How can I Not Give up?

Jessica Ellis

Every year, many people insist that it’s time to quit a bad habit, or pick up a good one. They start out their task with energy and enthusiasm, only to fade out and forget about it in a few weeks or months. It takes dedication and honest work to not give up on resolutions and goals, particularly if they are difficult. Nothing can guarantee success in all your endeavors, but learning to order your mind and think constructively about your goals can help you not give up too quickly.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

First, assume that if you’ve resolved to learn or try something new, expect to be terrible at it. Many people experience frustration and an urge to quit when they discover that they aren’t naturally good at things, from snowboarding to knitting. Remind yourself that this is a process and not a quick fix. Everyone who has ever become skilled at something began in a place of ignorance. Your difficulties only serve to make improving more of a challenge, and promise a bigger reward when you do progress.

Think of your long-term goals. If you want to lose 50 pounds you must first lose one. If you want to be able to run for an hour, you have to be able to run for ten minutes first. Remember that you are most likely not an expert in the field you are learning about; if it takes you a month longer to reach the first stage of your goal, maybe that’s because you overestimated your initial strength or ability. As long as you are still trying, you are on the right path. The only way to get off the right path is by giving up.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Support websites exist for hundreds of different goals and ambitions. Talking to people with similar wishes and setbacks may help to keep you motivated. Asking experts to help you can be motivational, and can also make the whole process easier and more efficient. Knowing that you are not alone in feeling desperate or despairing can help you to not give up; if your friends can survive it, so can you.

Sometimes, the urge to not give up can be a mixed bag. People may wish to not quit a job or leave an abusive relationship because they will feel a sense of failure or betrayal. Ask yourself if the situation makes you happy overall, or will lead you to greater happiness in the future. If the answer is no, seriously consider whether the situation is worth staying in. You should not give up your potential for happiness because you are afraid of being seen as a failure.

Managing to not give up will rely heavily on your ability to calm down and visualize your goal. You may need to train your mind to focus on long-term, rather than short-term gratification. If your goal is a happier marriage, you need to take a deep breath and consider the goal before blowing up about who did the dishes last. If you are trying to lose weight, you need to think of how much more energy you will have or how great you will look when you are tempted to skip the gym or have a fifth cookie.

Yet it is also important to not beat yourself up over failures. Every road has setbacks, difficulties, and unexpected consequences. The trick is to not allow a setback to turn into a downward spiral. If you have that fifth cookie, it doesn’t mean you will never lose weight and should give up. It simply means that it’s more important that you get back on the horse. Moderating your expectations, appreciating your successes and shrugging off your setbacks and using them to refocus will help you to not give up on your dreams.

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Discussion Comments


@gardenturtle- Perhaps, if you have any friends or family that live close by, you could ask for some help in the evenings. If you are like me, I cannot afford to hire anyone to help me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You might could see if a family member could come by a day or two a week and help with dinner or help you get caught up with housework.


@gardenturtle- First, I commend you for going back to school. It is always hard going back to school after you have already started a family. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate. I definitely think you should keep going. You have to look at the big picture.

One day, it will be over and you will have whatever degree you are seeking. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. You have to get through the bad times to get to the good times.


I am a mother of three and recently decided to go back to college. I am in my third semester right now. My grades are good but sometimes, I just feel like I’m trying to tackle too much. My homework takes up a lot of my time. My husband has been great but he works a full time job and I cannot expect him to do it all.

I go to school during the day and, as soon as I get home, I have to start cooking dinner. After dinner, I have to get caught up on laundry and housework. My husband and I share chores but I just feel overwhelmed. My husband keeps telling me not to give up but it seems to be just getting harder and harder. What can I do to make myself keep going?

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