How to Keep Going After You’ve Given Up

  1. Make your goals measurable. Subjective goals like “Get in shape” or “feel happier” are going to be really hard to track. “I want to get outside for a walk three days per week” or “I’m going to meditate for at least 5 minutes each weekday” are things you can win at objectively.
  2. Make your milestones smaller than you really want them to be. I know you want to be challenged, but if the challenge is too great, you’ll fumble and/or give up. If you want to start an early morning routine, but it’s always been too hard for you to get up at 6 am, start gradually. Getting up 15 minutes earlier is a win and you are more likely to be able to do it with greater success. Ain’t no shame in easing into change, my friends.
  3. Set up structures that support you. You might need a buddy for accountability, or to mark off actual time in your schedule for whatever it is you’re trying to do. Lay your workout clothes out the night before. Prep your meals to match the way you want to eat. Put the book you want to read beside your bed AND give yourself time to read it.
  4. Track your progress. We humans LOVE to watch things grow. Tracking your progress is incredibly satisfying. Not only do you get to see your habit working, which creates pride in your ability to do the thing, you also harness the magic of keeping the chain going, which can provide its own motivation to keep going.
  5. Take breaks. Build space and grace into whatever you’re trying to achieve. It’s all great when we’re trucking merrily along, but what if you get a cold, or pull a muscle, or go away on vacation? Typically, because we’ve gone all-or-nothing on our goals, we don’t account for any of Life to happen as it does. And when Life does happen, we break the chain, consider it all a failure (along with ourselves) and give up entirely. It doesn’t have to go that way.

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