People who never give up in life and keep pushing forward usually display these 5 behaviors

Life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.

Occasionally, it’s hurricanes and swarming locusts.

But rather than hide away and wait for the bad times to pass, some people forge through the madness and keep their eye on the prize.

They don’t back down, give up, become complacent.

What is their secret?

People who never give up in life and keep pushing forward usually display these 5 behaviors.

It’s time to stop living in survival mode.

1) They set goals

A common job interview question I used to loathe with all my heart is the dreaded “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I don’t know, Linda, maybe on a beach somewhere, sipping a cocktail, getting a tan, and never worrying about bills.

Certainly not stuck in meetings and struggling to achieve inbox zero.

The more I thought about it, however, the more I understood that I found the question irritating because I wasn’t a big fan of thinking about the future.

I’ve had a life plan ever since I was a kid. Become a journalist.

I crafted a blueprint and followed it to a T. Go to college, get a job in the field, tell stories.

But once I reached my goal and started to work as a journalist, I realized that the gig wasn’t for me. I panicked.

My life plan went out the window, and I’ve been drifting ever since.

Thankfully, I managed to build a rewarding second career as a freelance writer, and I’m loving every minute of it.

But when I think about the future, I still feel lost.

I would love to write a book one day.

Maybe raise chicken?

Find a partner who likes to read and chat and wonder and take long walks and listen to music while staring at the stars.

Trick him into loving both me and the chicken.

My problem is that these goals are vague, uncertain, and distant.

I’m still in the brainstorming phase, so I take things as I go, with no clear objectives.

As a result, when life throws me a curveball, I’m more likely to lie down for a while and lick my wounds than forge ahead.

People who never give up in life and keep pushing forward, on the other hand, have a mission.

They know what they’re trying to accomplish and keep their eye on the prize.

When they face an obstacle, they’re more motivated to dodge it. Their internal GPS recalculates and keeps them heading in the right direction.

If you want to follow in their footsteps, get serious about figuring out where you want to go.

I know I will.

2) They cultivate discipline

Speaking of motivation, I am saddened to report that it will only take you so far:

  • Losing weight requires motivation; keeping it off requires discipline
  • Starting a project requires motivation; finishing it requires discipline
  • Picking up a new habit requires motivation; sticking with it requires discipline

Do you see a pattern?

People who never give up in life and keep pushing forward don’t rely on motivation to get things done.

They build routines and systems that keep them on track when that initial motivation dwindles.

Let’s say you want to get in shape.

For best results, you need to incorporate some form of exercise into your life and watch what you’re eating.

Getting a personal trainer to keep you accountable helps with the first. Meal prepping helps with the second.

As someone who has been on countless diets throughout her lifetime, the first week is tough, but it also might be the easiest.

You’re hyped to get healthier, see your body change, finally have more energy.

When the journey loses its novelty and starts to feel monotonous, though, you’re more likely to get sidetracked.

Relentless people get comfortable *in* the boring.

The key to becoming resilient isn’t to find a life hack no one knows about.

It’s to do the things you already know work over and over again.

3) They reframe

pic2281 People who never give up in life and keep pushing forward usually display these 5 behaviors

Whenever someone tells me that everything happens for a reason, I roll my eyes.

I’m sorry to break it to you, but the universe is chaos.

Not everything happens for a reason, no matter how comforting that idea might be.

Sometimes, bad things happen just because.

Maybe you have bad luck. Or the alien overlords are testing you. Or you did unspeakable things in a past existence.

I don’t know.

But no matter how hard you work and how diligent you are, you might still fail.

It’s unfair, sure. It’s also life.

People who never give up have a knack for reframing situations to focus on the good.

I was laid off from a job I was passionate about last year, and what followed was a few months of financial insecurity and panic.

The company downsized, so it’s not even like I messed up, which made me feel wronged and saddened.

Once I stopped looking at myself as a victim, I decided to see the situation as an opportunity to explore new writing avenues. I expanded my job search.

And guess what?

I eventually found incredibly fulfilling gigs, and I am now even happier than I was in my previous job.

This is an example of reframing, a technique you can apply to redirect your attention away from the negative aspects of a situation and toward its more constructive elements.

Granted, it doesn’t always work.

Losing someone you love. Experiencing trauma. Coping with a serious illness or injury.

These are horrible situations when it’s okay to acknowledge and sit with the pain without searching for positives; mostly because there are none.

For everything else, a mindset shift does wonders.

Give it a go and reap the benefits. 

4) They practice self-compassion

People who never give up in life and keep pushing forward become their own best friends.

They treat themselves with the same kindness, understanding, and support they would offer a loved one.

Instead of beating themselves up when they make a mistake, they take a deep breath and encourage themselves to try again tomorrow.

Being your own worst critic can lead to excellence, but also burnout.

Developing self-compassion, meanwhile, ensures that you don’t forget to take care of yourself as you chase your dreams.

Self-compassion generally entails cutting yourself some slack every now and then:

  • Embrace who you are whole-heartedly, understanding that no one is perfect
  • Acknowledge your shortcomings and struggles and take things easy when the going gets tough
  • Prioritize your physical, emotional, and mental well-being
  • Trust your instincts and have confidence in your abilities to succeed
  • Set boundaries and stand up for yourself when the situation calls for it
  • Ask for help when you get overwhelmed

Once you become your own best friend, that small voice inside your head that insists you’re not good enough grows quiet.

Self-sabotage is so last season, don’t you think?

5) They don’t compare themselves to others

I saw a quote online a while back that stuck with me.

It read something like, “Don’t compare your rough draft to someone’s finished novel.”

Granted, it resonated due to my desire to write that elusive book one day, but also because it can apply to so much more than writing.

We live in the age of social media when it’s easier than ever to fall into the comparison trap.

Everyone seems to be living their best life, one smiling selfie at a time.

Your feed is a curated collection of delicious meals, impeccable outfits, lavish vacations, and important milestones.

Everyone’s relationships look perfect and their jobs look like dreams come true.

If you’re struggling, you instantly feel behind.

But playing the comparison game leads to unrealistic expectations and diminished self-esteem.

Comparisons involve selective perception, where you only see others’ successes.

You’re not privy to their challenges and moments of self-doubt – especially if we’re talking about someone you follow on social media.

Even people in your close circle can embellish and distort reality to put themselves in a better light.

Additionally, measuring yourself against others may cause you to lose sight of your own values and goals.

The only person you should be in competition with is yourself.

Stop focusing your attention on external benchmarks, and measure internal progress instead.

If you take up running, for instance, you wouldn’t compare your initial performance to Usain Bolt’s, right?

Following this logic, why would you compare your life journey to someone else’s?

People who never give up in life and keep pushing forward aren’t trying to outdo their peers.

They’re simply trying to get a bit further on their path today than they did yesterday.

Everything else is just noise.

Bottom line

Persevering through challenges is never a walk in the park, but it becomes easier when you adhere to the behaviors above.

Remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Abandoning the race at the first obstacle leaves you on the sidelines, struggling to get back into the game.

Learning to move forward despite adversity?

It’s the only way to fulfill your potential. 

Picture of Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Pleșa is a freelance writer obsessed with television, self-development, and thriller books. Former journalist, current pop culture junkie. Follow her on Twitter: @alexandraplesa

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