Sometimes, when things get tough within our journey, it feels like every force within our body and mind prevents us from moving forward. Sometimes this feeling stays for several hours, and sometimes, it remains for weeks. And sometimes, this adverse force gets so intense that it eventually makes us quit our path. The question on everyone’s mind is: How to not quit when things get tough.
Personally, I have been on many paths that could eventually make me “successful” however, I’ve withdrawn from many of these paths because either I lost focus, or I lost hope, or something catchier came in my way. After a while of switching paths, an unsatisfying hollow feeling takes over that feels like you’ve done a lot but achieved nothing. This feeling is not pleasant at all! So, I’ve been studying and practicing methods to keep myself in my path to success for several years. It was clear that I needed to focus on one thing and one thing only to be successful. The alternative path was to become a master of none.
In this article, I will explain some of my findings and techniques of how to not quit when things get tough for those of you that feel or felt the same as I did. To get started, let’s state the obvious: Why do we quit?
Why Do We Quit?
If you look back in your life and quit something, you can recognize similar patterns. Patterns like:
- You quit because the task was too difficult
- You quit because doing the task didn’t feel right
- You quit because something else catchier grabbed your attention
- You quit because other people pushed you to
- You quit because you needed to pay attention to more critical parts of your life
- You quit because you lost hope
The list above can quite easily continue forever since every one of us had different reasons why we quit. However, if you pay careful attention to the causes and observe them deeply, they all have one thing in common: We don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel! We quit because we lose hope. Meaning we don’t believe that we can achieve our goal. Or even more profound than that, we think that we’re not capable of achieving the goal. The intensity of the reasons depends on where you are on the consciousness levels spectrum.
On the other hand, quitting means replacing the constructive act that does not give us results with another quicker result-responding timeframe.
Here are some examples of digesting what’s been said above:
We quit working out (the tunnel) because we don’t see any results (the light). We either get frustrated and quit, or we slowly stop showing up and find another activity to do, like playing video games (replacement).
We quit eating healthy (the tunnel) because we don’t feel any more nutritious or fitter (the light), and we slowly cheat our way out of it to junk foods (replacement).
We quit waking up early in the morning, aka sleeping early (tunnel), because we don’t see any results (the light). We instead sleep late watching TV (replacement)
So, what’s expected in all of the points above is that we don’t see any results. We gradually and shamefully stop the constructive activity because we don’t see any immediate results and replace them with activities to see immediate results. This is quitting.
Now let’s talk about some of the things we improve about ourselves to help us here.
How to Not Quit When Things Get Tough
1. Switching from Goal-Based Mentality to Identity-Based Mentality
By reviewing our past experiences with quitting, we can see a typical pattern: Not reaching our goals. What if I told you that it’s not you that doesn’t get your goals, it’s the goal-based mentality that is causing the issue.
For example, if you want to get to your “beach-body” ready for summer and this is your goal, unconsciously, your brain expects you to get your beach-body within a month. Since you are working out really hard initially, your brain is expecting a significant result in return. And when your brain is not given the significant results, it slowly moves your attention somewhere else.
A way to correct this is to switch from goal-based mentality to identity-based mentality (Related: Goal Obsession: How We Are Blinded by Our Goals and Missing Out a Lot). Instead of trying to reach a measurable goal, plan to become a new unmeasurable identity. For example, instead of getting your “summer beach-body,” plan to become an athlete who enjoys working out. And guess what? From the first day that you start working out, you are achieving your plan! Here are more examples:
- Instead of eating healthy to lose weight (measurable goal), become a person who cares about their body (unmeasurable identity)
- Instead of looking for changes in your life by waking up early (measurable goal), become a person who enjoys listening to their body clock and sleep naturally body (unmeasurable identity)
When you’re tackling the question of “how to not quit when things get tough?” you should place your belief into a new identity. This belief also aligns your subconscious towards this new identity. Therefore, it becomes much more comfortable, almost effortless, to stay on your path to success.
2. Find Your Larger Purpose in Life
What’s missing in most of us is owning a larger meaningful purpose in life. Most of us are either thinking too small (I just want to buy my own house) or our purpose is not meaningful (I want to get rich and be part of the “flexing culture”). The meaningful purpose is what drives our life. The meaningful purpose is what drives our yearly, monthly, daily, and hourly goals. The meaningful purpose is what keeps us on the path. (Recommended Book: The ONE Thing by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan)
Sadly, when we grow up in this society and educational system, we are never taught how to create long-term, meaningful life purposes. We were never taught how to not quit when things get tough. We were taught to work hard and forcefully get to our meaningless immediate goals.
How can we correct this internal dilemma? If you don’t already have a large, meaningful purpose, then here is what you need to do (use also the table above):
- Tonight, before going to bed, wipe clean every plan or purpose you had in life (don’t worry, you won’t be lost), write down 25 life goals (whatever that comes to your mind, including your previous wiped goals)
- Go through them and pick 5 goals and sleep. Wake up in the morning and look at your list 5.
- Challenge the 5 goals with these questions: Does this goal align with my skillset? Can I do it? Does this goal align with my hobbies? Do I enjoy doing it? Does this goal help other people? Does it have benefits for the human collective?
- Once your done challenging your goals, listen to your heart and pick 1 and only 1!
- Now switch the goal into an identity. For example: I want to have my own fashion brand –> I want to be a fashion brand owner. OR I want to open my own restaurant –> I want to be a restaurant owner. OR I want to have my own YouTube channel –> I want to be a successful YouTuber
- Now magnify the goals to the point that it feels impossible to achieve. Also, be as detailed as possible. For example: I want to be the biggest fashion brand owner in Europe, owning 50 shops. OR I want to be the biggest chain restaurant owner in Italy, serving 1,000 customers/day. OR I want to be a successful YouTuber with 5 million subscribers.
- Finally, turn your goal from future-based to present-based: I am the biggest fashion brand owner in Europe, owning 50 shops. OR I am the biggest chain restaurant owner in Italy, serving 1,000 customers/day. OR I am a successful YouTuber with 5 million subscribers.
It might take some time to inherit the identity, so read that to yourself every day until you’re comfortable with it. Once you’ve locked the identity and purpose, plan, and pick your every day’s activity that matches your identity. DO NOT DO ANYTHING THAT DOESN’T MATCH YOUR IDENTITY!
You might object to the above by saying, but Hess, I have a daily job and a family to take care of, etc. Ask yourself, does my job suit my identity and purpose? Is my family supportive of my new identity and purpose? Be brave because fear is what keeps 85% of us away from growing. If your job is not matching your purpose, quit! If your family is not supportive, talk to them, make them understand how much your goals mean to you. Adjust your environment to your purpose rather than your purpose to your environment. Do that and you will get one step closer to answer the question how to not quit when things get rough!
3. Remind Yourself that You’re on the Right Path
When we ask ourselves, how to not quit when things get tough, we understand that sometimes results don’t come easy. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we will see results very soon, and once we don’t, we get incredibly disappointed and want to quit. I have a remedy for that!
Instead of waiting for results, take a short and simple pause every day and remind yourself that you’re on the right path to your life purpose and that you’re making the right move since you are your identity. Scientifically, by reminding yourself that you’re on the right path, you release dopamine in your system, making you feel rewarded. The opposite happens when you impatiently wait for the results to come your way. You feel disappointed. For example:
- If you’re working out in the gym, pause and remind yourself, I’m on the right path to staying fit and healthy. This is the right path because I need to be healthy to design better apparel as a successful fashion brand owner.
- If you’re eating healthy, pause and remind yourself, I’m on the right path to take care of my body and health. This is the right path because as the biggest chain restaurant owner in Europe, I need to eat healthy myself!
- If you’re waking up early, pause, and remind yourself, I’m on the right path to staying creative and productive. This is the right path because of a successful YouTuber, I need to be creative.
If you notice, not only do you remind yourself that you are on the right path, you’re also reminding yourself that everything I’m doing in life, even if they don’t look related, they’re moving me to my ultimate purpose in life.
4. Take Small but Consistent Steps
If you remember from our previous sections, we quit when things get too difficult, and we feel that we’re not capable of doing them. We were all taught from childhood that we need to work hard and work overtime to achieve our goals. However, we were never taught not to burn ourselves out! When we are motivated to achieve something, we work hard for a short period, and without any early results, our brain punishes us and forces us to stop. There is a way to solve this. There is a way how to not quit when things get tough.
We need to learn to make small moves on a daily basis. You need to intentionally keep your movements short but make sure that it happens every day (or every working day) (Related: Inverse-Weekend Technique: Boost Your Creativity, Drive & Good Habits When Starting a New Week)
Here is what you can do:
- Review your days accurately and understand what you do daily.
- Try to push your current morning tasks 1 hour forward. For example, move your 8 AM tasks to 9 AM.
- Allocate that extra hour doing what you want to achieve that directly align with your life purpose.
- Wait 2 weeks and push your morning tasks 1 hour forward again. For example, move your 9 AM tasks to 10 AM.
- Extend your 1 hour to 2 hours and do a more life-purpose-related task
- Repeat this every 2 weeks until you get at least 4 hours in your morning.
You need to make sure when doing the above that when your “life-purpose-related” hours are over, you need to put aside all tasks and move on with your day. This will help you to keep a balance in your life and also make you miss your life-purpose-related functions on the next day.
My Last Words
Lots of things have been said. The suggestions in this article are massive life changes and might take you 6 months to a year to master. However, what’s the point of coming to this life if we don’t fulfill our purpose and leap a level higher within the consciousness level. Think about it but don’t create fear. Fear, in fact, is the main reason why people fail in life. Instead, build courage and willingness to make a difference in your life and the lives of others.
Everything starts with awareness. Be aware of the changes happening in your body and mind. Record them, analyze them, and get to know better yourself. Once you are comfortable with your internal changes, then practice working within your own version of systems. Always move forward with courage and love what you do. This is how to not quit when things get rough!