Feeling discouraged is a universal feeling. We feel discouraged when something doesn’t work in our favour.
We feel discouraged when we can’t seem to reach our goals, when we don’t get the results we hoped for or we may feel discouraged because of what someone said or did to us.
The reasons are never-ending.
But as much as we want to always be enthusiastic, focused and disciplined, we cannot skip this feeling when we are working on our goals or going after our dreams.
So it’s better to expect to get discouraged along the way so that you can navigate this feeling better.
But when the feeling of discouragement comes and we don’t feel like we have it in us to keep going, what do we do?
Well, today I’d like to share some of my tips on what to do when feeling discouraged.
But before that, let me answer a simple question,
Is it okay to feel discouraged?
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It’s completely okay to feel discouraged.
Right now you might be trying to neglect this feeling or wanting to get rid of this feeling of discouragement, but getting discouraged is actually a noble reminder that you are taking the brave path.
It’s a reminder that you are going out of your comfort zone and a reminder that you are becoming strong.
Consider this- you wouldn’t be getting discouraged if you weren’t trying something new or challenging yourelf in something.
You wouldn’t be getting discouraged if you were only watching Netflix all day.
You wouldn’t be getting discouraged if you weren’t trying hard enough to reach your goals.
It is only when you are trying to reach your vision and goals that you get discouraged.
So allow this feeling to come and embrace it as a reminder of your progress instead of it being a reminder of your inability.
Here is my entire post on: why you should allow yourself to get discouraged.
I hope this post encourages you to keep going.
And once you accept discouragement, you will then be able to navigate and overcome this feeling better.
But before we get to what we must do when feeling discouraged, it’s good to first understand the reasons why we feel discouraged.
Why do we feel discouraged?
Discouragement comes in various forms and because of a whole lot of reasons.
My reason for being discouraged might not be the same reason why you got discouraged, but in general, here is what I’ve found out about the most common reasons why we feel discouraged.
- Working till the point of burnout
- Too eager to see the results
- Setting high expectations too soon
- Getting hurt over what someone said
- Seeking instant gratification
- Not setting the right goals
- Forgetting your why
- Not allowing yourself to get uncomfortable
Because of all these reasons, here is what you must do when you feel discouraged.
What to do when feeling discouraged
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1. Take a break
Feeling discouraged often comes together with the feeling of burning out. We have no fuel to move ahead and we feel that there’s no way we can gain our motivation and inspiration again.
Then giving up seems like the only option at hand.
But when you start feeling discouraged, allow yourself to take a break instead of straightaway telling yourself that you can’t do it anymore.
Learn to take a break and learn to rest. This will go a long way.
When you are working towards something, it might seem that is the only work you should be putting your energy into, but that is not sustainable.
You need to learn to rest, take things slowly, engage in hobbies, and do other things as well that fill your soul with joy, pleasure and happiness.
Maybe it is going out for a walk, maybe it is meeting a friend instead of cancelling plans because you think you are too busy, or maybe it is just resting, cooking or anything.
Do things that recharge you if you’re feeling discouraged. You need not always get back to work if you are discouraged.
Often what you need is just a break so that you can re-focus better.
And next time, don’t work till the point of burnout.
2. Stop all comparisons
The main culprit of our discouragement is our comparisons.
Our mind is too quick to compare, but when you compare make sure that you are comparing yourself with someone who is on the same page as you.
Don’t compare your page 1 with someone else’s page 100.
Far too often we end up comparing ourselves with people who have started out on their journey much ahead of ours, and we end up thinking that we’re already too late to start this.
But remember that Now is a perfect time to do whatever you’re trying to do.
We all regret having started late, but if you stop now because you think you’re late, know that after 5 years you’ll still be thinking you’re too late and you’ll be looking back at this very time wishing you had started then and not given up.
So stop all comparisons.
Don’t look at anything that makes you compare and simply focus on your own journey.
Don’t compete with anyone. It will make you bitter and resent others’ success.
Instead, focus on your own journey. Wish well for your own journey and expect the best.
Time is going to pass anyway.
3. Focus on the process, not the result
If you’re constantly worried and focused on the outcome, you’ll get discouraged too soon.
The outcome is never guaranteed. It may happen or it may not happen. You cannot control the outcome or when it will come to you, but what you can control is what you do with your process.
Your job is to not worry about when you will get the result, your job is to only focus on the process and keep showing up.
If you are getting discouraged now because your results seem too far away and the uncertainty is too big, consider how you are following up on the process.
So I’d say just forget about the outcome and instead just focus on the process, and the good news is that once you focus on the process for a long time, the results you wish for start coming showing up.
Also, that’s how you attract your luck.
4. Lower your expectation
Many times we get discouraged because our expectations are unrealistic. We set our bar too high.
Not even been one month since we start practising yoga and exercise, and we expect our bodies to be as flexible as our instructor’s.
We start a business and expect customers to come flooding in.
Start running, and we expect our body to match up with our mind’s version of fitness and stamina.
You need to lower your expectation and keep it to a minimum and then slowly progress from there.
When I first started my blog, I kept my expectation really low.
I told myself, “Even if just one person reads and benefits from my blog, I’ll keep going”
And that’s what I did. I kept going even when only a few hundred people were visiting my blog.
I lowered my expectation and slowly tried to level them up.
5. Surround yourself with the right people
Very often in life even before we are about to start something, we get discouraged because of what someone said to us.
We are more likely to meet people who say it’s not possible, who say it won’t work than those people who encourage us to start something new or believe in our dreams.
They are more likely to suggest instead of support. And it’s okay.
You do your thing and bring awareness to what people are saying to you and accept only that which you want to.
Stop waiting for people’s permission. You don’t need anybody’s permission to follow your dreams.
Don’t let someone else’s words let you neglect your present.
If someone tries to bring you down that leaves you feeling discouraged, ask yourself, “Are they even worthy to be listened to?”
“Are they also following the direction of their dreams?”
“Are they also doing uncomfortable things?”
And if not, you should pay no heed to them.
The right people will always support you and encourage you no matter what and that’s the kind of people you should surround yourself with.
6. Let go of instant gratification
Our mind loves to receive instant gratification. If we are given a chance to choose between $2000 now or $10000 in 10 years, we are more likely to choose $2000 at present.
It’s just how we function.
We love to receive praise, compliments, validation, bonuses, and results right from the start.
And it is because of this need for instant gratification, most of us give up too soon.
If you want to keep going, you need to keep your eye on the long term and train your mind to let go of instant gratification.
Let go of the need to be appreciated, praised, or given bonuses or get the fruits of your labour too soon.
The question is, ‘What would you still do even if you didn’t get back anything in return?’
Having a strong why helps. If you have a strong why for why you are doing what you are doing, then you won’t focus too much on instant gratification.
7. Track what you can
An easy way to overcome getting discouraged and keep yourself motivated is to track what you can.
Set SMART goals that are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
If your goals are SMART, half of your problem gets solved and you are more likely to achieve them.
The reason this works is that once you start tracking the numbers, you are more likely to get motivated because you actually see the numbers and track your progress.
So if you are feeling discouraged now, I highly recommend you start tracking and setting measurable goals.
8. Let go of perfectionism
Perfectionism is a killer of many dreams and hopes. And perfectionism comes as a disguise to us as a virtue.
Whereas in truth, all it makes us feel is hopelessness and the feeling of not being good enough.
It makes us compare, compete and utterly discouraged.
But you need to allow yourself to be a beginner.
You need to be satisfied with your good enough.
This does not mean you put out something carelessly and do not give your best.
What I mean to say is give your best to the best of your ability with how much ever you know, how much ever resources you have, and then when you know better, do better.
Until you know better, your work is to only do you work to the best of your ability, and then when you know better, you must do better.
Here is why I am no longer rooting for perfectionism:
9. Make your why strong
If you are feeling really discouraged and you don’t see the point in continuing, go back to your why.
What is your why? Why did you start it in the first place?
I have found that if we start something just because it seems to be working for someone else, or because you want to start making money, or because that is what is trending, or because you want something for your own personal benefit, then our why isn’t that strong and we are more likely to give up.
Whereas if your why also includes a greater cause where your intention lies beyond benefitting just your personal self, then you will overcome discouragement more quickly.
The truth is we all get discouraged, so it’s not a matter of not feeling discouraged at all. It’s about continuing even after getting discouraged.
It’s about not getting defeated in the first, second or even hundreds of instances of discouragement.
So return to your why and make your why strong.
Whenever I am getting discouraged, I write down my why and come back to my why again and I know why I must not give up.
10. Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable
We feel discouraged because we feel uncomfortable.
If this is the first time you are going out of your comfort zone, expect to get discouraged.
Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable. Allow yourself to be talked about and judged.
You might want to hide somewhere nobody can see you, and you might get utterly uncomfortable, but no matter what allows all of this feeling.
It will be better if you maintain a journal and write them, and write all your feelings and thoughts in your diary.
They will help you navigate this feeling better and somehow I always feel the wise self emerging when I write.
That wise self guides me and encourages me when I write and soon the discouragement goes away and I am left feeling encouraged.
11. Visualize the outcome
Often we also feel discouraged when our own relationship with self goes haywire, and when this happens we find it extremely difficult to see our long-term outcome.
You need to come home to yourself again and again so that you can visualize the outcome better.
Slow down, relax and visualise the outcome you want to create.
Create a vision board, sit for meditation, write in your journal and visualize your outcome.
See clearly in your mind the outcome you want.
Give time to visualise so much so that you start feeling that you have already received it.
12. Show up
Lastly, the only remedy for overcoming getting discouraged is to renew your determination and show up.
Strengthen your determination and learn to show up despite everything. Show up even when you don’t feel motivated. Show up even if someone criticised your work.
Show up even if you feel discouraged.
It’s normal to get discouraged, but if you don’t show up, you might soon get defeated. So the only thing to do is to keep showing up and make showing up easy for you.
Action overcomes discouragement.
So keep showing up.
Final thoughts on overcoming discouragement
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Getting discouraged is a normal human feeling. Never getting discouraged is what would be abnormal.
So it’s not a question of not getting discouraged and disheartened, but how we are able to keep going despite this feeling.
Focus on the process, let go of perfectionism, get rid of all comparisons and only focus on your journey.
Know that you are not in competition with anyone, not even yourself.
You are here to just do your work, not judge it.
You are here to just keep doing the best of your ability, and when you keep doing that, your ability will naturally get finer and finer, and that will give you encouragement.
Not getting discouraged would mean you staying where you are, and not trying to challenge yourself.
So expect to get discouraged when you move on the path of your dreams and allow it to transform how you see the situation.
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- how to set the right goals