The old saying goes “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” But what exactly do you need to do to “get going”? How are you supposed to push on through the obstacles when every ounce of your being wants to just throw in the towel?
That’s exactly what this post is all about. Here are several strategies on how to not give up on your dreams even when everything seems to be going wrong. Whether in business or life, working to achieve your goals is always a fight worth fighting.
See Failures as Transformative
Giving up is a mindset problem, so first and foremost it requires a mindset solution.
A lot of us have been trained our entire lives to see failure as a dead end in life. If you fail your math class, you end up a year behind your peers. If you mess up your credit score, it could haunt you for life. And so on.
But on the path to achieving your dreams, you need to flip that mental narrative and actually see failure as a transformative opportunity.
It starts by accepting the inevitability of failure. It will happen. Then, when you do fail, you need to tell yourself how it’s going to make you better (maybe over and over again, screaming in a mirror):
- Losing a big client might be an opportunity to diversify your customer pool.
- A bad review is your chance to correct a weakness in communication or delivery.
- An unprofitable month is your chance to double down on your marketing efforts and find new services to offer.
Revisit Your “Big Why”
Your “why” is the thing that motivates you to succeed.
Ask yourself: Do I know what my why is? Is it BIG enough?
When the going gets tough, a weak or insignificant why makes it far too easy to quit. If you start a business simply to earn money, that goal might not be enough to keep you going day in and day out. But if you are trying to change the world, or build a better life for yourself and your family, or win the freedom to retire early…
Now you’ve got a big why.
Create Your Jedi Council
And now, from out of left field, a Star Wars reference.
Steve Kamb, entrepreneur and founder of Nerd Fitness, advises his followers to create their own Jedi Council to support them on their journey to success. By this, he means finding people who are wise and powerful in the same ways that you want to be. They are bloggers, celebrities, YouTube personalities, and even friends who have already achieved the goals that you are working towards.
There is a lot of noise in the world, and if you try to listen to all of it, you’ll effectively listen to none of it. Instead, create a small list of voices of reason that you trust to inform and inspire you. Your Jedi Council.
Turn to them often and follow in their footsteps. Learn from their mistakes and build on their successes.
Silence Negative Voices
Here is something that is just as important as your Jedi Council when it comes to learning how to not give up on your dreams. Silencing the negativity in your life.
We can classify negative voices into two groups: active and passive.
The active negative voices are the direct nay-sayers. These are the people who are pretty outspoken about their desire to see you fail. They ask questions like “When are you going to get a real job?” or “Wouldn’t that money be better invested in a college degree?”.
The passive negative voices are the ones who are more just of a distraction from your success. They tempt you to party on the weekends or spend hours playing Call of Duty late into the night instead of working on your dreams. It’s not that they want to see you fail, but more like they don’t encourage your success.
Both types of negativity need to be silenced. As much as possible, cull the active negative voices from your life. If you can get them to silence themselves, that could work. But don’t be afraid to cut ties if they are holding you back from your dreams
For the passively negative, it’s mostly about limiting your exposure to them. They may be good friends or beloved family. But if you surround yourselves with them all the time, you risk becoming like them.
Make Success Your Daily Habit
If you have to decide every day whether or not to keep going, then that means sometimes you’ll say “yes” and other times you’ll say “no”.
But if you make success your daily habit, like brushing your teeth, then it’s going to become an inborn part of your very nature. Rather then spending your willpower every single day just to keep pushing towards your dreams, you’ll naturally just fall in step. When things do get tough, then you’ll have the discipline to push through the challenges and stay on track.
Here are some examples of daily habits that will help you build a life around success:
- Waking up 15 minutes early for meditation or quiet reflection.
- Clearing your inbox every morning after breakfast.
- Setting your schedule for the next day every evening before winding down for bed.
Earn a Small Win
Finally, if you are tempted to throw in the towel right now and need to know how to not give up on your dreams, do whatever you can to earn a small win as quickly as possible.
Do something, anything, that gives you a taste of success.
- Spend 20 minutes powering through your inbox.
- Brainstorm a plan for moving forward on some little piece of your goals.
- Write in a gratitude journal about three things you are thankful for today.
- Overcome your anxiety and ask for help from a mentor about a roadblock that’s standing in your way.
- Make a list of every success you’ve achieved since you began your journey.
Any small win like this will give you a little dose of motivation. Use that energy to stare your temptation in the face and tell it “Today, I am NOT giving up!”