By Alyssa Gregory

How to Motivate Yourself When You Feel Like Quitting

By Alyssa Gregory

Have you ever decided to do something, put in the time to create a plan for success, and gotten about 25% of the way through, only to get hit with second thoughts? You may start doubting yourself and your ability to complete the project/initiative. Or maybe you start wondering whether or not your idea and planning was really worthwhile.  Regardless, you’re stuck and wondering if you should just quit while you’re ahead.

Many times, returning to your original planning process that included a look at the expected success payoffs — and the implications of not completing the project — can be enough to re-convince you that this effort is, in fact, worth your time and energy. But even if you know it’s worth continuing, that doesn’t mean you will automatically be motivated to pick up where you left off. And without that motivation to continue, you may keep returning to the question of quitting.

Here are a few ways you can recommit to the process, find new motivation and squash the quitting option.

Take a Baby Step, Then Another

Many times, the motivation struggle comes when we feel like the mountain we have to climb is huge, the struggle insurmountable, the tasks overwhelming. Forget the big picture for now and focus on one, just one, baby step you can take immediately to move forward. Only when that baby step is complete, move to a new baby step, and on and on. Before you know it, you will begin to build up momentum.

Give Up on Perfection

One of my biggest stopping points is trying to do everything perfectly, instead of just trying to make positive progress. This can be a major motivation and success killer. It’s not an easy feat, but if you’re able to remove perfection from the equation and instead focus on completing each baby step well, not perfectly, you will accomplish more and feel less pressure. Plus, without the perfection hang-up, you may actually do a better job and be happier with the results.


Take a Confidence-Building Break

You can boost your motivation when you truly believe in yourself and your abilities. If you’re lacking the confidence to continue, take a break from your project and do something you enjoy, something you’re good at. This burst of self-confidence can motivate you to continue and give you a renewed sense of purpose when you’re ready to attack your project again.

Focus on the Pain

We mentioned the implications of quitting before. Take a minute and consider them again. What happens if you quit? Will you let someone down, feel like a failure, lose an opportunity? Write down the biggest negative consequence and keep it in front of you as you move forward. This can be a surprisingly powerful motivator.

Go Public

When others watch us, we are motivated to do more, better. Why do you think so many people put their health and fitness goals out on Twitter and Facebook and then post updates every time a workout is completed or progress logged? It’s because going public means you’re no longer sitting in your bubble, quietly doing your thing. Others know what you’re trying to do, and they just may wonder why you skipped your workouts all week, or stopped making progress on a project you publicly committed to completing.

What do you do to find motivation when you feel like quitting?

Image credit: mzacha

  • I like your “baby steps” approach a lot. I’m going to have to remember that
    for a pretty huge project I’ve done most of the planning for.

    Not waiting for perfection is also a good tip. Assuming you believe you can
    “perfect” it, then it’s probably better to simply get started with a rough
    outline, and put on all the polish later.

    Come to think of it it, that could be a motivational factor; prototype and
    make quite detailed mock-ups, and then hopefully see that this is in fact
    doable. Combined with the baby-steps when doing the full implementation, it
    could be a nice approach.

  • usmanhalalit

    I do take baby steps, also entertaining myself works like a charm.

  • “Give Up on Perfection” – this is the most important one, IMHO.

  • Smart Company Software

    Perfection is the enemy of good.

    There is nothing wrong with striving for perfection, just accept that you will never get there. Do good, move on.

  • It seems that the majority of people who give up their dreams of an online business are those that started with no fixed direction (niche). And that means they are prey to every “latest big thing” and there’s a stack of those every day online. Leaping from one niche or subject to another will never achieve a successful business.
    Select (and research) your niche and then focus on doing everything you can to get it up and running. Then market it every day…. great keywords, pr releases, article marketing, social networking, search engine optimization… and more.
    Try to build relationships with other marketers in your niche. There may be great opportunities to work together.
    “Focus” is the big word.

  • santi


  • Art

    I clean up my office. When I have finished I not infrequently feel a sense of accomplishment.
    Going for a long and energetic walk in the nearby forest can also change my mood for the better. I make sure to have a voice recorder with me to listen to my mantra and record any afterthoughts I might entertain on what possibly went wrong.
    Re-watching Arnie in Pumping Iron is another device to which I resort for deliverance.

  • Andrea

    I agree, these hints are good.

    Absolutely the “baby steps” are the best when managin a big task. :)

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