Feeling discouraged is a normal part of working toward any goal. When I’m writing a book and I wake up feeling energized to get a lot written and I open the document but the words don’t come. I feel discouraged. I feel like my goal has been sabotaged by some force I can’t even see much less conquer! I feel discouraged when despite doing an hour of cardio three or four times a week, giving up alcohol for 30 days (while my friends didn’t!) and sticking to 1,200 calories a day resulted in not even losing a single pound! Feeling discouraged is normal. Getting stuck in it isn’t. Letting this feeling make you give up on your goal, decide your goal is impossible, or confirm some bias about your abilities, or inabilities, is a copout. If you really want to achieve your goal, don’t let the big D stand in your way.
What you can do when you feel discouraged:
Reflect on your why. Remember why you want to achieve your goal in the first place and how you will feel when you do. Think about how it will change your life for the better.
Revisit your steps. Think about the actions you were taking that led to the feeling of discouragement. Were they the right steps but not at the right moment? Do you need to choose different steps? Did you have unrealistic expectations about how quickly those steps would help you achieve your goal or some part of it?
Be positive. Make sure your goal and your why reflect your “why” and not your “why not”. Your goal needs to reflect only positives. So if you want to lose weight, instead of saying, “I want to lose 35 pounds”, say I want to weigh 135 and acknowledge the benefits you will realize when you weigh 135.
Be specific about your goal. If you have not clearly articulated your goal, you won’t know when you achieve it. It can seem like you are working at it forever, which can lead to discouragement. Be clear, descriptive and concise about your goal and your deadline.
Seek advice. Find an expert in your field, a coach, teacher or mentor from whom you can seek advice about the steps you’ve taken compared to where you want to go. This will help you determine if you are taking the correct steps, in the correct order and at the right time.
Switch tasks. If you know for sure you’re going in the right direction with the right actions but having a moment of frustration, switch tasks to something completely unrelated. Changing your surroundings for even a few minutes might be enough to change the energy and get you back on track.
Manage your mojo. Taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually helps keep your energy high, and literally, makes everything seem easier. Read or watch something inspiring, get enough rest, be mindful, seek peace, keep learning, and taking a walk don’t have to take all day to do. An hour a day dedicated to your complete well-being will give you the mindset to get more done in less time. So not taking time to do it is an excuse, not a reason.
Celebrate your wins. Acknowledging that some of the steps you’ve taken have gotten you closer to your goal as well as documenting how far you are from the start even if you’re still far from the finish help to affirm your progress. No one ever gets where they want to go by standing still. Progress is worth celebrating. Inspire yourself to keep going.
Know you’re not alone. Olympic athletes, top scholars and the highest achievers feel discouraged from time to time. No achievement is ever gotten without risk, disappointment, setbacks and lessons. Commitment to the goal is what gets you past these things. Stories of triumph over disappointment abound and can help you feel less discouraged as you move forward.
Keep going. Take different steps or continue the same ones but keep moving forward. The only thing that will kill your dreams is giving up on them.
“You get what you focus on.”- Tony Robbins
Focus on what you want. Don’t give yourself a plan B, a next best choice, or a way out. Everything you want to achieve has already been done by someone. Figure out how they did it. What obstacles and adversities did they overcome to get it? If it is possible for someone else to achieve what you want, it’s possible for you. The only question is how badly do you want it.
The only thing you are governed by is how badly you want something. Everything else is an excuse.
Feel discouraged. Then move forward. Get what you want.