You’ve been pushing hard, you’re tired and you know you need rest. Maybe you’re feeling sad and defeated and friends and relatives may have even started to notice.
It doesn’t feel good does it? This is the muck and the mire that we often find ourselves in. There’s really only two options available to us when we face these feelings. It’s the fight or flight your buddy the psychology major told you about. We can press on and hope we overcome the struggle and win or we can quit and find rest immediately.
Having faced this more times that I can count, I’ve discovered a few methods to enable myself to become emotionally resilient in times of struggle when I most want to quit.
- Get honest about how bad the struggle really is – Is this a huge challenge because I’ve been telling myself repeatedly that it’s a tough time or is it REALLY a brutal struggle?
- Ask what the risk vs reward of pressing on or quitting is – Am I facing a dire situation if I do quit? What are the true costs? Does what I gain match the amount of struggle I’m facing?
- Focus on rest – Most things in life are not as urgent as we allow them to be. True growth comes not from persistent effort but from times away from the task where the brain has room to think, process and grow.
- Identify markers that can be used to break the large goal into smaller tasks – The pain of struggle is much more bearable if we can hit milestones that give the brain a hit of dopamine that can be leveraged to fuel us to press on. Running a 26.2 mile marathon seems much more doable if you’re able to count off each half mile just like focusing on losing one pound each much more rewarding than measuring against the 100 pounds you’re trying to lose.
- Remember Why You Started – Having a very strong reason to put ourselves into challenging situations dramatically increases our chances of completing the challenge without quitting or burnout.
We’re capable of far more than we allow ourselves to believe but we’re also not machines. Keeping a sharp sense of reality on what we’re up against and why can make all the difference in what we’re able to achieve.