5 Things to do when you feel like giving up
Hi folks! I'm trying out a new feature on the blog, something I've decided to call "blogcasts"! Now, you can choose whether to read the post, or whether to listen to the audio version through the nifty SoundCloud app below. What do you think of this feature? Let me know :)In the moment, it can feel like you're the only one, but we've all been in some kind of situation that's left us feeling drained, exasperated, hopeless and ready to give up.[Tweet "Just because you feel like giving up doesn't mean it's in your best interests to do so. "]Self-kindness involves doing things that feel uncomfortable in the short-term to reap benefits in the long-term, so it's important to be able to differentiate between the times when it might be in our best interests to give up and times when it might be in our best interests to face this feeling head on.Here are five things you can do when you feel like giving up:
1. Give yourself permission to start small and do the minimum
One of the feelings underlying an urge to give up can be overwhelm. This is likely to come up around big projects, long-term visions, and activities where there is little visible short-term gain. We might also feel fear. We're all familiar with the concept of fear of failure, but fear of success is just as tangible for most of us. This fear can manifest in the form of procrastination and resistance, which fuels our overwhelm and consequently our desire to give up and move on.If you're feeling overwhelmed by a project or goal, give yourself permission to do just 10 minutes of that project or goal each day. Once you take the pressure off, over time you'll find that you start wanting to do more than 10 minutes and the desire to give up will dissipate.
2. Reconnect with your "why"
Whatever it is we start, we do so with a reason. Broadly speaking, our reasons can be divided into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic reasons focus on our sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfilment in the world. Extrinsic reasons focus on external validation and how we appear to those around us.Needless to say, you're a lot more likely to run into challenges and roadblocks if you're extrinsically motivated, but even if you know your "why" is 100% to do with your own internal motivations, you'll still experience ups, downs, and hiccups along your path.When you notice that you're in the middle of one of these hiccups—and feel like giving up as a result—return to your key reasons for starting. What was it that sparked your passion in the first place? How did you envision your life being different when you had completed this particular project or goal? How does it align with your values and sense of purpose? Taking time to answer these questions will help you reconnect with the project as a whole, rather than the part you're stuck on right now.
3. Connect with a cheerleader
For any endeavour that takes us out of our comfort zone, we are more likely to succeed if we recruit one or more cheerleaders. Cheerleaders are people in our lives who will give us a healthy dose of objective positivity when the chips are down. I write about cheerleaders more in my free ebook "The 5 Most Common Blocks to Authenticity and How to Overcome Them", which you can get in the Becoming Who You Are Library.When we're in the middle of a situation, it's difficult to extract ourselves enough to view the situation objectively. Cheerleaders can help bring you back to reality so you can see the bigger picture, rather than just the gloomy parts.
4. Stop making it about you
Many times I feel like giving up on something, it's because my ego takes over. I've worried that my writing isn't good enough, I've almost not run courses because I've felt embarrassed by the idea that no one might sign up, and I've talked myself out of uncomfortable projects (that is, projects that take me outside my comfort zone) because I'm worried I'll look silly or people will judge me.The instant cure in all these situations was to take my head out of my own ass, if you'll pardon the expression. As soon as I stopped focusing on myself, and started looking at the bigger picture, the desire to give up faded. When we shift the focus from ourselves to thinking about how many people our project might help, entertain, and advise, suddenly it doesn't matter if no one shows up, or if we don't execute perfectly. What matters is paying attention to the possibilities, and honouring the fact that we have an opportunity to contribute to the world.
5. Give up
In many ways, giving up is highly underrated, which is why I want to include it here on this list of five things to do when you feel like giving up. I wrote more about the power of giving up way back when in 2012. In summary, we feel the way we feel for a reason, and sometimes the desire to give up is our authentic selves telling us what we need to hear.What are your go-to responses when you feel like giving up? Leave a comment and let me know.Image credit: Wilson Lau