We all get to the point where we want to quit, but only a select few of us have the inner fortitude to push through the tough times and get to where we want to be.
I’m not a quitter. My parents taught me about pain tolerance and I am very grateful for them for teaching me about determination.
But as I’ve been through more and more tribulations in my life, I’ve learned some practical tips to manage pain and manage doubt when I am feeling discouraged. It’s one thing to say that you are “stronger than your pain” and hype yourself up with motivation. It’s another to actually have a few coping skills up your sleeve that you can depend on when you aren’t feeling motivated or inspired.
Here’s three that I can share with you.
Pretend You’re Not Tired
I learned this great little trick on a podcast today when I was driving home from work.
The idea is that you can trick your body and your mind into feeling revitalized, simply by acting like you aren’t tired.
I tested it out on myself. Tonight, I completed a very difficult workout. I won’t explain the entire workout to you, but know that it was about 40 straight minutes of sets that were 30 seconds on and then 20 second break. Rowing machine, push-ups, burpees, planks, squats and a few other exercises that make you want to quit.
I felt most tired after the rowing machine and after the burpees, so after I was finished those sets, I imagined that there was a crowd around me watching and that I couldn’t let them see how tired I was. I wanted the crowd to look at me and think “hes got this, look at him, he looks fine.”
I would finish these exercises and do my best to stand right up and walk around my garage normally as though nothing was happening. Sure, my muscles were burning but my mind was clear. I knew I could jump back into another set.
It’s a funny little trick, but it really did work.
Naturally, this little mind trick applies outside of working out. It can apply at the end of a hard days work or on the home stretch of a 3 day sprint to hit a deadline. No matter what it is, just act cool.
Show your best poker face. Just act like you’re not tired.
You Can Always Do One More
When I lived in Florida, I would go running a lot late at night.
On one particular night I had a Forrest Gump moment. I got to the turn where I usually turn back around and instead, I decided to keep going. Then again at the next turn and again at the next turn. I don’t know why I did it. Till this day, it is one of the longest runs I’ve ever been on. I ran for two and a half hours or so. I honestly don’t even know how far it was.
By the end of the run, I was in a lot of pain. My legs were killing me. I was starting to doubt if I could finish.
Every time I started thinking about the finish line, I would get overwhelmed and think to myself that there was no way I could do it. So I stopped thinking about the finish. I would look up and find a telephone pole and just try to run to the pole.
As is always the case, the closer I got to the finish, the harder the run got. So each time I took a step I would say to myself one more step.
“One more, one more, one more, one more.”
I swear I did that the entire last mile of that run. But I ran it all the way in. I didn’t quit. It is one of my proudest moments in life. I wanted to quit so bad, but I ran it in all the way by running one step at a time.
No matter how tired you get, you’re almost always capable of doing one more.
Do one more rep. Take one more step. Make one more sales call. Read one more page. Take one more set of practice shots. Whatever it is, whatever you’re calling, you can always do one more.
The only way to find out how far you can go is to go to the point where you can’t go any further. Once you get to that point, it’s totally acceptable to stop and catch your breath.
But until you get to your absolute breaking point, you can always go one more.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
I say this out loud to myself every day, sometimes multiple times a day.
Life isn’t always filled with excitement or Instagram worthy snapshots. Most successful people will tell you that many of their days are spent doing arduous tasks. There will be days when you are questioning if you’re doing the right thing or even if what you are doing is worth it.
But you will stick with it because you care about the prize. You care about the celebration dance. You care about popping champagne in the locker room.
So if you don’t want to keep going, try to remember why you started. What are you putting in all these hours for? What’s the point?
Think about the trophy. Think about the successful business. Think about the home you want to buy or the dream vacation you’re saving up for. No matter how tough it gets or how monotonous it becomes, always keep your eye on the prize.
That should get you to the finish line.
Separate the Winners from Losers
Talent plays a role in success, but toughness plays a bigger role.
Grit is your badge of honor. Determination is your super hero cape. It’s natural selection. Do you have what it takes or don’t you?
The real question is, where do you want to be? Most importantly, what are you going to do when you don’t want to go any further?
I hope you will keep going.