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How to Not Give Up – 8 Strategies for Not Quitting

How to Not Give Up

Never give up!

When you’re pursuing a worthwhile goal it’s almost inevitable that at some point you’ll think one or more of the following:

  • “This is harder than I thought it would be.”
  • “Why is this taking so long?”
  • “I’m getting nowhere with this.”
  • “I keep failing at this goal.”
  • “I can’t do this. What was I thinking?”

And when you do have one—or more—of these thoughts, it’s very likely that you’ll want to give up. When that happens, come back to this blog post to stop yourself from quitting. Below you’ll find 8 strategies for not giving up.

1. Adopt An “I Won’t Quit” Mindset.

I just finished watching the fourth season of “House of Cards” – an American political drama about a Congressman and his wife who will stop at nothing to achieve their goal of climbing up the political ladder. Now, the protagonists of the show–Frank and Claire Underwood–are definitely not good role models. They’re ruthless, manipulative, self-centered narcissists.

But the one thing that they do have going for them is that they just won’t give up. Even if all the tables are turned against them, they keep going.

Not giving up is a mindset. And it’s a mindset that you can adopt. Fortunately, you don’t need to have a personality disorder—like the Underwoods–to refuse to give up, no matter what. Instead, what you do need is to constantly tell yourself the following:

  • I persist when things get tough.
  • I will either find a way or make one.
  • Every problem has a solution, and I have the perfect ability to find it.
  • Every day I gain more knowledge and insight about what works and what doesn’t, which means I’m getting stronger and wiser.
  • Setbacks are temporary.
  • I will find a way through this.
  • Think! What’s the best thing to do now?

Having an “I won’t quit” mindset will make it much easier for you to persist—and refuse to give up—until you achieve your goal.

2. Watch Someone Else Persevere.

We can learn a lot by watching other people. And learning to persevere is no exception.

There are lots of great movies out there which are based on real life stories about people who faced incredible odds and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but who nonetheless refused to quit. And they managed to achieve what they were after.

Sitting down to watch these movies can be helpful when you feel like quitting. Here are three examples of inspirational movies which will allow you to watch someone else persevere (so you can follow suit):

  • Rudy – This film is a based-on-fact account of Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger, a small town boy who dreamed of playing football for Notre Dame, but was always told he wasn’t good enough (not big enough, smart enough, athletic enough, and so on). Nonetheless, he persevered until he achieved his dream.
  • The Pursuit Of Happyness — Inspired by the true story of Chris Gardner, this film is about a single father with a 5-year-old son who rises from homelessness to Wall Street legend.
  • Erin Brockovich – This is a biographical film about an unemployed single mother of three who finds work as a legal assistant and manages to bring down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply.

Watching others refuse to give up will strengthen your own resolve to keep going. Tell yourself the following: “They didn’t quit, and neither will I.”

3. Call Someone.

I’m sure you’ve seen TV shows in which someone decides to stop abusing alcohol, so they join AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). One of the things AA does for them is give them a sponsor. If they ever feel like having a drink, they’re supposed to call their sponsor so that their sponsor can talk them out of it.

When you’ve been chasing an important goal for a while, but you haven’t made much progress and you feel like giving up, call someone whom you know will talk you out of quitting. You can think of this person as a “goals sponsor”, if you will. Resist the urge to give up by calling your goals sponsor.

4. Go Back to Your “Why”.

One of the most important steps in setting a goal is to create a list of all the reasons why you want to achieve that goal. In fact, if you discover that you don’t have a strong enough “why” for a particular goal, it’s probably a good idea to discard it. After all, your “why’s” are what will motivate you to continue striving for a goal, even when the going gets tough.

When you feel like quitting, look at your list containing all of the reasons why your goal is so important to you. If need be, add even more reasons why. The greater the quantity of reasons—and the stronger the reasons—that you have to keep going, the more likely it is that you won’t quit.

5. Find a Different “How”.

Refusing to give up doesn’t mean that you should simply keep doing the same thing over and over again. If the approach that you’re currently using isn’t working, try a different approach. Continue in this way until you find a method, technique, or strategy that does work.

Tell yourself the following:

  • “I refuse to give up because I haven’t tried all possible ways.”
  • “Wanting to give up is just a sign that a different approach is needed.”

When you want to give up, take out a pen and a piece of paper and start brainstorming different alternatives you can try. Then, choose one of them, and try it!

6. Succeed at Something Else.

Human beings love being rewarded. In fact, we crave it.

When you’ve been working toward the achievement of a goal for a long time, but your efforts haven’t resulted in any rewards—you haven’t made any money, you haven’t achieved anything you can brag about to others, you don’t really feel like you can pat yourself on the back, and so on–you’ll probably be tempted to quit.

One way to stop yourself from quitting is to take a break and go do something else that you know will be rewarded. Here are some examples:

  • Write a brilliant blog post that will get you lots of social media shares (bask in the glow of the online attention).
  • Increase the length of your runs and complete a 10K (take a selfie as soon as you cross the finish line and send it to all your friends).
  • Try a new recipe and have people over for dinner (give yourself kudos every time someone asks for the recipe or wants seconds).
  • Drop one pant size in a month and go out and get yourself a great new pair of jeans (smile graciously as people compliment you on how great you look).

Remind yourself of what success feels like. Then, allow that success to sustain you for a while longer while you take another swing at your goal.

7. Use Failure As a Stepping Stone.

In 2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton— then the junior United States Senator from New York– wanted to be president of the United States. She announced her decision to run and campaigned her heart out. However, she didn’t even succeed in getting the Democratic party’s nomination, much less was she elected president.

Even though she failed, she didn’t give up on her goal. Instead, she accepted a position as Secretary of State. After all, being Secretary of State put her one step closer to the White House. It was a stepping stone.

Now, in 2016, she’s running for president once again. And—because of the foreign policy experience she gained as Secretary of State–she’s in a stronger position than she was back in 2008. I don’t know if she’ll win the presidency, but at least she hasn’t given up on her goal of becoming the first female president of the US.

If you fail as you try to achieve your goal, instead of using that failure as an excuse to quit, use it as a stepping stone.

8. Keep Chipping Away.

When you want to quit, push yourself to keep taking consistent action toward the achievement of your goal. Even if you haven’t seen results yet, you never know what may be happening underneath the surface. Look at the following:

  • The bamboo plant spends five years just growing its roots. During that time, the grower has nothing more than a small shoot as the only visible aspect of the plant actually being there. Then, after five years, the plant shoots up to 25 meters in a short amount of time.
  • You can hammer away at a rock, perhaps a hundred times, without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the next blow it splits.

Just because you can’t see anything yet, although you’ve been working on your goal for awhile, this doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. You may be closer to achieving your dream than you think. Don’t give up, when you could be just moments away from succeeding. Keep chipping away.


Achieving large, hairy goals isn’t easy. Somewhere along the way it’s very likely that you’ll want to quit. But when you feel like quitting, don’t give up. Live your best life by refusing to quit. Start by applying the 8 strategies explained above.

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