If anyone asked me how this past week has been my honest answer would be, “It’s been a tough week!”
Not because anything terrible had happened. But because I had been struggling with that awful feeling called discouragement.
I have put so much effort in and I have barely seen any progress. Is all the effort worth it?
Is achieving this goal even possible?
Am I being totally unrealistic about what I want to do?
I was feeling like giving up and I was seriously considering quitting the goals and projects that I had previously decided were important to me in this season.
What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up
The truth is… having a go at achieving big goals is hard!
Here’s 4 things that helped me regain my motivation, and hopefully will give you back your mojo too!
1. Talk To A Good Friend
I chose a friend who I thought would be supportive and encouraging of me. My expectation was, whether or not they gave me the encouragement I needed, that there would be value in sharing what I was going through. Worst case scenario, they could pray for me or give me an encouraging hug.
So I shared how I was feeling about my lack of progress with this good friend. I was able to tell them about my desire to succeed, but my discouraging feelings and thoughts which were getting in the way of me moving forward. They didn’t have a quick fix answer, but the conversation lifted my spirits.
My friend was also able to give me a fresh perspective on whether there was value in the process of trying.
Would I regret it later, if I quit now?
Would it still be worthwhile for me to keep going even if I don’t succeed in the end?
Would I prefer to fail trying or fail because I quit now?
I also shared my struggle with an online group of women I am part of. Now these are people I don’t know well, and some I have never met in person. Yet their responses were so encouraging. Almost all of the women that commented could share about how they have felt discouraged about their lack of progress at one time or another.
How empowering it is when you and I are reminded that we are not alone in the struggles we have!
Choose a supportive friend or group and share what you are feeling discouraged about. Seek out encouragement and strength through good relationships.
2. When you feel like quitting think about why you started
Identifying the reasons you want to achieve your top goals is important. Having a strong “why” increases your motivation and helps you stay on track when you feel like giving up.
While I vaguely knew the reasons I wanted to achieve my goal, I hadn’t written it down. So one morning I sat down and wrote out a list of reasons why achieving this specific goal was important to me.
It surprised me that I was able to come up with 12 benefits, why it made sense to keep moving forward. That was motivating!
The truth is you really only want to be pursuing goals that matter a lot to you anyway. It is harder to achieve your goals when you either don’t have a strong reason to make changes in your life or you haven’t specified what those reasons are.
Take out a piece of paper and pen, and write down as many benefits as you can think of, for achieving your goal.
3. Show Kindness To Yourself
Gosh my thoughts towards myself can get harsh at times! Anyone else noticed that about themselves?
Why did I think I could even do this? I fail at everything, so I’m going to fail at this. No one else seems to be having as much trouble as I am making progress! And on and on…
Yet being kind and compassionate with yourself is so important especially when you are having a go at something that is difficult and requires a lot of sustained effort.
What you and I need at these times, is compassionate self-talk.
I am reminded of my oldest child’s first attempts at walking independently. As their parent, my heart was to encourage and cheer them on, regardless of how many times they fell down. I’m sure I even have photos of the first time they stood up holding onto a chair, we were so impressed with their progress.
That’s the heart you and I are to have towards ourselves, cheerleaders!
Ways To Practice Self Compassion
Focus on your progress, not perfection.
Personally, showing kindness to myself meant acknowledging the progress I had already made. It also meant agreeing with the truth that I was capable of having a good go at this goal. My journey towards achieving my goal might look different to other people’s and that’s ok!
Also do a check-in with yourself.
- How is my physical, mental and emotional health?
- Have I been getting enough sleep?
- Am I feeling more tired than normal?
- Have I been going through any stressful events lately?
- Am I feeling isolated or lonely?
- How long has it been since I did something I really enjoy or find a lot of fun?
- Do I need to go for a walk?
Personally, I find lack of sleep or poor quality sleep to be one of the biggest contributors to feeling like giving up.
Now days I have a habit of reminding myself that I will probably feel and think differently after a good night’s sleep. Most of the time I do!
Grab a cup of tea or coffee and sit down in your favourite spot. Spend 10 minutes reflecting on what you could you affirm to yourself about your progress so far.
If this task is difficult, I encourage to imagine instead you are talking to a close friend who feels like giving up. What would you say to them?
Then spend a few minutes thinking about your emotional and physical health. What is one small thing could you do immediately to increase your emotional or physical well being?
4. Just Do The (Easiest) Next Thing
The secret to success, to parenting, to life, is to not count up the cost.
Don’t focus on all the steps it will take.
Don’t stare into the abyss at the giant leap it will take.
That view will keep you from taking the next small step.
– Regina Brett
I have noticed that the more frustrated and discouraged my mood becomes, the more my focus flitters everywhere. I become easily distracted from my main tasks, especially online. I am scanning for a quick fix or a short cut, anything to help me feel comfortable again.
Instead, what I need to be doing is just the next thing!
What is one thing you could do to move forward in achieving your goal? Break it down to the smallest step and do that one thing next.
Bonus: Gain motivation through using a fresh approach. Download my free Goal Setting Planner.