Everyone has times when they feel overwhelmed by the direction their life is taking. The feeling that you’ve been chasing your dreams for far too long without the results you were expecting is all too common and can result in you wanting to give up.
Emotions can run high during these times and outside pressures can add to a pot of stress that’s just waiting to boil over. It can leave you feeling hopeless, confused and questioning the viability of what you’re doing.
Though it may seem as if you’ve fallen into a deep dark hole, please don’t lose heart. Try to remember that your emotional state is more than likely causing you to overreact and the mountain that you see ahead, is probably really more of a mole hill.
The trick is to break things up into bite-sized piece that can be tackled more easily and allow you to see some progress as you slowly move towards your goal.
It can also be helpful to set aside some time to ask yourself some tough questions to help renew your passion and find a clearer direction for the future.
Helping you get back on track
It’s time to take off the blinkers and step away from your unhappy self to analyse the situation from a new perspective. These are a few questions you might like to consider when you take a look at how you’re trying to achieve your goals.
Am I just stuck in a rut?
A tough one, particularly if you’ve been doing the same thing for a long time, but it can be really useful in determining why things aren’t going to plan.
– Am I enjoying what I’m doing?
– Am I doing this because it’s all I know?
– Am I doing it because someone else expects me to?
– Am I resistant to change?
Am I realistic in my expectations?
Again, it’s important to be honest with yourself if you’re going to be able to move forward.
– Are the goals I set for myself achievable?
– Am I trying to do too much?
– Do I need help with the things I’m not that good at and am I willing to listen to others and their ideas?
Do I have a mental block?
Sometimes it’s not that your idea isn’t a good one, but more about your attitude towards your own success.
– Am I afraid of being successful?
– Am I confident and believe in myself and what I’m doing?
– Am I too emotionally involved to see the bigger picture?
– Is this really working or do I need to change my approach?
Do I need a break?
Many ambitious people become obsessed about what they have to achieve and when. They often forget about the important things that make them (and others) happy.
– Do I work too hard?
– Am I neglecting my loved ones?
– Am I tired?
– Do I allow myself to have fun?
If I give up, what sort of impact will it have on my life?
When we ask these difficult questions, we sometimes realize that what we’re doing is in fact no longer what we want or enjoy. There’s no shame in deciding it’s time to move on to other things and it can actually be quite liberating. But before you do, you might like to consider:
– Have I given this a chance to work?
– Is there someone that can help me get back on track?
– What would I do if I wasn’t doing this?
– Would it be a relief and would I be happier to move on to something else?
– Do I really want to give up my dream?
Ideas to help lift your mood when you’re feeling down
When you’re feeling emotional and deflated, you’re definitely not going to be productive. Rather than trying to soldier on in a sad state, take a break and give some of these mood-lifting ideas a try.
– Put on some upbeat music.
– Take your dog for a walk.
– Take a nap and recharge your batteries.
– Connect with people you love.
– Watch a humorous movie.
– Take a break from work and do something fun.
– Go away for the weekend.
– Do some deep breathing or meditation.
– Practice mindfulness.
– Relax in a warm bath.
– Do some gardening or exercise that gets you outside.
– Talk to someone about your feelings.
– Be grateful for all the wonderful things in your life.
– Use affirmations to reinforce your worth.
– Make yourself feel better by cheering someone else up.
– Challenge yourself to do three kind things each day. Here’s some ideas.
– Talk to positive upbeat people.
– Do something creative.
– Forgive someone you’ve fallen out with.
– Give some hugs.
How to stay motivated for the long haul
Celebrate your successes.
Many dreams need years to really take off and others are passions pursued over a lifetime. With such a long haul ahead, I’d like to think that you’re finding happiness and fulfillment along the way.
To stay motivated and find the enjoyment in your labour, it’s essential that you reward your hard work by celebrating the small victories as they happen. Remember, if you’re only working to see an end result, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment if it’s a large project that may never really have an ending as such. To ensure you’re enjoying your journey instead of feeling it’s a noose around your neck, be sure to acknowledge each step you take forward is helping you gather momentum and should be seen as a victory.
Learn from your mistakes.
You’re not always going to make the right decision. Mistakes are an inevitable part of any venture as it grows, but instead of beating yourself up, see these as opportunities to learn. Don’t be negative about a wrong choice, instead look at it constructively and use it to make better decisions in the future.
Remember why you started.
As time goes by and you focus on the work element, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and forget what inspired you to take this journey in the first place. Revisiting the feelings that stirred your passion and remembering the reason for embarking on this challenging endeavour can help you find your passion again.
Be inspired by people who have beaten the odds.
When you look back in time, there are countless examples of people whose strength and unshaken determination have seen them achieve amazing things. Invest some time finding out about people like Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, Chris Gardener (watch The Pursuit of Happyness), and Stephen Hawking. Read an autobiography of a sports person, entrepreneur or spiritual leader you admire.
Don’t take your work home.
Everyone needs a healthy balance of work, family, friends and time to themselves. Putting all your energy into your work could burn you out and that tunnel vision could put important relationships at risk. Make a rule that you start at 9am and finish at 5pm and stick to it!
The important thing to remember when you’re feeling like it’s all a waste of time, is that anything worth doing takes requires patience and determination. So before you throw all your hard work down the drain, acknowledge what you’ve already achieved and be proud that you’ve made it this far.
Author: Lisa Currie, Ripple Kindness Project
Lisa is the founder of Ripple Kindness Project, a community program and school curriculum that aims to improve social, emotional and mental health, and reduce bullying by teaching and inspiring kindness. The ongoing, whole school primary curriculum, teaches children about their emotions and the impact their words and actions have on others. It provides opportunities for children to be part of kindness activities, allowing them to experience the feel good emotions kindness produces.