I have a confession to make. Despite writing this blog about motivation, success, positivity, and following your dreams, I haven’t always felt that way. In fact, there have been plenty of times when I believed that none of this was worth it, that I was just wasting my time, and that writing for a living was simply impossible. After all, I’m only human. In fact, I felt this way just last week. It’s a feeling that’s increased since having kids.
The reality of the situation is that no matter how many motivational quotes you have on file or how positive your outlook on life is, there will always be moments of doubt. You will want to quit your dream every now and then. Sometimes dreams change. There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving up on a dream… unless you really are meant to hang on to it. The trouble is figuring it out. What if you really were destined to be the inventor of that revolutionary app? Or what if this rough patch is the exact moment before you hit your breakthrough? What if this moment of weakness, really needs to be reframed as a moment of strength because it’s when everything turns around? So instead of throwing in the towel in a moment of weakness, consider these things 10 things first before you allow yourself to call yourself a quitter.
1. Why did you want to pursue this dream and do you still feel the same way?
When you started the journey towards your dream, there was a reason. Maybe it’s because you wanted financial stability, maybe you long to be healthier. Maybe it would help you reframe your life. Or perhaps the reason was as simple as having more free time to spend with your kids. Whatever it was that lead you to follow this dream, you need to determine if it’s still something you want.
I’m willing to bet that you still want the same things. I mean, who wouldn’t want more financial stability and the opportunity to spend more time with loved ones? Chances are you started doubting your abilities after so many attempts came up short. Even though you knew it wouldn’t be easy, it’s probably all starting to be too much for you. However, if you still want the same things you just might find that working through the obstacles and hard times just might be worth it.
2. Is the goal a realistic one?
Now I know I always say nothing is impossible, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be at least the tiniest bit realistic when creating your goals. Sure your goal of losing 40 pounds in one month is possible. However, it’s a tad unrealistic. Plus, it may not be healthy depending on your current physical and mental state. It’s possible you created a goal that is unrealistic and you are burned out trying to reach it. Decide if it’s time to reevaluate your goal. Maybe you need to change your goal to lose 40 pounds in four months as opposed to one. Having a smart and realistic goal that clearly spells out your plan, timeline, and measurability is essential to reaching your dream. If not, you may feel compelled to give up on it prematurely.
3. Are you afraid of success?
Everybody wants success until they realize the responsibility that comes along with it. That means you will have the power to help and inspire people as well as hurt and disappoint people. Are you afraid you won’t be able to handle it once you reach your goal? It’s possible you are beginning to second guess your abilities before you even get a chance to experience it. If so, consider this: If you don’t take that chance and play it safe you’ll never get the opportunity to help or inspire anyone, the world will miss out on your greatness, and you’ll be hurting yourself by settling. If the thought still doesn’t bring solace and you’re still afraid of success, you can always work with a partner. That way you can motivate each other and share responsibility.
4. Would you be happy and healthy?
Sometimes a goal isn’t as good for us as we thought it would be. Are you sure that once you reach it, you will be happy, healthy, and fulfilled? Or would it just bring more stress and trouble? I know this one isn’t that encouraging, but sometimes you really do need to determine if the dream is what you need and will have a positive impact on your life. If you know this goal will only add positives and improve your quality of life then go for it. If you are a little doubtful, still go for it because doubt and questioning your abilities is normal. If the answer is a resounding no, you may need to evaluate and alter your goals a bit. However, please handle this decision with care. People often use this decision as an “easy out” because they are scared as opposed to a way to find a better alternative to their goal.
5. What would you tell someone in your shoes?
If your best friend told you they were giving up on his invention because someone said it was a bad idea you’d most likely brainstorm the most encouraging thing to say to help motivate him. Instead of giving up, pretend you are the best friend. Rationalize it with your “best friend” and tell yourself something encouraging. After talking it through with “your friend” you just might walk away with some clarity about what to do.
6. How much have you already invested in it?
If you’ve sacrificed a lot for your dream, you may be a little more reluctant to give up on it. If not much has been invested, you wouldn’t have a hard time moving on and struggle with calling it a loss. The more you’ve invested in something, the less likely you are to give in. So have you really invested all that you can into this goal? Will you be able to sleep well knowing all that has been lost by putting into a dream you never allowed to reach its full potential?
7. Are you planning too much while taking little action?
Many people make the mistake of planning their actions so much that they never allow themselves to take action. Thanks to the invention of the internet, ebooks, the radio, TV, podcasts, newsletter, etc. information is available everywhere and all of it seems so perfect for your plan. However, all the planning and research can lead to information overload. It’s only a matter of time till you become frustrated and overwhelmed with all the plans and information. Instead, limit your research to a handful of sources, stop all the planning, and do something. Remember, all the planning is worthless unless you apply it to your life.
8. Is fame a significant motivating factor?
If you are chasing the dream of a magazine writer or a movie star just to see your name in the byline or the production credits, it’s possible you are chasing this dream for the wrong reason. If it’s something you love, the fame and recognition wouldn’t matter to you. Unless your dream is something that will truly fulfill you and make you happy with or without fame, it may not be worth it. Consider your motivation for working towards the goal. Then ask yourself if it’s still worth it even if no one ever knew of your accomplishments.
9. Has something better come along?
Sometimes people give up on dreams because they’ve set their sites on something better. Have you moved on from the dream of producing plays and decided you’d rather produce a movie? Or have you decided that working in a cubicle from 9 to 5 really is better than running your own business? Maybe you’ve realized the dream you were chasing was still a form of settling and it’s time to move on to something bigger. Sometimes on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one. In this case, I give you permission to give up! 🙂
10. Are you acting on impulse?
If you just got another rejection letter from that book publisher, it’s only natural for you to want to throw in the towel at that moment. But at the very next moment, you could have a change of heart. That’s why you shouldn’t make decisions about giving up on emotional impulses. Sometimes emotions answer the questions we never would have figured out using logic. Other times, it can be harmful and lead us to make conclusions based on fear. No one would ever accomplish anything if we always operated that way and made all decisions in a moment of defeat. Instead, allow yourself to feel the stress and disappointment without judgment. Then evaluate your feelings, and make your decision once those feelings have passed. That way, even if you do conclude the dream is no longer for you, you’ll know the decision was made in a moment of clarity. Best of all, you’ll never have to utter the words, “I quit because I couldn’t do it.”
What do you do when you think you might give up on a dream?
TERRIfic Quip: The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens.
I love this post. It’s just what the ducky ordered today.
I’ve been struggling with Self Doubt lately. (And yes, I capitalize it because I name things I need to deal with.) But I’ve also been asking myself: “What’s the alternative?” Thinking about not doing what I’m doing makes me want to cry. I need to write. Every day. The thought of not being able to do this literally, physically makes me cry.
Then I ask myself what my next step is. Because taking action makes me feel less powerless. When feeling Self Doubt, an accomplishment, however small, is more than necessary.
Again, great post. I love your blog.
So glad this helped you, Erica. I felt the need to write, because just last week I got one rejection from an editor too many and I was really considering just giving up in the heat of the moment. I hate to admit that feeling of defeat lingered for way too long. However, once I then realized that I couldn’t imagine my life without writing so I had to keep going. Glad you’re not giving up.