There are bound to be setbacks on the path to reaching our goals. Sometimes our circumstances seem so daunting that we feel like calling it quits. In actuality, you may be inches away from reaching your destination, and now is not the time to throw in the towel. Here are some strategies to help you push forward when you feel like giving up.
1. Focus on how far you’ve come
You’ve been working towards a goal for a while and perhaps you have hit a plateau or maybe even endured some set backs. The obstacles can become so frustrating that you figure it’s time to give up on your dream. Before you abandon your mission, take some time to think about how far you’ve come already. Look at how things were when you started and how they are now. Sure, you may have fallen flat a few times, but you’ve definitely made a great deal of progress as well. Realize the amount of strength it took you to get started in the first place, and try to cultivate it again to push you towards the finish line.
2. Run your race
Humans by nature have the tendency to compare themselves with one another. Perhaps your peers are enjoying their traditional careers while your path may be unconventional. Their lives look comfortable and appealing, while you face uncertainty. Everybody has his or her own unique path to follow, so try not to pay attention to what everyone around you is doing. You chose your path for a reason and you have a vision for your life that no one can see as clearly as you. Trust your instincts and run your race at your own pace.
3. Master patience
Patience is the ability to remain positive even when things aren’t quite going your way. The person who masters patience can have everything they desire. The greatest obstacle to creativity is impatience, the almost unavoidable desire to speed up the process and make waves. You have to constantly remind yourself that anything of great value takes diligence and consistency. Focus on the process more than the results. Even if you’re making all the right moves, it may take the universe some time to catch up to your accomplishments.
4. Focus on what you can control
There’s a famous prayer that goes, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This sentence perfectly encapsulates the mindset needed to persist towards a desired outcome. Focusing on things outside of your control is a futile effort and will only lead to unhappiness and frustration.
5. Look to others for guidance
There’s almost no situation that you’re going through that someone else hasn’t gone through before. People have dealt with depression, heartaches, obstacles, and set backs all throughout history, and there is some one out there who has a story that you can relate to. Find someone who pushed through a situation that was similar to yours. What did they do to overcome their circumstances? Use other people’s experiences to guide you and model yourself after those who have achieved the outcome you desire.
6. Learn from your mistakes
You’re mistakes can be used one of two ways. They can either be a reminder of your inadequacy, which will ultimately stop you dead in your tracks. On the other hand, they can be useful in refining your strategy going forward. Mistakes can oftentimes be the best thing that ever happened to you. It may seem counter intuitive, but you actually are worse off if you glide to the top with no obstacles or mistakes along the way.
Becoming successful too quickly and without difficulty can lead to hubris and a smug attitude where you think you have the golden touch. Then, when you finally do experience some failure you won’t know how to deal with it. Make your mistakes your allies and become smarter and stronger because of them.
7. Weigh the pain of effort against the pain of regret
“I hated every minute of training, but I said ‘Don’t quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.” – Muhammed Ali.
The pain of effort towards reaching your goals pales in comparison to the colossal heartache of regret. Whenever you feel like quitting, think of how it will feel to look back on your life and know that you gave up on something you truly wanted. Feel the pain of that regret now and use it as fuel for motivation, or suffer from it in reality for the rest of your life.
8. Look to your friends and family for support
Express your dreams and aspirations to those around you that are trustworthy and who truly care about you. Ask them to help you stay accountable when you feel like you’re almost at the end of your rope. Humans are social and need to rely on one another for support. Post a Facebook status asking your friends for uplifting messages. Send an email to colleagues asking them for help and advice. No man is an island. Gather support from the people around you.
9. Build resiliency
I am a believer in the Nieztschean notion of that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. When you’re able to get knocked down and get back up to again, you prove to yourself how strong you really are. I think many of us underestimate our capabilities, especially our ability to be resilient and persistent. Colonel sanders was said to have dozens of failed businesses before he finally made it big with KFC.
He could have quit after several failures, deciding that his lack of success meant that he simply wasn’t cut out for business. Instead, he used his failure to develop a resolve that wouldn’t allow him to quit. You’re only a failure when you give up completely.
10. Start with why
I speak about the word “why” quite a bit in my writing, because the word has so much impact when used in the proper perspective. When you feel like giving up, ask yourself why you started on this journey in the first place. After time, struggles and obstacles may cloud your thinking and you can begin to lose sight of your “why.” Go back to the beginning and rediscover your initial passion.