I sometimes wonder how many unfinished novels I have in me?, how many gym memberships I have taken out and only gone once or twice? The number of instruments I have picked up and never learnt to play? In my mind, the most successful people have an uncanny ability to keep going when everyone else (including me) would quit. Then one day I realised something. Your success is tied your ability to keep working after you have the urge to quit. Quitting can be an unhelpful habit (except if you are giving up smoking, when the opposite is true – you need to keep quitting even when you want to start again!), and it’s often learned at a young age. Learning how to continue making progress no matter how strong the urge to quit grows is a key strength in achieving your goals.
The first thing to do is consider the reasons you feel like quitting in the first place. Some of the following can impact on this:
- You lack energy. A lack of energy isn’t just a reason one might quit a marathon. It’s also a common reason for quitting other pursuits. Exhaustion can be physical or mental. To help counteract your exhaustion:
- Get a full night of sleep.
- Get better control over your schedule.
- Streamline your life.
- Eat more nutritious foods (I keep saying it, and it is something I struggle with myself, but you do feel better for it in the long run!)
- Learn how to relax.
- You lack focus. Too many distractions can result in the desire to quit. Are you trying to accomplish too many other things? Are you on Facebook or playing Candy Crush instead of working towards your goal (if your goal is to beat Candy Crush, this might not apply!)
Some people can deal with more goals than others. If you feel overwhelmed, narrow your focus to your most important goals. I have written more on this previously, but it’s worthwhile reiterating. Any great journey begins with one small step!
- It’s not that important to you. Do you have a good enough reason to keep going? Why are you doing this activity in the first place?
- Remind yourself of why it’s important to keep going. Maybe the best motivation you can find is setting a good example for your children. Maybe the most important issue is self-respect. Find a good reason to continue.
Understand the reasons you feel the desire to quit. It’s natural to want to quit. And most people do. Will you be one of the few that’s able to persevere? It’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other until you’re finished.
Persevere when you want to quit:
- Revisit your original purpose. This goes back to the importance of your why. Is that why motivation enough? If it’s not, you’ll need to find a new reason. If you can’t think of one, that might be a sign that you should be doing something else. But don’t give up too quickly. Look deeply. You’ll almost certainly find a compelling reason to continue. Remember if it’s important to you, you will find a way. Otherwise you will find an excuse.
- Create small successes. Nothing is more motivating than success. Set yourself up for regular success by setting easy goals that move you forward. These baby steps can result in the momentum you need to carry you to the finish line. Just focus on the immediate task and forget about the rest.
- Focus on the endpoint. The path might not be enjoyable, but the end result should be. Keep your eye on how great you’ll feel when you’ve reached the end. By focusing on the endpoint, you can maintain your motivation more easily. Visualise your ideal endpoint twice each day.
- Stay on schedule. Once your motivation begins to wane, it’s easy to lose track of your goal. Other activities seem to take over your schedule and it becomes easier to procrastinate. So, make a schedule that will ensure you stay engaged. Make time so you don’t have an excuse to quit.
- Ask yourself how you’ll feel if you allow yourself to quit. Quitting sounds good in the short-term, but we usually regret it later on. How will you feel in a week, month, or year from today if you let yourself quit? What will your future self-thank you for?
Learn to keep going, no matter how strong the desire to quit grows. This is the best indicator of your ability to be successful. You will eventually succeed if you can continue moving toward your goal. You don’t have to quit just because you feel the urge to stop.
Until next time…