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Published on January 13, 2021

How to Keep Fighting When the Going Gets Tougher

How to Keep Fighting When the Going Gets Tougher

Life can get tough, but it’s important to keep fighting for the better times. In particular, due to Covid-19, many more people will be struggling with various challenges right now, whether that’s redundancy, illness, inability to move around freely, a reduction in contact with friends and family, or the death of a loved one.

Let’s explore a few ways in which you can keep fighting and get yourself through the difficult times.

1. Meet Your Basic Needs

If there is only one thing you manage to do, ensure your basic needs are met. Our bodies are often very forgiving to us during those odd occasions where we might abuse them, but over the long term, it’s certainly much happier with some simple TLC.

We’re not talking about running a 5K every day. We’re talking about two things:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating regularly

If that’s all you achieve, that will give you the foundation to start fighting when you’re ready. It’s extremely difficult to keep up the fight mentally if you are physically drained. They are interlinked.

It’s okay if all you did today was survive.

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2. Change Any Expectations You Have of Yourself

It is okay to slow down and reduce the number of things you have on your plate. In fact, it’s unrealistic to think that you can perform at your full potential when going through a difficult time.

Understand and accept that you are going through a rough patch and allow yourself to adjust to this period in your life. If you do not understand and accept this, you will undoubtedly feel guilty or disappointed for not being able to perform at the same levels as before. This, in turn, will reduce your ability to keep fighting.

The likelihood is that you will not have the same level of productivity or energy as before. So, reset the bar of what “good” looks like.

There might have been a time where leaving the house wasn’t even something you gave any consideration to. Now? Well, the days you manage to leave the house might be a big accomplishment. Get through each day, one by one, by resetting what success looks like relative to what you’re going through.

3. Tackle the Problem Head on

Once you find small moments of mental or physical energy, use this to start tackling your problems head on.

If you’re grieving over the lost of a loved one, and you’ve been struggling to accept it, start allowing yourself to think of them along with whatever emotions come to surface. Do this in small bursts so that you start allowing your brain to process what has happened without overwhelming yourself.

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Then, once you feel like you’ve exhausted all your energy, go back to focusing on those basics until you’re ready to try again.

If you’ve been made redundant and feel at a dead-end with new opportunities, take small bursts of energy to start reaching out to other people for help: call friends to see if they know of any opportunities at their workplace or walk around locally to see what’s available.

Switch up your approach now and then so that you are not always trying the same thing day in day out, as that can be extremely demotivating.

You might not be lucky right away, but the point here is to be comfortable with small and consistent effort over time so that you do not burn yourself out. It’s better to apply for 100 jobs over the course of 3 months than to apply for 100 jobs on one day and then taking your foot off the gas for the following month. If this happens, the next time you are ready to apply for another 100 jobs, it will seem like a mountain of a task.

4. Be Kind to Yourself

Whatever it is that you’re going through, make it part of your routine to do something every day that makes you happy. Don’t focus on the big, unsustainable gestures like trips abroad, especially if you are experiencing financial difficulties.

Focus on the smaller pleasures in life, like having a cup of really good coffee or a hot bath. Something small and something just for you, every day. Also, remind yourself often what you’re fighting for and why.

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Being kind to yourself will give you that little extra push to keep going[1]. Care about yourself as you would care for a friend going through a similar thing.

5. Remember That Life Is About ups and Downs

Sayings like this are so well ingrained in our minds often because they are true. It might be unhelpful to hear this when you’re on a downwards path because hearing it doesn’t automatically change anything. However, the perspective is important.

You only know what “down” feels like because you’ve previously experienced the “‘up.” The reason why you keep fighting when you’re down is so that you can experience the opposite once more.

6. Reduce Your Exposure to Things That Trigger Negative Emotions

When you’re feeling weak, the last thing you need is to allow into your life are things that trigger negative emotions in you. Cut them all out, whether that’s the news, social media, or unhelpful people in your circle.

This advice stands at all points during your life. It would be wise to remove as many of the things in your life that make you feel worse, but it’s especially true when the going has got tougher because you’re less likely to be able to maintain perspective on your life.

For example, when you’re mentally strong, you might be fine watching the news, which constantly reports on disasters, tragedies, and other negative events, because you know that life is not always like this. But when you’re mentally weak, you might convince yourself that life is all doom and gloom. The news hasn’t changed—your state of mind has.

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Surround yourself with positivity as much as possible. It will make a difference. And if you feel like you might be creating your own negativity, read 7 Powerful Ways to Stop Negative Thinking.

7. Get Help

Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you feel like you can’t keep fighting. We’d all like to think we’re capable and strong enough to get through everything, but the reality is that we all need a helping hand sometimes. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Most people find that when they are open and vulnerable with somebody, that person is open and vulnerable in return. It’s also a humbling experience, and one that can allow you to release a lot of anxiety and grief.

Sharing is best done with others who understand what you’re experiencing—whether that’s because they are experiencing the same thing right now or because they’ve experienced the same thing previously. The trick will be finding this person or people.

Think about how guarded you might be about your feelings, and you might realize that other people are the same. We’ve been brought up to think that showing weakness is a negative thing, which is a shame because there is probably somebody out there who could do with your ear as well.

Online forums are a great way to find support because they focus on the problem at hand, and you’ll always find people going through similar issues. You may not get a solution to your troubles, but sometimes just being able to share your feelings is enough.

Final Thoughts

It can be difficult to maintain the energy to keep fighting when things get tough in life, but by practicing a few of the simple tips above, you can rebuild your mental stamina and get back to fighting for a better life for yourself. Take care of yourself, and then focus on taking care what’s outside of you.

More Tips on Getting Through Tough Times

Featured photo credit: BBH Singapore via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] TED Ideas: How to be kinder to yourself

More by this author

Nicky Shah

Writer at freedomwanted.com, ex-business exec, University of Oxford - Inspiring you to live more of the life you want

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Last Updated on April 9, 2021

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is learning how to stay motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task at hand serves a greater goal.

It’s impossible to expect your motivation levels to remain at 100% all the time, but there are things you can do to maximize your stores of motivation and push forward. Here are 5 simple yet effective tips for staying motivated.

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first, but if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it, it’s time to find your good reasons.

For each goal you set, there needs to be a reason behind it. If you don’t nail down your “why” when you begin, your motivation will soon falter, leaving you miles from achieving your goal. This isn’t the way to learn how to become motivated.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

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  • Rewards: This may come in the form of money (a salary or a raise, for example) or some kind of award.
  • Personal Gain: You will learn something new or improve yourself in a certain way.
  • Accomplishment: Achieving a feeling of accomplishment and recognition for achieving a goal can be a huge motivating factor.
  • A Step Closer to Bigger Goals: Even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to increasing motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, and others will love it[1].

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and enjoyable when we begin to lose motivation.

Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some, yet others love being in that environment. For those that hate going to the gym, finding a team sport in their community may serve them best.

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and others?
  • How can I make this task the best part of my day?

Expecting a task to be enjoyable is one way to learn how to stay motivated. Most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, so looking for ways to have fun while working is a great habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach and Don’t Give up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach if you want to learn how to get motivation.

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You may be doing everything correctly and efficiently, but such an approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach that will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common—if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one that will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

If you can’t find the right approach, you may need to go back to motivation basics to find your motivation style. Check out Lifehack’s Free Assessment: What’s Your Motivation Style?

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most big or long-term goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities, but to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it. Tracking is merely taking note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at the bigger picture and realize where exactly you are and how much more you have left to do.

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For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until everything is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such an approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive progress made. This is how to keep yourself motivated in the long-term.

5. Reward Yourself

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on a particular task? Hate the whole idea of working?

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables that will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way. This creates external motivators to help you feel motivated in the long run.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do. For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself to dessert.

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For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to see a movie, taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

The more you reward yourself for making progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques, and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right away. Mix different approaches, and match them to your task for the best results.

Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to help you feel better, and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Learning how to stay motivated is as simple as finding what works for you. If you need a reward, schedule one. If you just need to find your “why”, take time for introspection. Do what you need to do and start tackling those goals.

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Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Positivity Blog: How to Get the Boring Tasks Done

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