How to Not Give Up Too Soon
Do you have regrets about things that you have quit in the past? It’s really common to quit or give up on something that is important to you. I used to do that all the time. My life changed dramatically when I learned how to not give up too soon.
A couple of weeks ago, I started a hike that was going 4 miles up a mountain and then 4 miles back down the mountain. It was a beautiful day, I felt great, and my pack wasn’t too heavy.
About ten minutes into my hike, I wanted to quit. I was breathing too hard, my legs hurt, and well, it was going to be like this for another 3.9 miles and about two more hours.
I really wanted to quit.
However, I didn’t. Because I’ve learned that if I can push through this initial discomfort, whether it’s hiking, riding a bike, or even writing a blog post, I can see things through to the end.
It wasn’t always like this for me. I used to quit things when they got uncomfortable. I used to think if it was uncomfortable in the beginning it would be like that the entire way or perhaps even get worse.
In the last few years, I’ve learned the opposite. I’ve learned that by pushing through that initial, early-on discomfort, I can complete and accomplish more than I’ve ever been capable of before.
However, it takes more than getting through those first few minutes—it takes strategy to get through an entire project or venture. Heck, you might need help up until the very end! I know sometimes I do. So, I share these tips to help you from start to finish with whatever it is that you are going to NOT quit this time.
How to Not Give Up Too Soon
The following tips and strategies will help you through any process or endeavor. I believe with my whole heart that learning to complete things is essential to a good life. If your problem is not knowing what to start in the first place here are a couple of posts to check out: Finding Your Path and Ten Steps to Create a Life You Love.
Have the End in Mind and Believe you Can Do it
Your end goal is something worth achieving! I’m telling you, when I got up to Observation Point, I was glad I had kept on hiking. When I graduated from college, I was thrilled that I had seen that through. Even if the end seems really far away, take some time to see it and feel it in your mind.
Imagine how it will feel to finally reach that place. Let yourself really feel it. And then tell yourself, “I’ve got this!”
At the beginning a new venture can feel overwhelming. Yet, I’m going to share some things that really help me get things done. Whether it’s a physical challenge (I’m not a natural athlete) or a creative or business project, learning to not quit will change your life. After you get through a couple of things you weren’t sure were possible—it will be much easier to keep the end in mind and believe that you can get there.
Slow Down and Be Okay with It
In this fast-paced world, going slow is seen as inferior or down-right lazy. Years ago, I trained as a travel agent. I was slow and got assigned to the lowest level of travel agents, where they still expected me to go really fast.
This was not one of my better careers!
I’ll share one of the things that has really helped me lately. Slow down. Not just slow down but be okay with going slower.
As a blogger, I am surrounded in all my social media groups with people wanting to go faster and faster. Being a blogger can be exhausting as it is without having to achieve certain goals in a certain amount of time.
On my most recent big hike, as on all my hikes, I went slow. People half my age were sprinting up the mountain. But I was determined to make it to the top and I just couldn’t go fast, and I really couldn’t see the point. I might not have been going fast—but I guarantee that I saw more of the views.
My natural speed seems to be glacier-slow. And now that I realize that, I can work to finish things without letting an artificial idea about how long it should take bother me. Not quitting is more important than how fast I do something!
On my very first big hike in Colorado, I went slow because, one, I didn’t know if I could actually do the hike like I had begun. The other reason I went slow was because I wasn’t sure how the high altitude would affect me. By going slower, I did complete a seven-mile, up-hill hike, carrying a full pack.
There were lots of younger people passing me by. But you know what? I had a goal to finish. I was in it to win it and that’s what I kept telling myself. “I’m in it to win it.”
While I wasn’t fast, I did complete my hike and I learned that what could have been impossible at a faster pace was totally doable at a somewhat slower pace.
Going slower turned something that was potentially impossible for me into something that I could do. And in the doing, I felt so proud of myself. Plus, it was super cool to get to the top and see these things that most people never get to see because they don’t even try.
Discomfort versus Pain
I was the queen of being comfortable. In every area of my life, I was searching for comfort: clothing, bedding, shoes, chairs, temperature,
While it sure feels good to jump into a comfy bed at night, my obsession with comfort lead me to no be able to tolerate much discomfort.
My fiancée was the one who introduced the idea of discomfort versus pain. Learning to ride a bike longer and longer distances was definitely not comfortable. Sometimes I hated the feelings I was having. Then one day, he told me, that cycling was all about learning to manage discomfort. Not pain, discomfort.
Now, when I’m doing something hard, I check in with myself to discern whether I feel pain or discomfort. Usually it is discomfort and I can adjust something to feel a little better or keep going knowing that I am not injuring myself, it’s just a little uncomfortable.
Discomfort can definitely be physical but it can just as easily be mental. We LOVE to keep our thoughts and emotions comfortable. To that end, we don’t like to move beyond our mental comfort zone.
How many of you resist being around people or situations that cause discomfort? How many of you avoid putting yourself out there in some way because you don’t want to feel the discomfort that comes from doing something new?
By managing my discomfort, I have expanded my life way beyond anything I ever thought I could do. It’s a thrill to see places that are off the beaten path. It’s a thrill to finish a project that felt a little out-of-reach at first but with consistent effort, I did it.
Take Short Breaks
Resting often goes along with going slower. Many people find the idea of resting or taking breaks to be wasted time. However, I find that breaks or rests can recharge me and allow me to keep going for a longer period of time.
When I first started cycling and hiking and even writing, I needed frequent breaks. I allowed myself to take breaks as long as I kept up with consistently doing more overall. In time, I didn’t need as many breaks as I became stronger physically and developed more focus in writing and other pursuits.
When you are doing something that is mentally challenging, you may need to break it into smaller chunks and take breaks.
Give yourself a pat on the back every time you make any progress on something you are tempted to quit!
The Don’t Give Up Rule
This might be the most important tip of all. I call it the Don’t Give Up rule. You commit to finishing your project or physical endeavor. With adjusting speed and giving yourself breaks, you can often accomplish things you couldn’t before.
It’s also important to set an achievable goal. Stretch and challenge yourself but also keep it within your ability to do.
For example, if I’m hiking, I need to set a goal that I can achieve before it gets dark. So, knowing that I go a little slower, I will do fewer miles than someone fitter or more experienced. I pick a goal that gets me to somewhere that I want to see but that I know that I can finish in a safe amount of time.
The Don’t Give Up Rule works great with creative and business projects too. When you decide that you will stick with a project until you get it done, no matter how long it takes, you will often find that at some point, you’ll reach a place where you get some traction and momentum and it will actually get easier as you go along.
(If you are having trouble getting started—be sure and read THIS.)
The Joy and Reward in Completion
Of course, a job well-done is a reward in itself.
However, I love rewards at the end of a tough task as well. When I complete an early morning bike ride on a weekend morning, I go out for a nice breakfast. After a strenuous day hike, I treat myself to a yummy dinner.
Yes, I am into food rewards!
A wonderful thing happens when commit to finishing something and doing it at a speed that is relatively comfortable—you get to enjoy the journey. This can mean enjoying beautiful scenery or it can mean enjoying the process of creating or learning a new technology.
The journey of doing and finishing things is where we learn what we are made of. We learn things about ourselves that help us do other things.
It feels great to not quit!
There truly is joy in completing things and not quitting. But I didn’t know that until I learned how to not give up too soon.
Why it’s Important to Not Give Up Too Soon
Now you know everything I know about not quitting! Some of these strategies may resonate with you more than others. As always, use what feels helpful and don’t worry about the rest. Maybe just one tip will help you keep going.
The important thing is to keep going. I’m a total dreamer who has resisted action for years. However, I can confidently tell you that it is in taking committed action that I have found my happiest moments in life.
It is in going past my comfort zone and in going past what I even thought was possible that I found real joy and happiness. This joy and happiness comes not just checking off a box that I did something but from the process of doing something that isn’t easily or quickly done.
It’s in the doing. And learning how to not give up too soon was integral to achieving my Think Big life.
Keep on showing up my friends!
P.S. I keep in shape for life, cycling, and hiking all without a gym. Need ideas of workouts you can do without a gym–here are the things I do. How to Get Fit Without a Gym
Hi, I'm Sara and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute coaching session.