How to Keep Going When You Want to Quit
In writing and life
“It’s important to understand that when you first start, you are not posting these for your audience-you’re posting them for you. Eventually people will start to follow, but initially it’s so you can discover your voice.”
— Russell Brunson, Expert Secrets
I don’t always enjoy writing.
I’ll bet I’m not alone in that either.
Vulnerability is hard but also feels good at the same time.
I stick with it even when I don’t really want to because I am determined to learn to love practice just for the sake of doing it. I want to deepen my intrinsic motivation so I can get to my 10,000 hours required to become an expert.
Try being a little more real with yourself now. Will you enjoy posting 3–5 articles per week?
Probably not always.
It’s the hard truth about writing and practicing writing. But if you put in the work, you will find your voice, and you will improve.
I know it because I’m doing it right now. Every keystroke and mouse clicking that publish button improves your voice. Sometimes we repeat ourselves, and sometimes we feel like we’re writing garbage. But as long as we don’t stop, we’ll keep improving.
“You never fail until you stop trying.”
― Albert Einstein
I’m discovering this with writing right now, even after almost an entire year of publishing consistently. After over 200 articles published, I still have to motivate myself every day.
I’m also learning to keep going regardless of how I feel with a myriad of other things. That includes running a small business, trying to become a professional engineer, parenting, battling depression, and so much more.
These principles are universal to whatever you’re working towards.
If you want to become a better parent, keep parenting by spending quality time with your kids, even if you start out your usual grumpy, distracted self.
To improve as an engineer, or accountant, or lawyer, or whatever profession you’ve chosen, you just have to keep working at it, even when you might get chewed out for being terrible most days.
To become a better runner, you have to keep running.
So what do you do on the days that you find yourself not wanting to practice writing, parenting, working, and exercising?
You have to take a step back and begin to do less, to focus on the one or two things that matter most to you so you can remind yourself where everything else fits into who you really are.
You have to practice self-compassion.
“Self-compassionate people are more likely to take action and reach their goals. in particular, research shows that inducing self-compassion helps people… find intrinsic motivation.”
— Dr. Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
Think about that for a moment.
To increase our likelihood of taking action, we have to practice self-compassion. We have to take care of ourselves.
We have to do less so that we can do more.
If you want to keep going, take your own step back. Make sure that slowing down is adequately proportional to the strength of your desire to quit or you just might end up quitting.
Examine your why for everything you are doing. Cut the crap, and move on.
But self-compassion can’t just be about cutting out what’s wrong in our lives, it has to get better than that, right?
That’s where creating a solid vision comes in. You have to know and remember where you’re going. Look to your future and to what you’re looking forward to accomplishing and having.
Look at the good in your life.
Let go of all feeling so that the real feelings can come back to you. The feelings you had when you started whatever it is that you want to quit right now.
Compassion for others isn’t about thinking what you would think if you were in their place; it’s about feeling with them what you would feel yourself.
And so it is with ourselves. We need to think less and feel more.
Often, we try too hard to force the right things to work for us in life when the only thing that will make it all work out is taking a step away from the things we want.
Sometimes we need to want a little less of the “right things” that everyone, and maybe even ourselves, tells us we “should want.”
And instead, care for ourselves a little more.