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When you feel like giving up, remind yourself of your ‘why’

Aug 24, 2020
You can listen to the audio version of this blog via Spotify.

Kitten heels vs tractor wheels

Ten years ago, my husband and I decided to up sticks and leave London for the crunchyside. This is what our four-year-old called it. So, with a 4 and 2-year-old, and a 2-week old baby, we moved from South East London to the county where we’d both grown up. The reason for the decision being that we didn’t want our daughters growing up in the Big Smoke, but to instead live a less hectic pace of life, and the big draw were the four sets of grandparents ( I know, greedy right?!) who lived there. When young, we’d both spent a lot of time with grandparents, so we wanted our children to build those memories too.

It was a huge culture shock. Although brought up here, I moved away in my late teens, and so it was a big adjustment moving back. I’d left my sister and best friends behind and that was a huge wrench. Then there were the silly little things that you don’t give much thought to when they’re at your fingertips - there’s no chance of an impromptu takeaway – no delivery service so you have to plan ahead when you feel like getting one! Plus, it was a shock to find out that the village shop closed at 8pm, 4pm on Sundays. We practically got the bunting out when it changed to 8pm on Sundays! How we used to rue the prices of ‘Costalotta’, which was six doors away from our London abode, but then, that’s why they were called a ‘convenience store’ – because they are conveniently open til midnight. Living in London felt like a completely different life.

In an attempt to meet people, I threw myself into every committee there was – pre-school, PTA, being a school governor, organising an annual village Christmas event – you name it, I’d volunteer. On top of working too. So desperate was I to create for myself a sense of belonging and validate our decision to move.

It all took its toll. Both my husband and I were physically, mentally and emotionally worn out. Yes, the grandparents lived fairly nearby to be able to help out, but we couldn’t expect them to be available on tap. The honeymoon period of moving to the crunchyside was over and my husband’s commute was getting too much – a six hour round trip – if the trains were running on time. Which invariably they were not.

I wanted to throw the towel in, move back to London. So, it was time to figure out our why.

Figuring out your why

If you’re training or indeed in the middle of an endurance event, growing a new business, learning a new craft, travelling miles each week for your job, working overtime because you’re saving and things start to feel overwhelming and you want to give up – stop. Take some time to figure out your why. Maybe you realise the reason you’re doing what you do, doesn’t outweigh the reason you now feel you don’t want to do it. That’s OK. Most situations are not irreversible. If you don’t want to go back on your decision because you don’t want to ‘lose face’, or can’t be bothered with more upheaval, or think you’re a failure and don’t want to take another risk etc, well then clearly your desire to make a change in your life isn’t strong enough.

The key thing is to figure out your why and then your decisions will flow from there. 

Here are some suggestions as to how you figure out your way forward:

Ask yourself:

  • Why did I choose to start this way back when? What were my reasons?
  • What is my motivation for doing this?
  • Is what I’m doing serving me well long-term or dragging me down so that I’m feeling negative more than I’m feeling positive?
  • How will I know when I have achieved what I want to achieve?
  • How do I want to feel when I’ve achieved my goal?

Make the time to:

  • Be conscious and aware of your self-talk. Are you constantly bemoaning your situation, your failures, things you wish you’d done differently? Or are you forward-thinking, learning from experience, determined to knuckle down and grab the opportunities that will make themselves apparent if you have a more open mindset?
  • Give thought to and write down some exciting assumptive affirmations. Ensure they get your motor running – that you want to be, do and have what those affirmations are telling you your life is like.
  • Script and direct a mental movie of how you want to feel when you are working towards your goal, lifestyle, achievements. What will it all look like, sound like etc? Play this mental movie to yourself again and again – always best before you go to sleep – and then that achievement will feel real to you, normal. Your subconscious brain will then get to work to make it happen, working in synergy with your conscious efforts to make it so.
  • Get a Victory Log and record your successes – whatever you deem to be big or small. They all mount up and help when the days don’t feel so great – you read back on how far you have come.
  • Start a Gratitude Journal if you haven’t already… It’s great to write down all the good stuff that happens in your life. From the phone call from a friend at just the right time when you need a pick-me-up, the shop assistant who goes out of their way to help when you’re having a blue day, to the beautiful sunset you catch one evening or the unexpected snuggle from a little one in your life.

It all helps to fill the soul with goodness and if you have the not-so-great days, you can look back and give yourself a nudge that says your life does have some great stuff.

Simon Sinek gave a great talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action and he talks about our why. He gives a fantastic explanation of how we make decisions based on emotion, not logic. He explains how our homosapien brain – our newest brain, is the one concerned with all the facts and figures in decision-making – it rationalises so therefore, this is the logic we use. However, it is in fact the limbic brain, responsible for all our feelings, all human behaviour, which drives decision-making. So, we can have all the facts and figures we think we need to know before we make a decision, but it’s our emotion that will decide. That’s why, as Simon Sinek said, someone will say for example when buying a house or a car: “I know you’ve given me all the facts and figures, the features and benefits, but it just doesn’t feel right.”

So, if you’re struggling with something you started and are wondering why you gave something else up or are choosing to work so hard at what you’re doing, strip it right back to your why. Your reasons might have changed, or you’ll rediscover your why and get yourself back on track.

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