When You Feel Like Giving Up on Yourself and Your Goals

Finding MotivationEveryone has down times, self-doubts, and feels like giving up on something from time-to-time, but if these feelings last longer than a few days, especially if you have suffered a recent hardship, loss, or other stressful situation call a therapist and seek professional help.

For those times when you have just had a bad day, are too tired to care, or just like giving in to something you know you will regret later, go through the following list of questions because sometimes, what is making you feel like giving up on something is not because it is hard, it is because you are thirsty, hungry, bored, stressed, tired, or just plain cranky.  You won’t improve your mood by giving up, but you may be taking one of the following steps listed below.

Question to Ask What to Do
Are you thirsty or dehydrated? Drink a glass of water. In fact, many people mistake thirst for hunger and their inability to focus or mood fluctuations are actually the result of thirst.
Have you eaten in the past three hours? Hunger can cause headaches and fatigue and if your blood sugar is low you may also be restless, irritable, shaky, and unable to think clearly. Eat a healthy snack that contains a good source of protein (a candy bar does not count as a health snack!)
Have you taken a walk lately? If not, now is a great time to move around a bit. If you do not have the energy to run or do a full-on workout, take a stroll around the block.  If the weather is bad (and you don’t enjoy walking in inclement weather) go walk around an indoor mall, but do try to get out.
Did you get dressed today? If not, go put on some clean clothes.  People who work from home and stay-at-home parents can find it all too easy to slip into the rut of not changing out of pajamas.  Get dressed and feel more like part of the rest of the world!
Have you started new or changed other medications recently? Call your doctor; you may be experiencing side effects that he/she can help you with by changing doses, timing, or the medication itself.
Do you feel ineffective or powerless? Both of these feelings often stem from not being able to accomplish something.  Pick one small “open loop” item in the back of your mind that you can do right now whether it is laundry, writing a thank you note, or just taking the kids to the park.  Setting your mind to doing something and then following through can recharge your sense of power.
Are you crippled by indecisiveness? Being unable to make decisions can stem from stress, medical conditions, or medications.  If it is any of those things talk to your doctor or a therapist as soon as you can.  If a particular decision is a roadblock then put it aside for now.  Some decisions need lots of time and consideration; others do not.  Focus on small decisions and map out some small or short-term goals to things you can accomplish.  This can be as simple as making a grocery list or planning meals for the week or even balancing your checkbook.  Just set your mind to a task and do it — and then take credit for it!
Are you getting enough sleep (or too much sleep)? Most adults need about 8 hours of good sleep each night — not much more and not much less.  If you suffer from insomnia talk to your doctor as soon as you can for advice.  Cut back on (or eliminate) caffeine, and if you suffer from sleep apnea and are feeling exhausted call your doctor today.
Are you feeling listless and bored? You need something to focus your attention on.  Pick up that book you have been meaning to read, writer a letter to an old friend, or better, call an old friend.  You don’t even have to involve someone else in order to break that feeling of boredom take yourself to a museum, art gallery, or movie.  If none of those things are of interest go do a workout; exercise can be a tremendous mood lifter!
Do you lack a sense of self-worth or have low self-esteem? Oftentimes we given up on goals that involve our own best interests.  If you suffer from low self-esteem it is important that you surround yourself with positive people and not those who put you down or devalue you or your ideas.  If you are feeling isolated or lacking purpose, volunteer to help with a favorite cause.  You will meet new people, feel connected to something important, and feel good for being a volunteer making a difference!