back, one way or another if you choose to give up at the most difficult time.

    The real challenge you’re experiencing in that moment is your own weakness manifesting in a physical form. When you accept that you aren’t worthy or good enough, that’s the mind set you will keep.

    No matter what challenge you are facing (be it work or play) you will struggle with maintaining your optimism, dedication and will power because you haven’t addressed the real issue: yourself.

    Imagine the Great Challenge as a big rock in front of you.

      If you choose to give up, you work around the stone just to go around it.

        Yet the fastest way to get over it is to break this big rock and go right through it.

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          It’s the same with your weaknesses. You could continue to adjust your life to fit your fears (i.e. no longer job-hunting because you’ve accepted you will always fail), or you could keep sending out applications and calling to follow up and schedule interviews.

          No matter how great the challenge is, breaking it down is a must.

          In order to truly stay motivated, no matter how great the challenge is, you’ve got to learn to break the Great Challenge down.

            To truly overcome your weakness, you need break down the big rock into smaller pieces and deal with the small stones piece by piece.

              Right now it may seem impossible. It may seem like this is the hardest thing you will ever go through. But remember how often your threshold changes.

              Below are some tips that can help you take those first steps in keeping your chin up and truly facing the difficult choices in your life:

              1. Figure out what you lack

              No matter what the challenge you’re facing may be, there’s a reason it’s challenging to you. If it’s a job, why is it you aren’t getting hired? Go back through the job listings and skills required and find the common thread your resume doesn’t have. Is it not listed because you don’t have it? If so, work on doing something to give you that skill. Be it an online course or a volunteer project, do something to help push you closer to the “perfect candidate.”

              2. Be patient with yourself

              No one becomes a CEO overnight. If you have big dreams, you’re going to have to do big work to accomplish them. It’s okay to take time figuring out the best way to proceed, but it’s not okay to walk away because it’s challenging.

              3. Be proud of yourself for every small win

              Have you ever noticed how a small mistake can weigh on you for days? Whether or not you categorize yourself as a dramatic person doesn’t matter when it comes to the guilt we so often put upon ourselves. But when we make small strides in achieving our goal(s), we never seem to give ourselves much respect.

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              When we fail to pat ourselves on the back for little victories, it decreases our motivation and makes it much harder to achieve big goals.[1]

              4. Remember that you aren’t the first to feel this way

              When we face difficult choices or events in our lives, we often forget that we are not the first/only/last to experience this. Everyone faces hard decisions – be it deciding to end a relationship, changing careers, moving to a different place and leaving friends behind. We all go through it.

              So don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends or family for a sounding board. In some cases, they may even be able to offer you advice you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

              5. Know that you will grow as a person just from going through it

              We build character through those hard times. The old cliche, “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” is true. When you go through something challenging, you learn from it, regardless of the outcome. Recognize the opportunities for learning and personal development.

              6. Remember that you have choices

              No matter how hard the challenge you’re facing may be, one of the best things you can focus on is that you have choices. Only you can decide how you handle something and the steps you take. More so, only you can decide how you take the next step.

              You have the power to stand in your own way and to get out of it. Allow yourself to stay motivated by choosing to be stay motivated.

              Choose to see obstacles as lessons. Ask yourself, what is this showing me? What is it bringing up for me? In most cases, they’re there to point you in a direction you’ve previously not considered. Trust in this and keep going.

              Final thoughts

              Great things never come easy. When difficult times do stop you in your tracks, you need a way to push through.

              Learn and understand what it is that’s truly demotivating you. Adjust your mindset, learn to deal with challenges and you’ll come out the other side a strong and successful person.

              Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

              Reference

              More by this author

              Leon Ho

              Founder & CEO of Lifehack

              Delegation of Authority: The Complete Guide for Effective Leaders How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Life-Changing Tips 12 Things High Self-Esteem People Don’t Do A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success 7 Simple but Sure Ways to Eliminate Bad Attitudes

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              Last Updated on October 15, 2020

              Take Back Control of your Life with Positive Emotions

              Take Back Control of your Life with Positive Emotions

              Let’s face it, 2020 has not been the year many of us expected or hoped for. For many, it’s been one of the most difficult years of their lives. With uncertainty, loneliness, fear, anger, and stress at an all-time high, you’ve likely experienced your fair share of bad days, tough times, and negative emotions.

              A survey done by the CDC showed the significant effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mental health: 40% of adults reported struggling with mental health including anxiety/depressive symptoms, trauma/stressor-related disorders, increased substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.[1]

              If you’re feeling scared, lonely, sad, or down, you are not the only one. There are many things out of your control – the pandemic, natural disasters, heated politics, and unemployment, to name a few. You are not alone, but you alone can control your emotions.

              With the right strategies and an understanding of why positivity is so critical, each day can be better. In the words of Viktor Frankl,

              “Everything can be taken from us but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”.

              If you have not read Man’s Search for Meaning, I highly recommend you read it now.

              You have the power to control what’s going on inside you. I’m not suggesting you ignore what’s going on in the world and look for only sunshine and rainbows. I’m also not suggesting ‘good vibes only’ and ignoring the current state of affairs. That is toxic positivity.

              I am suggesting that instead of holding tight and waiting for 2020 to end (will things really be different on January 1st anyway?), you choose to make the most of every day you are given.

              How? By actively and intentionally bringing positive emotions into each day.

              What Really Are Emotions?

              Emotions, both positive and negative, are a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

              While very complex in nature, they are usually feelings that happen within us as a result of something we experience internally or externally. You read something in the news and feel sad, angry, or fearful. You see someone you love and feel joy or happiness. You remember a time that someone showed you generosity or kindness and feel grateful.

              Emotions play a critical role in our lives. Even negative emotions have a role and benefit. However, too many negative emotions can have a dramatic impact on our life, health, and well-being so it is critical (especially now) to find ways to keep our emotions in balance.

              The Losada ratio, also known as the critical positivity ratio, is a 3:1 rate of positive to negative emotions. You may have heard of a similar 5:1 ratio for successful and happy relationships. The Gottman Institute states,[2]

              “for every one negative feeling or interaction between partners, there must be five positive feelings or interactions.”

              Regardless of 1:3 or 1:5, the sentiment is the same. In order for us to experience happy, positive lives and relationships and feel more in control, we must have a greater ratio of positive emotions to negative ones.

              The Benefits of Positive Emotions

              “Positivity transforms us for the better.” — Barbara Fredrickson.

              Positive emotions are associated with advantageous physical and psychological health outcomes.[3] These include enhancing our immune system, physical health, longevity, mental health, resilience, coping skills, and overall well-being.

              Think about a time you felt a positive emotion such as joy or love. What happened? Perhaps a smile came across your face. Maybe you felt a shift in your energy. Perhaps you felt a sense of peace or a rush of excitement. Regardless of the scenario, it likely felt good. And those feelings likely had positive effects on your productivity, energy, and momentum.

              There’s a good reason for these outcomes and their subsequent domino effects. It’s called the Broaden-and-Build Theory.[4]. The key premise is that:

              “The benefits of positive emotions don’t stop after a few minutes of good feelings subside. In fact, the biggest benefit that positive emotions provide is an enhanced ability to build skills and develop resources for use later in life.”

              YOU Can Flip the Switch

              Take a moment to consider this: If emotions happen as a reaction to something, then you can feel positive emotions any time you want by simply creating the right stimulus to generate the feeling you are looking for.

              In Jill Boyle’s book Stroke of Insight, she shares the 90-second rule:

              “When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.”

              You have the power to change the emotional loop that you are experiencing.

              Zach Bush, triple board-certified MD states,

              “Neurochemically, an emotion lasts seven seconds. If you are going to stay sad, rejected, or otherwise emotionally caught up, we have to keep manufacturing that emotion by telling ourselves the story over and over again. If we take two minutes to break that emotional storytelling we can be free.”

              Positive emotions aren’t just something you have to wait around for. They aren’t only created by positive events and moments in our lives. They’re something you can generate.

              You have the opportunity every single day to evoke these emotions. Here’s how.

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              How to Generate Positive Emotions

              Barbara Fredrickson, the creator of the Broaden-and-Build theory, is a leader in researching emotions and positive psychology. In her work, she identified the ‘big 10 positive emotions”. We can use these as a basis for how to evoke positive emotions for yourself on a daily basis.

                As you read these, challenge yourself to think about positive emotions in a different way. It’s not just about being ‘happy’. Take some time to consider these emotions on a deeper level.

                Love

                Maslow defines love as a basic human need. Close intimate bonds make us feel safer, happier, and more connected.

                Evoke Love: One of the simplest ways to conjure up feelings of love is to hug your kid, spouse or pet. Hugging boosts your oxytocin levels (the love hormone) and increases serotonin (elevates mood and creates happiness). Find someone – or something – to hug for at least 30 seconds – it’s quick and easy and will put you in a more positive mood.

                Joy

                Joy is defined as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Think about a time when you saw a wide-eyed child chasing bubbles or two puppies gleefully playing. You can experience joy at any moment by simply remembering a time when you felt a great sense of joy.

                Evoke Joy: Close your eyes and think of a time when you felt joy. Put yourself back in that moment. Take a breath, let it sink in, and feel the joy from deep within you. Notice what you see, hear, and feel. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is not, so if you picture something that brings you joy, your mind will feel that is real and you will experience all of the great benefits that come with those positive emotions.

                Gratitude.

                “As we invite the energy of gratitude into our daily lives we become alchemists…turning dark into light, scarcity into abundance, and fear into love.” – Deepak Chopra.

                Gratitude is alchemy. Being intentionally and overtly grateful is one of the simplest and most powerful things you can do to live a full and happy life. There’s a reason why people say ‘Count your blessings’.[5]

                Evoke Gratitude: You can always find something to be grateful for. Right now, identify 3 things you feel thankful for. Better yet, start a daily gratitude practice: 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude

                Serenity

                Serenity is the state or quality of being serene, calm or tranquil. Read those words again slowly and feel them; you may already feel more at ease.

                Evoke Serenity: You can create this feeling through meditation, a walk-in nature, music, grounding, breathwork, and mindfulness. Even looking at serene images, like a peaceful lake or snow falling can instantly take your mind to a place of calm.

                  Interest

                  We are here to grow, learn, and expand, so it’s no wonder that interest creates a feeling of positivity. It uses your cognitive capacity, creates a sense of expansion, and opens your mind. We spend so much time doing the things we have to do that we often don’t spend enough doing the thing we are interested in doing.

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                  Evoke Interest: Identify one thing today that makes you feel curious, something that intrigues you or creates a sense of wonder. Set aside time to explore this interest further. Enroll in an online course, watch a TED talk, or have a cup of coffee and learn from someone you admire.

                  Hope

                  Hope is believing that something is possible. It keep your mind open to opportunities or options instead of closing them off. I recently had a client diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. She felt defeated, stuck and hopeless. However, she heard a doctor speak about his methodologies for addressing autoimmune issues and felt hope immediately. That hope spurred her to join a health coaching program and gave rise to a new belief that healing was possible.

                  Evoke Hope: Hope is ultimately about having a sliver of belief that things can be different. Shane Lopez, author of Making Hope Happen, says that while some people are more wired for hope, it can be learned. Hopeful people share these four beliefs. [6] You can, too.

                  1. The future will be better than the present.
                  2. I have the power to make it so.
                  3. There are many paths to my goals.
                  4. None of them are free of obstacles.

                    Pride

                    Just today, I called a friend to ask for her advice. She has had a difficult few months with significant medical challenges. As we talked and she provided some amazing ideas, I commented how thankful I was for her insight and support. Her energy immediately shifted. Why? Because she felt proud. She had contributed to something meaningful to me and that felt good to her.

                    Think of something you feel proud of. What happens in your body? Maybe your head lifts, your chest rises, you feel stronger and more capable?

                    Evoke Pride: Harness the power of pride by acknowledging your wins and accomplishments. Every day for the next 30 days, list three things that you achieved that day or make you feel proud. This can be as simple as making your bed or as significant as a promotion at work.

                    Amusement

                    Amusement is when we find something entertaining or funny. We all know that laughing makes us feel good. In fact, it’s been proven that laughter has a multitude of significant health benefits, including soothing tension, relieving pain, and improving your mood.[7]

                    Evoke Amusement: Find things that make you laugh or smile. Read a funny book, play with your kids, watch a silly movie, or look up news bloopers or ‘try not to laugh’ videos on YouTube.

                    Inspiration

                    Someone once told me that the word inspired comes from the Latin word ‘in spirit’ which I’ve always really loved the notion of. Turns out that’s not entirely true. It comes from the Latin root inspirare which means ‘to breathe or blow into.’ [9] If you think of inspiration, it is literally breathing life into you.

                    Evoke Inspiration: Think of something or someone you feel motivated or uplifted by. Read a book or article by someone who has a knack for lighting your fire. Watch a TED talk on a topic you feel moved by.

                    Awe

                    When was the last time you felt awe? Awe is what you feel when you are deeply amazed by something. It’s a sense of wonder you can have anywhere if you are intentionally looking. I find awe in the magnitude and beauty of nature, the wisdom of a child, and the talents of human beings.

                    Evoke Awe: Nature is one of the greatest gifts of awe. Head out to your local forest, beach, park, mountain, or backyard and take in the beauty of nature – from little bugs to the grandest mountains, the enormity of the sea, to the wonder of the stars and universe.

                    The Pleasant Life, The Good Life, and the Meaningful Life

                    Life’s not just all about positive emotions. Positive psychology is the scientific study of the ‘good life’, or the positive aspects of the human experience that make life worth living.[8]

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                    In his TED talk, Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology talks about “three different happy lives”.

                    The pleasant life is about having as many pleasures and positive emotions as you can.

                    The good life is about being in flow – knowing what your highest strengths are and using those as much as you can.

                    The meaningful life is knowing your highest strengths and using them in the service of something larger than yourself.

                    If you want to learn more about this, find out in Martin’s TED Talk:

                    So if you want to truly flourish and feel long-lasting satisfaction and fulfillment, don’t focus solely on emotions and a more pleasurable life. Focus also on having a more engaged and meaningful life through fulfilling your purpose and your contribution to the world.

                    Final Thoughts

                    Now more than ever, we could all use a little more James Brown’s “I Feel Good” energy. Even when the world feels dark and heavy, it’s important to know that it’s okay to feel good. Many people feel bad or guilty for feeling upbeat when you or others are suffering; but what good does it do yourself and those around you if you stay stuck in this state of mind?

                    Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. – Haruki Murakami

                    You have permission, in fact, you have a responsibility, to feel good, do good and be the best version of yourself. Great changes in history never occurred through negativity and resignation, but through hope and optimism that things could be different. And it’s times like these it becomes even more critical that we find that positivity, tap into our collective strength, resilience, and optimism and power through.

                    Every day, you have the choice and the opportunity to identify which of these positive emotions you will embrace. Then, stand back and notice the ripple effect this has on you and those around you – it is truly a gift.

                    “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” — MLK Jr

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                    Featured photo credit: Antonino Visalli via unsplash.com

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