We all have ties in our lives where we no longer feel like we have the strength or the energy to keep going. The urge to give up can sometimes be really strong. But if you’ve invested time and energy into something, it can be like kissing a dream goodbye if you give up. It doesn’t matter if you want to start a company, run a marathon or finish that course. You’ll go through a cycle, excitement, joy, fear, creativity and slowly will creep in doubt, upset, discouragements and the sincere desire to pack it all in and just quit.
As humans by default, we like things quick and easy. The pleasure principle says we want instant gratification, and in this modern world, there is less and less that we really need to work to earn. Our brains being wired this was is not our fault, it was the way he has survived for millions of years, so feeling like you want to give up is entirely reasonable.
But the truth is, anything worth having is worth working for. So here are a few things to bear in mind when you have decided that you want to give up.
Think back to why you started. Remember the moment you first decided to take on the task. Think about the excitement, the joy and the vision you were having on how it would change your life taking that MBA from Aston for Canadians online. It was thrilling planning all of the things you could learn and read. Think about the moment you realized how much you loved to draw and wanted to sell that talent. Cast your mind back to those glimmers of excitement you had for the task. The sense of purpose. The start of anything is usually straightforward, the finishing is harder. Don’t give up!
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Try and visualize you finishing the task. Picture yourself getting a certificate, or walking across a stage, or handing in your notice at work (because you make a full-time wage with your new business). Whatever it is sit down and think about what you are going to get in the end. There are a lot of positive feelings you get to experience simply by looking to the future and seeing it. Do you want the thrill of victory or the sour taste of giving up? Keep going.
Seek support. When you feel like quitting you should reach out to your support network and tell them how you are feeling. The chances are you have someone who can snap you out of feeling this way. A natural pep talking buddy to get you through the moments of self-doubt is going to be what you need. If you don’t feel like you can talk to anyone you know in person, then maybe you can find some online forums where people are undertaking the same task. They are likely to be experiencing similar feelings. You will see that the positive influences of others who are going through the same will strengthen your resolve to complete the task. Getting rid of what is weighing you down. Don’t stop.
Set smaller goals as you go. Remember what was said about instant gratification, well mildly delayed gratification is also great to us. If you take some time to set out some smaller goals that you will be reaching as you work towards the overall goal, you will get smaller victories too. Celebrating progress as you will give you a boost of happiness and excitement. That excitement will build and build until you get to the big goal. It will be worth it in the end.
Don’t dismiss those inspirational quotes you see everywhere at the moment. They might feel cliche and not at all something you would normally turn to, but you should really start paying attention. When we read something uplifting, if it hits a nerve with us, then we tend to take it onboard. If you know there are some quotes that mean something to you, then you should get the printed and hang them around the place that you do the most work. Slip them into the pages of your workbooks or reading materials. Stick them to the mirror in the bathroom. You could even download an mp3 and listen to it each evening on your phone while you drift off to sleep. You can do it.
Google people who are undertaking the same thing that you are. It is a bit of a linear move from the last point really, but seek out people that have been successful in the situation that you are currently doing. The chances are they will have talked about it in articles or maybe in some video clips. Looking at people that inspire us can help us really focus on what we want. Check out some TED talks on creativity and inspiration and see what discoveries can be made there.
Have a backup plan. When you are buying a house, you will view a few – one will be the dream, but there will always be a house that has everything that you want and is number two. You love them both, but you will need to have that second (and maybe even third house) as a backup. Having a backup doesn’t mean that number 1 will fall through, or that you will give up. Having a backup means you have something else to aim for if you fall slightly off track. An alternative plan can be the safety net you need when the going gets tough. Stay the course.
Be honest. Do you want to give up because it is too complicated? It takes up too much time? You don’t like it the way you thought you would? When talking about the reasons you don’t want to continue anymore, now isn’t the time to use a cover story. Now is the time to face up to it. And, for every reason you find to quit, then you can find a reason not to.