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Last Updated on April 9, 2021

How to Persevere (and Get Ahead) When the Going Gets Tough

How to Persevere (and Get Ahead) When the Going Gets Tough
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There are times in life when we feel discouraged or defeated, when life delivers blows that knock us to the ground. The feelings of hopelessness and despair may consume your life for many months as you wonder if you’ll ever get back to feeling happy and safe. This is when it’s important to learn how to persevere in life.

The good news is that, over time, life can get better, and you can get stronger when you persevere. You’ll likely look back at these “difficult life events” and realize they were the catalysts for you to change your life.

The only way for us to live our lives to the fullest is to learn how to have perseverance and deal with the challenges that life throws at us. Surviving these curveballs and pushing through adversity, pain, and feelings of hopelessness and despair are part of the journey for us to learn about who we are. There is no other way to learn how to be resilient, courageous, hopeful, and optimistic about life and our future.

Everyone feels discouraged and defeated at some point on his or her life journey. Some of us find ourselves at this place of despair, and we do not know what to do, so we stop growing and thriving in life. We end up living our lives through regret, fear, pain, disillusionment, and sadness. This is not how we are meant to live.

When you are feeling discouraged and life seems tough, don’t give up. Use these 7 strategies to help you grow your courage and learn how to persevere so that you can step up, face the curveballs, and embrace the joy of living a life you love.

1. Accept and Anticipate Change

In today’s world of constant change, it’s hard to manage the complexity and unpredictability of life. It’s even more difficult to find the motivation to persevere in the face of constant change. 

Instead of fighting the inevitability of change, learn to accept it. Embrace change and know that by doing this, your life can only get better. Resisting change will fuel the negative energy that keeps you feeling discouraged about life.

Learn how to be agile in your thinking and demonstrate perseverance, even when you’re feeling discouraged. Ask lots of questions and look for solutions. Don’t just focus on the problem that you are facing. It is a lot harder to solve a problem when you are immersed within the problem itself.

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Become a solution seeker because, as the Dalai Lama said:

“If a problem can be solved, it will be. If it cannot be solved, there is no use worrying about it.”

2. Use Your Power of Choice to Liberate You

One of the few things you have total control over is your power of choice. No one else can take that away from you, so use it when you want to learn how to persevere.

It is the choices that you make that determine how you react to the tough times you are facing. You can choose to do nothing and allow yourself to be distracted from the issue you need to face, or you can choose to take action and face your problem.

In my experience, the easiest option is to choose to do nothing, but it always comes back and bites you. In the words of psychologist Carl Jung, “What you resist will persist.”[1] Choose to make choices that will enable you to move forward, not backwards or around in circles.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. A person who chooses to be a solution seeker is a resilient person who is self-aware and will actively seek support, advice, and encouragement from others when times are tough[2].

Solution seekers value the input of others because they know others may have wisdom or positive energy to help them overcome adversity and learn how to persevere in the workplace and at home.

If you’re afraid to ask for help, you can learn how to begin with this article.

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4. Be Positive and Laugh When You Can

For me, this is my secret weapon that helps me to keep going when I’m not sure how to persevere. Having a positive attitude enables us to use our power of choice wisely.

A positive attitude opens up your mind to more possibilities, whereas a pessimistic attitude closes your mind down and encourages you to withdraw yourself from finding your way through the challenges you are facing. With a pessimistic attitude, there is no growth and no learning.

If you have a hard time cultivating a positive attitude, consider trying mindfulness meditation. This can help you create space in your mind to root our negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

Laughter is life’s best way to thrive. To get through the tough times, surround yourself with people who make you laugh and like laughing with you. Laughter is contagious, and you will soon find that when you are laughing, you are feeling more alive and hopeful about your future.

You can learn more about creating a positive environment in this video:

5. Embrace the Unpredictability of Life

Life is a strange and amazing journey, with many painful experiences and lots of beauty and joy. Running away from the challenges life presents is not the answer. If you run away, the pain, discomfort, and challenges of life will follow you.

It’s okay to fall apart, make mistakes, fail, and be disappointed, but you can only stay in this place for a short time. If you have a goal in mind, keep working to achieve your goal and demonstrate perseverance, despite the failures.

Resilient people expect to fail and be disappointed. They know that to be strong, one has to overcome the adversity and challenges they face in life. Courageous people choose to “bounce forward” in life and to keep moving toward living a happy fulfilled life.

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Commit to becoming that courageous, resilient person you were born to be.

6. Focus on Things That Bring You Joy

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” -Joseph Campbell

When you are feeling frustrated and hopeless, it’s easy to forget the good things in your life. If you allow yourself to be consumed by negativity, you will start to believe that there is nothing good in your life. Before you know it, that will become your reality.

If you really want to learn how to persevere, stop immediately and write a list of all the good things that you have experienced, and all the things that have brought you joy. The more you focus on the good in your life, the more hopeful you will become.

Showing appreciation to others and expressing gratitude are two actions that will bring joy back into your life.

One study found that gratitude was “demonstrated to be associated with increase in happiness, life satisfaction and social desirability”[3]. These all contribute to more resilience.

A great way to practice gratitude is by starting a gratitude journal. You can begin by writing three things each day that you’re grateful for. You can learn other ways to practice gratitude with this article.

7. Don’t Let the Past Rule Your Present

Your past presents an opportunity to learn the lessons you need to deal with in your present life. However, if you don’t let go of your regrets in life and make peace with your past, it is very hard to move forward in your life.

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Look for opportunities for self-discovery, and learn how to trust and believe in yourself. When you are facing tough times in your life, ask yourself this question:

“What is the one thing I can do right now to take me one step closer to moving forward?”

All you have to remember is to take one step forward and keep repeating that one step. You will soon discover that you are closer to finding a solution and achieving your long-term goals. Remember, you’ve done difficult things before and have come out on the other side, so enjoy the process.

Don’t let all your past mistakes and fears cloud your judgement and diminish your courage. You are not defined by what happened in your past. You are who you choose to be now and in the future. Become the courageous, empowered, resilient person you were born to be.

Final Thoughts

It is understandable that when you are facing tough times in life, you can become overwhelmed and lost. It is very hard to be hopeful and optimistic about your future when you are consumed by pain and frustration.

When you want to learn how to persevere and overcome the bad days, use the 7 strategies above to help you keep moving forward to get to your finish line.

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Featured photo credit: Guilherme Stecanella via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

How to Stop Being Sad and Start Feeling Happy How to Persevere (and Get Ahead) When the Going Gets Tough How To Be an Optimistic Person When the Odds Are Against You 7 Things To Remember When You Feel Broken Inside 10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021

How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up
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It’s Monday morning. The alarm goes off. Do you know how to get motivated at that moment? What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you open your eyes? 

Are you excited to get up and go to work, or are you dreading the day and week ahead?

Whatever your response may be, ask yourself this question:

“What is it that makes you feel unmotivated?” What’s driving you to feel negative or positive about your Monday ahead? If you want to know how to get motivated, keep reading.

The Two Types of People

You likely know of people who have been doing the same thing for years and seem to not have any problem staying stagnant. Whether it be in their marriage, job, or personal endeavors, they seem to be getting along just fine without progressing towards anything “better.”

On the other hand, I’m sure you also know of individuals who focus on the positive, goals setting and are constantly pushing themselves to greater heights. Be it promotions at work, building a family, celebrating marriage milestones, traveling more, or going to school again, these individuals seem to constantly progress towards something that improves or enhances their life.

So what’s the difference between these two types of individuals?

What you feel capable of doing comes down to one thing: motivation. It’s the force, or lack of, that keeps driving you forward to overcome challenges and obstacles to achieve your goals.

Without motivation, you’ll give up after a few failed attempts, or even on the first tough challenge that comes your way. Or you’ll just remain where you are: unhappy yet not doing anything to progress ahead.

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What Is Motivation, Really?

Whether you realize it or not, motivation is a huge force in your life, and it needs to be harnessed in order to excel and actually enjoy whatever it is that you’re doing on a daily basis. If you find yourself thinking, “I need motivation,” there are specific steps you can take.

Unfortunately, many overgeneralize the word motivation. We think of being either motivated or unmotivated as a simple “yes” or “no” state of being.

But motivation is not a switch. As discussed in the Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation, motivation is a flow. To feel motivated, you need to dive beyond the surface. Just reading a motivational quote, being encouraged by your friends or mentor, or writing out a short to-do list won’t help you build sustainable motivation in the long run.

You can think of the motivation that we want to achieve like the Sun (self-sustaining and long-lasting), which supplies a constant influx of energy to all life on Earth. Just like the Sun, your “motivation engine” has different layers, starting from the core and spreading out to the surface. The surface is what you see, but the real process is driven from the core (your internal motivation); and that’s the most important part.

If you can create a self-sustaining motivation engine, you’ll be able to find more meaning in your life and enjoy every minute of what you’re doing, which will make your roles and responsibilities less of a chore. 

Let me help you understand this motivation flow better by breaking down the motivation engine into 3 parts:

  1. Core – Purpose
  2. Support – Enablers
  3. Surface – Acknowledgement

The Third Layer: Surface

The outermost layer, also known as Acknowledgement, encompasses any type of external recognition that might give you motivation. It may come in the form of respect or recognition, such as compliments and praise.

Or it could be emotional support through encouragement, feedback, and constructive criticism. It could also be affiliation, where you have mutual companions or buddies sharing the same goal or burden with you.

One recent study pointed out that “rewards had a positive impact on work motivation but no significant relationship existed between reward and job satisfaction”[1].

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Therefore, it’s important to recognize that rewards will motivate you, but they won’t necessarily make you happier in an undesirable situation.

This is generally what you see on the surface when you look at other people. You see the external acknowledgement, respect, and recognition they’re getting.

The Second Layer: Support

In essence, the second layer of the motivation engine (also known as Enablers) is what supports your goals. They can magnify the motivation core you have, or speed up the momentum that you build. Basically, they create favorable circumstances for things to go smoothly.  

If you want to know how to find motivation, positive enablers are key. This could include friends and family, or any support network you’ve created in life.

The Innermost Layer: Core

But what’s most important, and the true driving force behind your motivation flow, is the innermost core, your Purpose. Your purpose is what differentiates the motivated from the unmotivated, the achievers from the underachievers, the happy from the unhappy.

Your motivational core is your Purpose, and it is sustained by two things: having meaning, and forward movement. With these two as a foundation, you’ll have a power source that will feed you motivational energy indefinitely.

If you want to learn more about the Motivation Flow, join our Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation for free now!

How to Sustain Your Purpose

Having meaning is simple. If you want to learn how to find motivation, just ask yourself a question: Why?

Why are you pursuing a certain goal? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. While motivation provides you energy to do something, that energy needs to be focused somewhere. So without meaning, there is no direction for your energy to focus.

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Yet, having a meaningful objective doesn’t mean you have to change the world or have a huge impact on society. The secret to meaningful work is simple: it should contribute value to something or someone that matters to you.

One study suggested creativity as one possible path to meaning, saying: “Many of the core concepts in work on the meaning of life, such as the needs for coherence, significance, and purpose or the desire for symbolic immortality, can be reached through creative activity”[2].

Next up is gaining forward movement. In short, this means to just keep moving. Like a snowball, motivation from having progress creates momentum. So to keep this up, you have to keep moving.

The good news is, your progress doesn’t have to be huge for you to recognize it. Small amounts of progress can be just as motivating, as long as they keep coming. Like driving a car, you may be really impatient if you’re at a complete halt. But, it lessens if you’re moving forward, even if you’re moving slowly.

Creating a simple progress indicator, like checklists or milestones, is a great way to visualize your small (and big) wins. They trigger your brain to recognize and acknowledge them, giving you small boosts of motivational energy.

This is why video games are so addictive! They’re full of progress indicators everywhere. Even though the progress is completely virtual, they’re still able to trigger the motivation centers in your brain.

Find out What Drives You Today

Why not take some time today and do a quick reflection of where you’re at now? Take one aspect of your life that you’d like to progress further in.

For example, it may be your current job. Start with your why. Write down your reasons for why you’re in the job that you’re in.

Then, think about your Motivation Core: your Purpose. Write down what it is within your job that gives you meaning, and what are some things that will help push you forward in life.

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Once you have those points, it’s time to do a comparison. Does your current job help you make progress towards that purpose that you’ve written?

If it does, you’re on the right track. If it doesn’t, or if you’ve realized your life isn’t going where you want it to, don’t panic. There’re tools that can help you get through this. The Actionable Motivation On Demand Handbook is one of those effective tools that can help you always stay motivated. Get your own handbook and never lose motivation again!

Do your best to not focus on the negative. Review your goals and aim yourself in a positive direction, even if it means that you start small.

Final Thoughts on Staying Motivated

Happiness doesn’t need to be a vague term or illusion that you’re constantly chasing after with no end in sight. By finding your true motivation, you’ll be one step closer to realizing your happiness and finding meaning in everything you do.

You may have tried many solutions to help you stay motivated and found that none of them really have any impact. That’s because they bring about incremental changes only, and permanent change requires a holistic approach. It requires more than just focusing on one area of your life or changing one part of your routine or actions.

You want to make a fundamental change, but it feels like big, unknown territory that you can’t afford to venture into at this point in your life.

The truth is, taking your life to the next stage doesn’t have to be this complicated. So, if you’d like to take the first step to achieving your life purpose, the time to learn how to find motivation is now!

More on How to Find Motivation

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] European Journal of Business and Management: Impact of Reward and Recognition on Job Satisfaction and Motivation
[2] Perspectives on Psychological Science: Finding Meaning With Creativity in the Past, Present, and Future

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