Life’s twists and turns can knock us down badly. And more often than not, it’s easier to just give up.
It can feel like no matter how much effort you put into your goals, you’re still not where you want to be. You’ll have moments where you doubt your ability to achieve anything at all.
Don’t quit just yet! It’s natural to grow disheartened after every setback — but it’s all part of your journey toward personal growth.
Here are some ways to help you stay motivated and persevere no matter what life throws at you.
1) Always go back to your WHY
If you don’t have a strong enough reason to do something, then it will certainly be hard — and even impossible — to get it done.
Be crystal clear about your “why.” Your motivation will come from doing things you deeply care about.
Figure out a compelling purpose. Ask yourself, does it make me happy? Why did I choose this path? How do I want to make an impact on others?
Whatever goal you want to achieve — whether that be to boost your health and fitness, to save money, to start a business, or more — it’s always good to reflect on your why.
Take a moment to create a list of strong reasons that will motivate you to stay on course even when it gets tough.
For example, whenever I feel challenged to meet a deadline at work, I remind myself why I’m doing this in the first place: to help people make sense of their world and their lives and to make a living as a writer.
This gets me back on track when I feel the urge to give up.
2) Don’t be afraid to change your HOW
Have fun and get creative about how you approach a task or project. Who knows, you might even form new habits.
If you feel like you keep doing the same thing over and over and it isn’t working, try a different approach. Explore a new method or technique that will give you a new perspective, energy, and excitement.
I find that starting slow and small works for me most of the time. I like to break down a big task into smaller, simpler steps — and then focus on that first small step.
For example, I tried squeezing a 30-minute workout into my daily routine. After seven days, I felt really exhausted and not up to the task anymore.
So, I changed my strategy. I committed to working out three times a week. Soon, those three days became a habit and I felt that I was off to a good start.
Some people prefer to do the toughest task first to boost self-confidence, while others like to jump at full speed and race against the clock.
How about listening to an upbeat song? Many studies have shown that listening to music can boost motivation and help us get through the most tedious of tasks.
When you feel like giving up, think of different ways to get something done. Brainstorm ideas and try them. You may be surprised to discover just how creative you can be.
3) Define your goals and connect them to your values
Having a clear vision and specific goals will take you from planning to doing. When your vision speaks to your heart, it will help you to stay on track and persevere during the most challenging times.
Have a mental map of what you want to accomplish and how you can get there. Set small, realistic goals — short-term and long-term — and align them with your vision.
Write them down or print them then put them on your wall, desktop, or mirror. These reminders will motivate you to keep your eyes on the prize.
One of the best ways to master motivation is to connect the work you do to your values. But how do you know which values matter most to you?
That’s where this free checklist from Life Journal steps in. With this easy exercise, I was able to learn more about myself and the principles that guide me through life.
Now I know that empathy, growth, and love of learning are among my core values. That’s why in any given situation, I find ways to hone my skills and help others.
For example, I don’t write just for the sake of it. I learn something new and figure out ways to connect with my readers. I don’t just get something done. I master my craft.
Go give it a try. Identifying your core values will help you deal with difficulties, make better choices, and find a way forward.
4) Embrace the struggle
Yes, the struggle can get very frustrating and overwhelming. Whenever you feel like quitting, remember that you are not alone.
At one point or another, each of us will have to face challenges and problems that may seem impossible to overcome.
The key is to take heart and take comfort in the fact that not only will you go through it, but you will also grow from it.
That’s because going through hard times builds your character. Regardless of the results, you will come out of it stronger and wiser.
It’s hard to be positive all the time, but train your mind to let go of negative thoughts before they have a chance to control you.
When I face a setback, I try my best to accept what happened and not make excuses. I try to analyze but I do not waste too much time rationalizing what went wrong.
Instead, I muster the courage to begin again.
Just because you haven’t seen the results doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Keep pushing on, you may be closer to achieving your goal than you think.
5) Celebrate the small wins
Thinking about how far you’ve come in your journey will make everything worth it.
Don’t get too fixated on the outcome — on success or failure — that you fail to reflect on and appreciate your little victories along the way.
Did you know that rewards can be an effective motivation strategy?
Research suggests that people who receive immediate, frequent rewards for completing small tasks increase their interest and enjoyment in their task, and are more motivated to pursue the activity even after the reward was removed.
So give yourself a pat on the back and take a moment to celebrate all your small milestones.
I keep a journal and write down my successes, however small. That way, I focus on the positive and relive the little moments that make me feel happy and proud.
6) Find your heroes and mentors
We all have heroes — the people who we look up to for inspiration and strength. Is there a family member, co-worker, friend, entrepreneur, politician, or teacher you admire?
Learn more about them and their stories of resilience and hope. Find out how they faced incredible odds and managed to persevere and succeed. And then apply their lessons to your own life.
Remember that you can be your own hero. If they found the resolve to keep going, so can you.
7) Surround yourself with positive people
You will inevitably feel anxious about the steps that you need to take to get closer to your goals. Whenever you’re struggling to motivate yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Reach out to a trusted confidant and open up about your feelings of doubt, fear, and frustration. Build and cultivate a strong network of supporters, which can include your family, friends, colleagues, and mentors.
It helps to have someone who will listen to you, provide constructive criticism, and boost your confidence in yourself and your ability to turn your goals into reality.
This team will encourage you, check up on you and your progress, and be with you through all the highs and lows. Chances are, they have gone through a similar dilemma and understand what you’re going through.
Connect with people who will want to see you succeed and inspire you to become a better person.
8) Look to the future with hope
Creating a mental picture of yourself at the finish line will keep you moving forward. Visualization is a powerful technique that can help you to focus and power through even the worst of tasks.
Imagine how it would feel to finally achieve something big.
Whenever you feel like giving up, ask yourself: how will my life look like if I don’t stay motivated? Do I want the excitement and fulfillment of victory or the agony of defeat?
Commit to the long-term game and aim for small yet significant progress every day. Make each day count and your hard work will pay off in the long run.
9) Have an attitude of gratitude
Being thankful for the here and now is a simple yet effective practice that will make you feel good about yourself.
When you find yourself stuck in a rut, pause and think about the things that you are grateful for.
It’s much easier to find everyday motivation when you feel appreciation for yourself and the things around you — from the mundane and the ordinary to the big and impactful moments.
To practice gratitude, I write down three things I’m thankful for every day. I find that this exercise helps me to shift my focus to the positive.
It enables me to gain a new perspective on a challenge. Sooner than later, the tasks that seem overwhelming take on a new light.
10) Stop comparing yourself to others
Envy can kill your joy and motivation, and it can also discourage you from reaching your true potential.
The sooner you accept the fact that there will always be people who are ahead of you, the better.
The only person you should be comparing yourself to is you. Focus on your journey and your results. Take charge of your own pace and timeline.
Seeing how much you’ve improved and how far you’ve come goes a long way to building your confidence and motivation.
11) Be patient with yourself
This is also another way of saying be kind to yourself. I cannot overemphasize how self-compassion can help you find your path toward recovering from a devastating setback.
Inner dialogue has power. What you say to yourself amid challenges can spell the difference between walking away or moving forward.
Over time, I’ve learned that negative self-talk won’t get you anywhere. It will only make you feel sorry for yourself and doubt your capabilities.
Set yourself up for success through self-affirming statements that uplift you and help you achieve your best.
Repeat after me: “I am unique, I have something special to offer the world, and I can rise to the challenge and succeed.”
Remember that all good things take time. No one achieves their goals overnight. Don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake and don’t give up when you face disappointments.
Believe that you can. It will help you make the right choices and figure out the best way to proceed.
12) Have a growth mindset
When you find yourself failing over and over again, you might fall into the trap of thinking that you will fail in everything. Worse, you may even use failure as an excuse to quit.
The concept of failing forward can help you bounce back after any setback and allow you to enjoy the process of working towards your goals.
It’s the conviction that you can learn from your mistakes and emerge stronger and better than ever.
Failures can be tough to swallow, but it’s a reality that we can’t avoid. Instead of fearing failure, reframe your thoughts and view your mistakes via a learning lens.
This way, you can use failure as a stepping stone to improvement.
With a growth mindset, you can transform even the most upsetting failure into opportunities for success.
Staying motivated is no easy feat, and somewhere along the way, you’ll feel the urge to give up. At the end of the day, it all boils down to your choices.
Remember, motivation starts within. Dig deep and connect with your inner power.
Listen to that voice that says “You can do this. You can persevere, grow, and achieve whatever you set your mind and heart to.”
Harnessing this power within is incredibly empowering — it will give you the drive you need to reach the finish line no matter the obstacles you face.