The Sneak-Up of The Give-Up

When pursuing your purpose, there will be many times when you want to give up. Learn how The Give-Up works and how to work around it.

Are you in the throes of The Give-Up? Beware … it’s a sneaky monster that creeps into your psyche little by little and starts leaving subliminal Sticky Notes all over your mind. It tells you things like: your efforts toward reaching your goals aren’t working; you should forget it; this is stupid and a waste of time; it’s taking too long, so something must not be right; things definitely should have changed by now; so-and-so’s doing the same thing and it’s working for him/her, so what’s wrong with you?

Next thing you know, you’re suddenly finding yourself thrown off track with making efforts toward reaching your goal. It’s very subtle, though; The Give-Up is smart (because it’s the wickedest, shadiest side of your ego). It does things like make you oversleep, feel sluggish and move slower than usual, forget to do things related to reaching your goal, procrastinate, purposely fail to keep important goal-related commitments to yourself because you just “don’t feel like it today,” miss appointments that could get you closer to your goal (due to said moving slower, oversleeping, procrastinating, and/or forgetting), feel restless and bored, act out in ways that you didn’t when you were filled with hope and courage (insert unhealthy or non-productive habit of your choice here), say yes to situations and people that are not only not in your best interest but may also lead you even further off track where your goal is concerned, not give your efforts your full attention when you’re engaged in them—and many other mind tricks. This is just a short list of ways the attack can take place.

When you start getting discouraged about your goal, that’s when your actions change; your efforts slow down or cease. The Give-Up puts you under its spell gradually, almost to where you don’t even notice until certain things start happening repeatedly, or several different instances have occurred over time that you all of a sudden take note of. By then, its job is done because you’re already immersed in a vicious cycle that can be hard to break.

Because The Give-Up is progressive (not to be confused with its sibling, The Hasty Quit, which happens abruptly, during an intense moment of perceived failure and doom), you could very well have been in the zone for days, weeks, even months already, and now you’re hard pressed to reclaim your spot on the path to victory.

Here’s the piece of info that I’m sure many of you already know, but it bears repeating: when you’re making lots of progress toward your goal, possibly about to reach it, that’s when The Give-Up gets completely outta hand. In your mind, it’s been X amount of time and you have no [apparent] results on the horizon; so now you’re resentful, and once resentment sets in, you’re vulnerable to The Give-Up’s power.

At that point, it doesn’t take much to knock you off track, so it slips in quietly and goes to work on you: an oversleep here, a few forgetful moments there, followed by some procrastination, intentional failure to commit, and half-assed efforts, and you’re fully in the zone. You’re so distracted by your discouragement that you don’t even realize you’re on a downward spiral.

If you find that The Give-Up has overtaken you, don’t beat yourself up. You may be down, but you’re not out, so there’s still time to get your mojo back. Combating The Give-Up requires that you pay close attention to your actions and feelings when you’re pursuing goals and dreams. Obviously, when you’re feeling hopeful and confident about things and you’re making strides, you don’t have to worry about getting caught up.

The fact is, though, every day probably won’t be smooth sailing during your journey, especially if you have an influx of crappy days—or weeks—and that’s when you need to keep your eyes peeled for mood swings, negative thoughts, and subtle behavioral changes that can lead you into the zone. If you can catch yourself before you get there, then great. But if you find yourself drowning in its sea of chaos, then you’ll need to employ some belligerence and diligence to set yourself straight. Depending on how long you’ve been down, it may feel like pulling teeth some days to get back up.

And you have to get back up! If that purpose-driven goal or dream still burns in your heart, then you owe it to yourself to continue to pursue it with gusto, no matter what the scenario looks like. If jumping right back in the saddle and picking up where you left off all at once feels overwhelming, then take it bit by bit; regain control of your journey one action at a time, one day at a time. In whatever ways The Give-Up has you going in reverse, you have to switch gears immediately. It can be pretty strong, so you need to be stronger.

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