by Melissa Palmer – Guest Blogger
Even the most driven and motivated people reach a time when they want to quit. Every one of our Black Belts at Karate International has wanted to quit at some point. That is why we yell “fight” at the end of class, to fight ourselves to come back to class. Since we can’t really go around yelling “FIGHT” to the people around us in our day-to-day routines, here are 9 tips to help you keep going, even when you want to quit.
1. Prioritize – Many times we want to quit because we are overwhelmed with the amount of tasks we need to accomplish. Prioritize your list by importance. If there is not enough time in the day to get to all of it, allow yourself to finish the less important items another day. You can do anything. You don’t have to do everything.
2. Remember the Benefits – Take your prioritized list and beside each item, write down the benefits of accomplishing the tasks. This is a great way to remind yourself why you want to do it and get re-motivated.
3. Bribe and Reward Yourself – When I get through a long day of working hard or taking an extra martial arts class, I reward myself by not having to cook or do dishes that night. Before my really long day begins, I decide on one of my favorite restaurants and what meals I want to order. Throughout the day I remind myself of the “bribe” I am going to give myself when it’s over. If you’ve worked hard, especially when you didn’t want to, you deserve a reward.
4. Have a Mentor – You may know the person or you may not, but try to think of someone you admire. Look for someone who inspires you. Think of all the times they must have wanted to quit and how they overcame that and got to where they are today. If it’s someone you know and can talk to, contact them. Talk to them. Ask for help. When I feel overwhelmed or can’t seem to find the right focus and direction to keep going, I walk myself into Mrs. O’s office (owner of Karate International) and we chat. These chats with her help me refocus while also holding me accountable, because I know she’s going to ask me how my progress is going.
5. Understand Your Obstacles and What’s Really Holding You Back – Many times our lack of motivation is from a, very easy to overcome, obstacle. Sometimes all we need is to put our feelings aside and acknowledge what’s really holding us back. Are you exhausted or simply tired? Allow yourself appropriate downtime. Make sure you are giving yourself enough sleep. Maybe the payoff is worth continuing to work even, if you’re tired. Are you afraid of failing? Remind yourself it’s okay, even if it doesn’t work out exactly as you want. It’s even okay to make a mistake. The only real failure is to give up.
6. Break Up Your Big Goals – A large goal, requiring lots of time and effort, is daunting. Break it up into baby steps and focus on accomplishing the smaller tasks by a certain time. “Inch by inch is a cinch, yard by yard is hard” is a saying I learned back in high school and still use today. As a White Belt, the thought of trying to be a Black Belt was too much to focus on and seemed unrealistic for me at the time. But the steps needed to get to the Gold Belt were easy to imagine accomplishing. Once I was a Gold Belt, the Green-Stripe was then easy to work towards, and so on. Through each belt I repeated this mental process. Then before I knew it, I was testing for my 1st Black Belt ever.
7. Focus on the Good – We see what we focus on. If all you focus on is the negative, that’s what you see and feel. When I’m too tired to go to class after working all day, all I’m focusing on is being tired and how much I just want to go home. But I find that I can shift my focus to remind myself, that I love the classes and I enjoy working with my training partners. I think about the knowledge I’ll gain from going and then I switch from be unmotivated, to not wanting to miss the class, no matter what.
8. Look at How Far You’ve Come – Sometimes the finish line just seems too far away. But that’s when you look back at how far you’ve come. Many times you’re already passed the halfway point and in comparison to what you’ve already accomplished, what you have left to do isn’t much at all. This is how I got through judo. I quit judo twice before finally getting my Black Belt. I had instructors that wouldn’t give up on me. But I also reminded myself as a Brown Belt that I had already accomplished way too much to give up now.
9. Allow Yourself “Me” Time – Even the most driven people need a break. We can’t do everything, every moment, of every day without experiencing a burnout or complete breakdown. Whatever type of downtime you need to do, to recover and re-energize, make sure you allow yourself the time to do it. When my schedule starts to get hectic, I start scheduling “me” time. Whether it is an extra half hour in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee or listen to music, it will be written down and scheduled just like every other task, work shifts, and appointments.