Some days, life feels like it’s going exactly according to plan. Other days, life feels hard and not at all what you imagined.
Every now and then, you might just want to give up.
You may feel like giving up on…
- Your new habit of journaling, because you can’t find the time.
- Your hunt for the perfect job, because you feel underqualified.
- Your small business, because you haven’t gotten the results you expected.
- Your confidence, because negative thoughts broke down your self-esteem.
When moving forward with positive changes in your life, you can expect to go through difficult times. No one said the road to growth was easy—but they didn’t specify just how many and how significant the obstacles would be. And that can make you want to shout, “I give up!”
Given that, it’s good that this current moment won’t determine your success. Instead, it’s what you do when you feel like giving up that shapes your path forward.
And what you do is this: Don’t give up. Even when times get tough, there are methods of maintaining a positive mindset to get back on track for a happier, healthier you.
Think about why your brain might be telling you to give up and how you can fight back today.
Here’s Why Your Brain is Saying “I Give Up”
When life gets hard, it’s common to just want to give up. The truth is, most of our brains are wired to want to give up easily when we’re feeling stuck. This phenomenon is called the “Pleasure Principle” or instant gratification.
We want to experience the rewards of our hard work immediately, and if we don’t succeed right away, we might get anxious or want to give up altogether. So it’s normal to feel defeated. But just because these feelings happen from time to time doesn’t mean you should listen to the voice in the back of your head telling you to give up.
As an inventor, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Could you imagine how gloomy the world would be if he’d quit?
Even Walt Disney—a man famous for positivity and creativity—was fired by a newspaper editor who claimed he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Can you envision what the world would be like if he had given up?
It’s only natural to want to give up in the face of truly tough times, but consider these reasons for fighting back.
Why You Shouldn’t Give Up Without a Fight
In a perfect world, all 365 days of every year would be positive and productive. In reality, there will always be one bad day among your hundreds of good days. It’s important to stop trying to avoid them altogether.
Yes, negative experiences can get us down. But they’re also great opportunities to learn and grow. They are chances to change the aspects of life that no longer serve you. Imagine if you had given up every time life was challenging. You would never be where you are now!
Let go of the things outside of your control, like other people’s opinions and actions. Instead, focus on bettering your outlook, like working on feeling more confident in your skills or improving how you treat others. There is more to life than what is happening right now.
You have a purpose.
Open up your imagination to all that you can accomplish if you keep going, and fight the desire to give up!
If you need a boost, take a look at some of these tips for when you want to give up. Because our personal lives and professional lives are very different, we’ve created two separate lists to help in the event you want to give up in life or give up in business. If you’re looking for tips on what to do when you want to throw in the towel in business, skip to tip #13.
12 Tips for When You Want to Give Up on Life
There will be moments when life just seems too difficult or too heartbreaking to continue. These difficult times won’t last forever. Your purpose in life is much bigger than any uncomfortable experience.
So don’t give up! Instead, do something your future self will thank you for. Consider trying some of these tips for fighting back.
1. Investigate Why You Want to Give Up
There’s a common misconception that giving up on life means you must have some sort of a mental illness—that’s not true. The desire to give up can come from long-lasting frustration, occupational stress, personal heartbreak or something else.
People who feel this way need support, direction, and something to work towards. If you feel like you want to give up, it’s important to take a bird’s eye view of your life and investigate where the desire to quit is coming from.
There are a lot of reasons why you may want to give up. To help your investigation, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you feel unsupported?
- Are you physically exhausted?
- Are you emotionally depleted?
- Have you faced difficulties that you were unprepared for?
- Has life overwhelmed you?
Commit to finding out what the real issues in your life are. Then, tackle each one specifically. Once you determine what’s causing these feelings, you can address them head-on. You may not need to completely reinvent yourself, but you may decide to replace certain areas of your personal or professional life that no longer serve you.
2. Find Support From Others
Countless people in the world are struggling with the same feelings of self-doubt, frustration and fear that you are. Never be ashamed of these feelings, and don’t be afraid to seek support. When you feel like you want to give up, the last thing you should do is isolate yourself or hide your true emotions.
When you isolate yourself with your thoughts, it becomes easier for negative feelings to overwhelm you. Instead, reach out to someone you can trust. A best friend, loved one, family member, co-worker or even online forum can provide an outlet to talk about how you’re feeling.
Sometimes receiving a simple “I love you, and I’m here for you” can put you in a more positive headspace to navigate through the difficult time.
3. Be Mindful of the Positive
Even in the thick of an “I give up” moment, try to be grateful. Yes, that might feel like a strange thing to do if you’re feeling unhappy or defeated. But mindfulness is key for success.
Whenever you feel like giving up, stop and make a list of everything you’re grateful for in your life. These can include (but don’t have to be limited to) your health, your family, your career and your ability to change the things in your life that aren’t the right fit.
The way you interpret the situations around you depends on your attitude. When you shift your focus to becoming grateful—even for the things that cause you stress—tasks that once seemed overwhelming can take on a new light.
Adopt an attitude of gratefulness and mindfulness, and you will be amazed at the difference it makes in your emotional and mental health.
4. Celebrate Every Victory, No Matter How Small
Self-love is the best medicine for when your perseverance wavers. When life gets tough, you deserve to acknowledge all of the victories you’ve made along the way—no matter how small they may seem. Every win is proof that your purpose is greater than any obstacle that stands in your way.
When you feel yourself becoming discouraged or overwhelmed, write out a quick list of accomplishments. Remember there’s no expiration date on accolades. Anything in your past that has made you proud is fair game. From getting a master’s degree to getting out of bed in the morning, celebrate your wins.
Reflecting on all that you’ve accomplished thus far in life can help increase your self-esteem and renew your energy to push forward.
5. Reconnect with Your Basics
The amount of online information about not giving up can be overwhelming. Anywhere you look, someone has the “best-kept secret” for turning your life around. This can lead to confusion and, ultimately, trying too many “solutions” at once.
In these situations, it’s best to simplify and reconnect with your basics. What is most important to you? What are your core values? Instead of overexerting yourself, step back and focus on your basics to power ahead. When you lean into the things you know, your next steps become clearer and more manageable.
6. Take it One Day at a Time
When everything on your plate seems daunting and you just want to give up, remember that you don’t need to tackle everything at once. Take things one day at a time.
In the morning, tell yourself, “Just for today, I will _____.” Fill in the blank with one thing you want to accomplish, even if it’s just for the day. It could be working out, applying to a job or even just getting out of bed.
Telling yourself that you only have to take that action for the day offers 2 major benefits:
- You stop focusing on the mental burden of how you will manage to do it again, helping the task become lighter and less daunting.
- You remind yourself that this period of time is momentary, and what you’re doing now doesn’t have to become a life-long habit.
Your life won’t change overnight. But by showing yourself that you’re capable of making a change—even if it’s just one day at a time—you can ease yourself out of the negative thoughts that have been consuming you.
7. Reflect and Course-Correct
When you’re faced with tragedy or feel like giving up, it can be helpful to reflect on the time leading up to this point and determine what must change. What can you do differently to lighten this mental burden?
One way to reflect and course-correct is to journal.
Journaling is a fantastic method of examining how you think and how you accomplish tasks. It also allows you to analyze the results of your thoughts and actions. How does your current course compare to what’s worked in the past? In your journal, you can be honest with yourself about which aspects of life may not be working in your favor.
Maybe that means you should restructure your daily morning routine or schedule time to reflect and practice mindfulness. Maybe you need to reconsider your goals and assess whether or not they’re realistic for your current stage of life.
Make changes if necessary. After a few weeks, consider if these changes have improved your outlook on life. If not, continue to course-correct until you find a happy medium.
8. Cut Yourself Some Slack
Your brain might be saying “I just want to give up,” but what it really means is “I just need a break.”
The urge to give up may be a signal that you’ve been burning the candle at both ends. Burnout is common and can happen at any stage of life, typically as a result of excess stress. It’s not uncommon to feel mentally and physically drained during a period of burnout, which can cause you to want to give up.
When you’re feeling ready to throw in the towel, be sure to listen to your body and mind first. Take a few days to rest. Allow your batteries to recuperate and recharge. Time away from what’s causing you stress can be just what you need to locate and eliminate any roadblocks in your way. Plus, it never hurts to cut yourself some slack and allow yourself the same grace you give other people.
9. Avoid Negative People and Situations
When you are about to give up, avoid negative people like it’s your job. You know the saying, “Misery loves company?” When you surround yourself with negative people, they will encourage you to focus on the negative and the law of attraction will bring negativity right into your orbit.
Negative people can drag you into their negative bubble, strengthening your desire to give up. So find a circle of supportive, positive people. Stick with individuals who will help you deny negative thoughts, rather than entertain them. Together, you can find the silver lining and focus on the positive.
10. Take a Break from Social Media
Though great for advertising your business or late-night scrolling, social media isn’t necessarily the best place for your mental health. Spending too much time analyzing other people can breed low self-esteem, where you’ll never feel good enough.
But here’s the thing: The trending videos you see of perfect workout routines, perfect homes and perfect jobs aren’t reflective of everyday life or real human beings. If you try to hold yourself to these impossible standards, you’ll never feel confident in your own purpose.
When you feel like giving up, take a break from the social media facades, and engage with your loved ones in real life instead.
11. Surround Yourself with Things That Bring You Comfort
When you’re feeling at your lowest, surround yourself with people and things that lift your spirit. Your favorite food, music, movie or place to visit can all be sources of comfort. Of course, these things won’t magically remove the issue at hand. However, they can help ground you and give you a reason to not give up.
12. Remember it’s Darkest Before Dawn
Few phrases can help us through challenging times quite like, “It’s always darkest before dawn.” In other words, things always seem to be at their worst in the moments before they improve. When life seems to be at its lowest point, something usually happens to turn it around. Often, this happens because reaching that low point forces you to make a change.
If right now is the darkest life has ever been, don’t give up. Know that light is coming. When the light seems far away, remember that you can create light through the positive decisions you make. And if your light just won’t spark, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
Tips for When You Want to Throw in the Towel in Business
Sometimes the stress of life alone can be enough to make you want to throw your hands up and yell, “I give up!”. But if you’re a business owner, entrepreneur or on track for finding your dream job, hiccups in everyday life can make you want to throw in the towel in your career. Here are some bonus tips for when you feel like giving up in business.
13. Remember Why You Started and How Much You Really Wanted It
When you feel the urge to give up in business, think back to the moment that your concept, goal or project was born. Remember why you started and how much you really wanted it. Do you remember the joy you felt? How proud you were?
Focus on those feelings.
Beginning your business was exciting. Taking that first step was thrilling, but now, the journey has become difficult. Return to your original mindset, and focus on your purpose. Bring the motivation for your endeavor front and center to stunt those thoughts telling you to give up.
14. Visualize the Ultimate Result
When you first started your career, you had a vision of where you would end up. Your dreams were a jumble of financial goals, personal resolutions and industry success. When you feel lost in your career, it’s important to visualize the ultimate result you’ve been working towards.
Whenever you want to quit, ask yourself if you will regret giving up. Would you be doing your future self a disservice if you abandoned your vision? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, power forward. Even if you take just one small step at a time, your future self will thank you.
15. Make a Plan (and Have a Backup Plan)
If things in your professional life have taken a wrong turn, know that this isn’t your final destination. Before you make any impulsive decisions, it’s helpful to have a roadmap of whatever’s next. So, make a plan (or 2).
There are a lot of ways you can map out your plan. You can write out your goals in your journal, create a checklist for tasks completed along the way or make a breakout chart of the various steps you need to take. Once you have a plan in place, you’ll have something to refer back to and refocus on when you feel like giving up.
In this same vein, remember to have a back-up plan in mind before starting. Life changes in an instant, meaning you can’t predict what the next few months will hold for your business. Having an alternative plan to put in action means you’ll always have a safety net in case you want to give up at a later point.
16. Have Motivational Reminders Everywhere
Earlier in this article, we touched on having a motivational network to lean back on. You can expand on that sentiment by using motivational reminders. While a supportive loved one might be down the hall or a phone call away, having motivational reminders in place throughout your workspace can help keep your spirits high.
Motivational quotes, inspirational quotes, love quotes and even funny memes can stop those thoughts of giving up right in their tracks. By intentionally adding positivity in your workspace and throughout your home, it becomes easier to focus on the good instead of the bad.
Make these reminders the wallpaper on your phone or computer, or have inspirational quotes stuck to your desk or notebook for an added positivity boost.
17. Tap into Realistic Expectations
Whether you’re a founder, manager or employee, it’s crucial that you set realistic expectations for yourself. Spoiler alert: You won’t find these realistic expectations by listening to advertisements that promise you’ll “get rich quick,” or by listening to social media influencers who abide by perfectionism with no mistakes or failures.
Success takes time, and it is not without hard times along the way.
Tap into realistic expectations by listening to the people who have already been where you want to go. Pay attention to those who know your journey.
They know what works and can help you anticipate where you’ll stumble along the way. These individuals know how you’re feeling because they’ve been there too. They can help set a realistic timeframe for success and give ideas of what you may encounter along the way.
If you don’t know where to start, find informative podcasts and blogs of entrepreneurs who have been in your shoes. While you won’t receive an exact blueprint, the things these people reveal can be excellent guidance as you find your own way. With this information, you can set expectations you can achieve!
18. Find a Way to Express Yourself
Your business may have been born out of a creative idea, but when was the last time you allowed yourself to just be creative for fun? When was the last time you colored outside the lines or thought outside of the box? It’s time to find a way to express yourself.
When you are about to give up, it feels like you’ve tried every possible option out there. But by finding another medium to express yourself creatively—whether by writing, sketching, painting or something else—you can discover clever ways of solving your problems that may not have been apparent before. Not to mention, taking the time to express yourself can help blow off some steam, which can put you in a more positive mindset moving forward.
19. Share Your Passions with Others
When it comes to sharing your excitement for your passions, one can be the loneliest number. So, find a like-minded group you can share your passions with! If you feel like giving up, this group can help inspire you to look at your situation differently.
Others can help reignite the passion within you, helping you fight the feeling of wanting to give up. Plus, finding people to bounce ideas off of can quiet some of the noise in your mind. Like-minded entrepreneurs can share tips and tricks that have worked for them, which can help take the guesswork out of what’s ahead.
20. See if it’s Time to Try Something Else
There is a difference between giving up and trying something else. Read that sentence, then read it again.
Sometimes it’s not time to give up on your dreams, but it may be time to quit what you’re currently doing and try something better suited for you. If you’re constantly bored or thinking about letting go, or if you’re no longer feeling any passion or excitement for your current path, it may be a sign that you’re ready to leave your comfort zone.
In reality, what you want isn’t easy to know before you get started. Now that you’ve invested time and energy into what you thought you wanted, you may need to try different paths before you find the one that fits you. Again, that doesn’t mean you need to give up. It’s just time for plan B!
Turn “I Give Up” into “I Got This”
Difficult times are unavoidable, but they don’t need to halt your success. When you feel like giving up, remember that your purpose is greater than any challenge you’re facing. There is always another way.
Even when times get tough, don’t give up! Remain positive for a future your current self will thank you for.