Like a lot of people, I have felt the urge to give up on something. It’s easy to get to a point where it seems as though the time you’ve invested in a dream or goal and the time of fruition can be very daunting.
There are cycles of excitement, enthusiasm, creativity, and they are followed by despair, discouragement, and the desire to quit.
Table of Contents
- Why Do We Give Up Easily?
- The Consequence of Giving Up Too Early
- How to Not Give Up and Stay Motivated
- 1. Figure out What You Lack
- 2. Be Patient with Yourself
- 3. Be Proud of Yourself for Every Small Win
- 4. Remember that You Aren't the First to Feel This Way
- 5. Remember Why You Started and How Much You Really Wanted It
- 6. Know that You Will Grow as a Person Just from Going Through It
- 7. Be Grateful for the Good Things While Struggling.
- 8. Remember That You Have Choices
- 9. Picture in Your Mind the Ultimate Result
- 10. Make a Plan and Have a Backup
- 11. Find Support From Others
- 12. Have Motivational Reminders Everywhere
- Final Thoughts
Why Do We Give Up Easily?
Our brains are wired to giving up easily, it’s normal. Human beings are believed to act upon the “Pleasure Principle,” the instant gratification:
Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfilment without delay or deferment. Basically, it’s when you want it; and you want it now.
Our brains are wired to immediate rewards in return. We’re born to look for instant gratification because in the ancient times, getting immediate benefits was essential for survival. We are very much present-oriented, and so when we’re not getting what we want immediately, we get anxious and want to give up.
Yes, so once in a while, wanting to give up is normal. But giving up is not okay.
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.
The Consequence of Giving Up Too Early
Instant success is a myth, always. Many successful people failed hundreds of times, if they chose to give up instead of working harder to reach their goals, they would never succeed.
For example, Walt Disney had been fired by a newspaper editor before because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” If he gave up imagining and dreaming about big ideas, he wouldn’t have found the successful Disney business.
And let’s take the famous soccer player David Beckham as another example. He had a down time after he received a red card in the World Cup match against Argentina in 1998. The England team couldn’t make it to the next round and everyone hated him and blamed him for that. If Beckham gave up playing soccer, we wouldn’t see the successful player leading different teams and becoming one of the most legendary players in history.
If you give up now, you’re giving up the very bright future and great results you will get.
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.
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.
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.
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
The feelings of wanting to quit can be overwhelming. The generalized feeling isn’t clear; look at the reasons why you want to quit. Are you physically tired? Have you been consumed with things and not taken care of yourself in the process? Do you feel little support? Are you lacking ability? Have you come up against some difficulties that you are unprepared for? Do you need to just take a step back before continuing on?
There are many reasons why you may want to quit. Be diligent in figuring out what the real issues are and tackle them specifically. Once you see what is causing the feeling, you can address it.
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.”
Try to do an audit of your life and figure out the reason: How to Get Your Life Back on Track When Things Are Out of Control
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.
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.
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. Remember Why You Started and How Much You Really Wanted It
Think back to the moment that this project, goal, or concept was conceived. Remember the joy and thrill of the adventure ahead? At the beginning, you had a goal in mind; a beautiful picture etched in your mind of the finished task. Beginning was simple; carrying through has become difficult.
Going back to the beginning brings into focus the purpose of your endeavor. The memory of anticipation of the job accomplished is stirred up again when you begin to contemplate the reason you began in the first place. Breathe in deep and recall your purpose.
6. 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.
7. Be Grateful for the Good Things While Struggling.
Yes, you may feel like giving up. Yes, you are struggling. Yes, you are overwhelmed at the moment. I know this may seem like a strange thing to say, but remember to be grateful. This is essential in a resilient mindset.
Whenever you feel like giving up, stop and make a list of the things you are grateful for in your life. You have so much positivity in your life to be thankful for. When you shift your focus to becoming grateful for all things, tasks that seem overwhelming take on a new light. The way you look at the situations around you depends on the attitude with which you view them. Take on an attitude of gratitude and you will be amazed at the difference it makes.
Learn how to be more resilient: 17 Ways for Building Resilience and Staying Tough
8. 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.
9. Picture in Your Mind the Ultimate Result
Keep in your mind the picture of the end result. A visualization of what you want to accomplish will keep you moving forward. I mean, seriously, you don’t want to stop partway through. The feeling of being a quitter isn’t pleasant. You are a winner! Remember the slogan: the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat!
Whenever you want to quit, ask yourself, do you want the thrill of victory? Or would you rather the agony of defeat? Press on; you can do this. This is how you can stay motivated and persevere even during the difficult times.
10. Make a Plan and Have a Backup
Before you undertake anything, always have an outlined plan of action.
There are various ways this can be done. You can write a list, make a breakout chart, or form a checklist for tasks completed along the way. By having a plan in place, when you feel like giving up you can look at the plan and refocus on the steps needed to reach the goal.
Also, have a backup plan in mind before beginning; this way when you are frustrated and want to give up, you will have an alternative plan to put in action.
Life will knock you down sometimes, but don’t give up!
11. Find Support From Others
Don’t isolate yourself or hide your feelings of frustration, and don’t be afraid to seek support from others. Reach out to family, friends, co-workers or even online forums to find someone that you can talk to and rid yourself of what is dragging you down and causing you to want to quit.
I promise there are so many other people out there that are struggling with feelings of doubt, fear and frustration just like you are. Finding another person who has gone through a similar crisis will strengthen your resolve and help you get back on course.
Here’re more ways to help you feel inspired: How to Feel Inspired When You’ve Lost Motivation
12. Have Motivational Reminders Everywhere
Here’re some of my favorite motivational quotes, make them your wallpaper or just have the quotes stuck on your desk! Just don’t give up! Never, ever give up!
Never give up on something you really want. It’s difficult to wait but more difficult to regret.
The expert in anything was once a beginner.
Everyone must choose one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
Crawling is acceptable. Falling is acceptable. Pain is acceptable. Quitting is not.
Don’t give up what you want most in life for something you think you want now.
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: Galen Crout via unsplash.com
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