Giving up is easy. We all know that. Anything that’s worthwhile is going to take an enormous amount of work. Still, that thought doesn’t alleviate our minds when we feel like giving up. When we feel like all hope is lost and that nothing in the world seems to be working out for us, what are we supposed to do? How do we battle the sleepless nights and the restless days?
If you’ve been faced with a hopeless situation, or you’re going through one right now, you know all too well how it feels to be fighting a seemingly uphill battle. Often, when we’ve reached the end of our respective ropes, when nothing seems to be working in our favor, it’s easy to just say “I quit,” or “I give up,” and to storm off shouting, “Never again!”
Clearly, it’s easy to throw in that proverbial towel. But, when we look back at it all and realize what we’ve been through and how far we’ve come, we can easily regret giving up. The what-ifs, would-haves, should-haves, and could-haves can be strong detractors in our mind, especially considering that hindsight is 20-20.
Looking back on failed attempts at achieving something, we can often see where we could have worked longer, smarter, harder, and been more persistent. We can easily identify where we should have put in that extra effort when we knew it was needed most. But, instead, we gave up. We decided to call it quits and be finished with it rather than persist another day.
When we reach that point in our minds, it’s hard to turn back. It’s usually a build up of so much subconscious thought and energy, that turning the tides is hard, so to speak. But, giving up should almost never been an option. No matter what’s transpired or is happening right now, it’s far better to make just a little bit of progress every day than to completely call it quits.
While life is difficult at it’s easiest of times and we’re faced with what seems like one losing battle after another, giving up shouldn’t be in our vocabulary. While every situation is unique, you never really know what tomorrow’s going to bring, so quitting should be taken off the table entirely.
But when chaos ensues, and you feel like you have no choice but to give up, what are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to think, feel, or act when all hope seems to be lost and you feel like all your choices have been limited? What methods can we implement to alleviate some of the pressure that life’s monumental goals can put on us?
#1 — Revisit Your Goals
The first thing you should do when you feel like giving up is to revisit your goals. What do you want and why did you want it in the first place? If you set some lofty goals, that’s quite all right. Anyone can achieve anything that they put their mind to. But, what were the reasons for your goals? What made you want to achieve them?
When we have flimsy or superficial reasons for wanting to achieve something, giving up is far easier. Think about it yourself. When you really wanted something — and I mean really wanted something — didn’t you do just about anything to achieve it? Didn’t you ignore all the naysayers and charge forward full steam ahead?
When the reasons run deep and they’re profound, we’ll do whatever it takes to achieve our goals. When the reasons are strong enough, we will go to any lengths, no matter what happens to stand in our way, nor what limitations we might have, or what disadvantages we might be faced with, to achieve our dreams.
For example, if you wanted to achieve something for your family so that they can have security and comfort, or that they can be safe in a particular place or country, you might be willing to go to great lengths to achieve that goal. One might say you would be willing to do anything. But, if you wanted to make a million dollars just so you can drive a fancy car, you might not be willing to go all out and do what it takes.
The reasons come first, the answers come second. Revisit your goals. Find deep-enough reasons for wanting to achieve those goals. If it means enough to you, you’ll do what it takes to push through the hard times and not give up.
#2 — Renew Your Inspiration
We often forget what inspired us to push towards a certain goal, so when we’re faced with a difficult situation, all we can think about is giving up. It shouldn’t be this hard to achieve something, should it? Yet, when we renew our inspiration, and we can see others that are living the life that we dream of, giving up will seem like more of a distant thought than a harsh reality.
There are several ways to renew your inspiration. First, take a look at others who’ve already achieved the dream you’re chasing. There are notable examples across every field and industry. Use resources like YouTube and TED Talks to find videos of inspirational or motivating talks, or read a book, article, or interview about whoever inspires you.
Other ways to renew your inspiration include creating a dream board in your house. Take a cork board and pin up photos, quotes, and articles about people who inspire you. Often, just glancing at some of those images or quotes can help to renew our inspiration on a daily basis. It usually doesn’t take much to remind us of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
#3 — Practice Daily Gratitude
One of the best habits that we can have, and one that will surely help you to overcome the desire for giving up, is daily gratitude. This single habit is quite possibly the most important thing that you can do on a daily basis to help motivate and inspire yourself to keep pushing on and persevering towards your dreams.
What we don’t realize is that the mind has a lot of negative thought. In fact, the human subconscious processes upwards of fifty to sixty-thousand thoughts in a given day. Much of those are fear-based thoughts that help lead us into the clutches of stress and anxiety. But, daily gratitude helps to reverse the momentum of negativity in the mind.
We’re constantly weighing our actions and the future result of what we do, whether we’re aware of it or not. And, much of what we do — the actions that we take on a daily basis — springs from our thoughts that are in the depths and dark reaches of our minds. When we can transform the overall polarity of that thought from a state of lack to a state of abundance, some remarkable things begin to occur.
By practicing daily gratitude we move away from scarcity, something that lies at the heart of our fears. We’re so afraid of not having enough of something — money, love, respect, opportunities, friends, and so on — that we’re suffocated by the inability to act. By writing out everything that we’re grateful for on a daily basis, the mind experiences a renaissance of transformation.
No matter what you have in your life — no matter how small it might be — be grateful for it. Be grateful even for your problems and incredible things will begin to transpire. Don’t take my word for it; try it. Spend 15 minutes every morning writing out what you’re grateful for. Just 15 minutes. Do this for 90 days and your life will never be the same.
#4 — Take a Short Break
Sometimes, we just need to recharge our batteries and take a short break. But this doesn’t mean you should return to a bad habit that’s stifled your progress in the past. Just take a day to yourself, where you can disconnect from everything and everyone. Do something that you love. If you can’t afford to travel somewhere, take a drive somewhere you can be on your own.
If you have a beach or a lake nearby, go there. Unwind. Reflect. Ponder. Think about your accomplishments. Spend some time writing out your hopes and your dreams, how far you’ve come in life, or what challenges you’ve overcome. Or, just sit and watch the birds. Take photos with a nice camera or listen to some relaxing music.
Whatever makes you happy, do that. Decide that, for just one day, you’re going to take a break from it all. If you have children, find a sitter for the day and head out and do you. Reconnect with what’s important in life so that you can get back to the roots of who you are and where you come from.
#5 — Contribute and Give Back
Sometimes, we need to see the hardships of others to appreciate all that we have in life. We’re too busy immersed in the status quo that we forget how hard some others have it. I’m not even talking about hardships in other countries with repressive regimes like North Korea or famine-fatigued countries like Ethiopia; I’m talking about the hardships right around the corner.
There are children starving near you. There are people cold and without a roof over their heads nearby. All you need to do is head to a homeless shelter and you’ll find them. Spend a day and volunteer. Give back. Get in touch with your fellow man, woman, and child. See the faces as they light up when a plate of food lands into their hands. Those simple reminders are life’s blessings in disguise.
We are too wrapped up and concerned with all the things happening in our lives that we forget about the real struggles that others are facing right now, at this very moment, in very close proximity. Find a way to give back and go do it. You don’t need to donate money; all you need to donate is your time. Time is the most precious commodity that we all have.
#6 — Rely on Your Faith
No matter what you believe in — God, Allah, Buddha, or the Spiritual Oneness that binds us all — sometimes, we just need to rely on our faith. There is a reason things happen in life. There’s a reason for pain and suffering even if we can’t see it in the immediate moment. It’s all part of the grand design. Whether you believe that or not, relying on your faith can be very powerful in times of great need.
When we want to give up and throw in that proverbial towel, sometimes, all we have to do is lean on our faith. Go to your local church, mosque, or synagogue — wherever it might be that you need to get in touch with your faith, head there right now. Speak to others and gain knowledge from their experience. Rely on your pastor, kohen, imam, or other religious leader for a sense of inspiration.
Things can be difficult at times, but when we hear what others have gone through, and receive some motivational and inspiring words one-on-one, we can renew our push towards our goals. We can see the forest through the tress when others can help to open our eyes to the bigger picture.
Take a moment and reflect on your faith. If you’ve ignored your faith for a long time, now is the time to get back in touch. There’s a reason that we experience hardships. Sometimes, it’s a mere call to get back in touch with our creator. Do whatever you can to reconnect and reignite that flame and watch as your desire to give up dwindles.
#7 — Smile, Be Happy
Sounds silly and trite. All we have to do is smile and be happy and all will be better, won’t it? Well, that’s not the case of course. But, smiling a genuine smile (also known as a Duchenne smile) can make you feel better. A Duchenne smile, which involves contracting the muscles at the corners of your mouth and the muscles around your eyes, scientifically help to make us feel better.
Multiple studies have found that smiling, and doing so for at least 20 minutes in the mirror, can actually cure depression. Take a pencil and hold it in your mouth in your teeth while looking in the mirror for at least 20 minutes. Do this every single day for 90 days. It might seem silly, but it works. Habits form over time (not overnight), and doing something repeatedly helps to etch it into your mind.
Smiling will brighten your mood, elevating your emotions while also helping you physically by releasing certain neurochemicals and endorphins into your mind and body. All it takes is a mere smile, and some of our cares and worries can melt away along with our desire to give up.