So, you’ve been doing – or trying to do – this particular thing for a while now, and it looks like you’re not getting the results you want. You have lost all momentum for this endeavor – it was there in the beginning, wasn’t it? And now you’re considering giving up. But isn’t this thing important? It probably is. Why else would you get into it? Somewhere in your heart, you know you shouldn’t give up, but you don’t have any energy or motivation to continue either. Finally, you start to wonder, why do I give up so easily?
If any of the above sounds familiar, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there at some point.
The act of “Giving up” isn’t always a bad thing. For example, giving up a seat to somebody, giving up your needs for the needs of your family, or giving up bad habits such as smoking or overeating. These are the good things to give up. However, giving up can be bad when it stops you from making progress in your life and achieving your goals. So, let’s tackle it.
What do you do when you want to give up?
- Remind yourself of why you started in the first place – your “why”. Your ‘why’ can be a powerful motivator, ask yourself – “why is it important? why will achieving this benefit me?” Reminding yourself of your initial motivation may give you enough energy to keep going even when the going gets tough.
- Take a step back and focus on the things under your control instead of focusing on the outcomes. Many times, what has failed is the method or process. Try a different approach – a new “how” – to whatever it is you want to accomplish.
- Take a break. Call someone close to you or someone you know will support you to help you gather mental strength.
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How to keep going when you want to quit
Let’s discuss in detail the mindset required to keep going, and not give up too easily, and also some practical tips to help you get back on track when you’re being nagged by the thought of quitting. Here are some simple tricks you can use when you feel like throwing in the towel.
“He who has a ‘why’ can bear almost any ‘how’.”
If there is one thing you learn from this article, it is this point. You must continually remind yourself of the “why” of your undertaking. This cannot be stressed enough. Work through the following paragraphs when you feel like giving up.
Whatever it is you want to achieve, from eating healthier to running a successful business, think very specifically about why you want to do it? What is the inspiration that drives you forward – the force behind? What will you get by achieving it – the result ahead? Remind yourself of the inspiration behind the achievement, because we tend to forget that when in the midst of the doing. Also, remind yourself of the outcome that lies after the tasks, what will be better.
Why do we forget these? Because our inspiration lies in the past, and our result is in the future. Both of these are invisible, so to speak. What is present and visible is the onerous labor or struggle. Our mind doesn’t like that at all. Our instincts are for instant gratification. If you always remember the invisible, you will continue to receive the necessary motivators and strength, and dealing with the visible challenges may become a bit easier.
Sometimes we don’t really know why we’re pursuing a goal, it happens. Maybe we only have a vague idea of why it is that we want something, and it doesn’t quite propel us as much as it should. In that case, you can ask yourself this question multiple times in a chain to accurately get to the core of your inspiration or reason, if there is one. This process is known as the five whys technique. Here’s how it goes:
Ask yourself why you want to do something. When you get the answer, dig deeper and ask yourself, “Why is that important?” Whatever the answer be, dive deeper still and ask again, “why do I want this? “again. Do this five times. If what you want is truly in line with your inner self, you’ll derive great inspiration from this series of whys, and get to the real truth of why it is important. Remember if you find it difficult to complete this exercise, your whys may not be strong enough to help you complete the task.
Many times, our reason for giving up is that we feel we are not getting the results we expected and deserve for the work we have put in. But we have to keep in mind that there are a lot of things completely outside our control, most notably, the outcome. We cannot always control what happens but we can control how we react to what happens.
It could be that your current approach or method isn’t working, and you need to change what you are doing. What you can do is find a different “how”.
When you see that your approach has failed and want to give up, take an “oh well” approach that method didn’t work, but let’s start brainstorming different techniques or methods to test. Then, pick one of them and try it!
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
It can be tiring to keep grinding at something when you aren’t making much progress or when the journey is very long. After some time, you may feel like you should give up. But it could just mean that you need a well-deserved break after putting in so much effort. Give yourself permission to stop and reassess, many times a solution is close at hand and just needs time to develop and formulate in your mind. Set a time limit and commit to returning to the task within a set period to ensure the break is intentional and temporary.
So, it’s perfectly OK to take a break – but don’t quit. Take a few hours or days off. Go on a vacation or somewhere you can unwind and enjoy. Forget all about that task or goal, and simply have a good time. Often, this rest remarkably refreshes your brain, and you will feel rejuvenated after it, and the task that seemed so difficult now becomes easier.
When you’ve been after an important goal for a while but haven’t made much progress, it’s only natural to feel like calling it off. When that happens, find someone you know and trust who will listen to you, encourage and support you. The simple act of opening up will have a refreshing effect on you.
If the people in your life don’t seem to understand or be able to help you with your current challenge, then you can seek out supportive Facebook groups, subreddits, or other online groups. It is okay to ask for support or help. When you look back, you’ll be grateful that you did. Usually, the people in these communities are indeed quite understanding and supportive – speaking from personal experience.
When embarking on any kind of undertaking, it is unrealistic to assume that there will be no hard times. This is especially true when the chosen thing requires a disciplined mind – which is virtually every time. So just be prepared for your brain to make excuses – really good excuses with very convincing reasoning. It is better to plan ahead for these inevitable thoughts.
It often happens that I get carried away with writing or with some other work, and when I care to glance at the clock, it’s almost time to sleep. However, I’ve told myself that I will meditate for at least 1.5 hours a day, come hell or high water. On several days, I’ve slept at 2 or 3am in the morning. But this is one streak that I never break, and it has immensely strengthened my will power.
One of the best ways you can train your mind to listen to you is by saying to yourself that you will do X no matter what. No. Matter. What.
And follow it up by doing what you said at any cost. Start small (I will do X for Y days no matter what) and build it up from there.
Remember, only you are responsible for what you do with your life; your friends, peers, or parents are not. They may have suggestions or may care, but ultimately, nobody can force you to do something unless you agree to do it. In that agreement, is the consent that Yes, I accept the consequences of what I’m going to do now. So, in the end, it only boils down to you. If you keep doing what it is that you have to do, then the whole universe will be at your feet and make way for you – no exaggeration here. But it will not do that if you give up.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
–Thomas A. Edison
Internalize these words of wisdom from Edison, and do not give up. At the core of realization of any dream lies tenacity. It is the determination that says: Whatever happens, I’m not going to give up. It’s a choice. Whenever you feel like giving up, you will have two options: go home or make it happen. No matter how small or grand your aim is, if you choose to stick to it till the end, it will happen. It can be no other way.