a man standing on top of a mountain with his arms outstretched.

I Give Up: 10 Things To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up

Rachel Sharpe

You’ve been working so hard, trying to do everything you can to the best of your ability, but somehow here we are thinking to ourselves, I give up. You’re not a quitter; you’re just exhausted from always giving it your all and somehow constantly falling short. Your brain is screaming at you, “I’m not good enough, I’m not good enough.” And you know what, for once, it’d be nice to be able to silence those thoughts just by not doing anything at all. But we both know you’re not going to give up. It’s not in your blood. You’re not a quitter. So, this stranger on this internet will help you figure out your next plan of attack. In this article, we’ll share the top things to do when you feel like it’s time to give up.

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I Give Up: 10 Things To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up

1. Meditate 

When your back’s against the wall, and you’re telling yourself, I give up; it’s time to practice a guided meditation. You probably don’t meditate much and that’s causing your thoughts to go in a million directions at once. Your anxiety might be building up from the stress of fear or failure. Look, if you want to get back on track, you’ve got to rewire that brain of yours. Your brain isn’t doing fine if it’s thinking, “I can’t do this, I give up.” You can’t spend the rest of your life hiding from tough challenges that come your way. That’s not what life’s about. You’re the hero of your story. The main character can’t give up yet. 

Enter meditation. Meditation is a breathing exercise that helps you become mindful of your thoughts. Right now, your thoughts are telling you a story that you’re automatically believing. But people who meditate quickly realize that they don’t know the source of their thoughts. People who meditate can watch their thoughts enter their head and slowly leave it too. And you realize that all that negative thinking happening in your head isn’t actually coming from you. Mind-blowing, right? Okay, so let’s practice a quick guided meditation for hope right now. And if you’d like to practice meditation regularly so you can ease your wandering mind, you can check out the Declutter The Mind app (the meditations are free).

2. What’s Holding You Back?

After practicing meditation a few times, you might notice that thoughts about giving up creeping up. What is it that’s holding you back from moving forward? You might be in emotional pain, experiencing fear of failure, or some other event. You might be swayed by the toxic people around you telling you that you can’t or shouldn’t do something. Your inner critic might be criticizing you to the point where you feel hopeless. However, we won’t be able to give you an answer on what’s holding you back and where you feel stuck; that’s for you to pinpoint and reverse. 

What we can help with is reminding you that all of this was something you once wanted. And it’s possible to achieve and experience something even if it’s hard to deal with on your own. You deserve to have the life you’ve always dreamed of. But that life comes with challenges, hard work, and paying your dues upfront. The story isn’t over yet until you firmly say I give up and stop taking action. But if you’re reading this article about what to do when giving up, then it’s a sign you’re not actually ready to call it quits. You want this roadblock out of your way. So, getting rid of this obstacle or finding a way to jump over it is your next big step. 

3. Ask For Help

When you feel like giving up, it’s time to ask for help. You might find a therapist who will help you find coping strategies and provide you with a pep talk to help you get back on the right track. You’ll likely do exercises that require you to challenge your thoughts with evidence rather than assumptions or other thoughts. Ultimately, you’ll need to learn how to rewire the brain to challenge negative thoughts, and therapy is helpful for that kind of mental work.

Other people you can ask for help are the friends and family around you. For instance, if you feel like giving up on something, you can ask those around you if they’ve ever given up on something and regretted it? And they’ll likely say yes and tell you why. However, I challenge you to ask them if they ever gave something up and were happy with their decision. Sometimes, giving up on something leads you to a new path that you end up enjoying a lot more. So, by asking for feedback from those around you and their experiences, you can decide about whether you firmly say “I give up” and quit or “I give up” and start a new journey. 

i give up

4. Visualize The Future You Want 

When you feel like giving up, it’s time to visualize the future you want. Visualization can be a motivational tool to help you picture life in a whole new light. You can try this visualization meditation that you can practice each morning to help you picture your new day and start the day off right. The more you practice visualizing, the better you become at doing it on your own. And eventually, you subconsciously begin taking action to create that world you want for yourself.

Another way to visualize the future you want so you don’t give up is to recite positive affirmations. Regularly engaging in positive self talk can help you reframe the negativity your brain is currently conjuring up. Motivation affirmations can also be helpful if you’re thinking about giving up on a task, project, school, or job. Essentially, how you visualize your life and think is what got you to this point of giving up. Now, if we make some tweaks to that thinking pattern and visualize our success and happiness, we’ll re-spark the motivation so that you can go after what you truly want in life. 

5. Take A Look At Your Goals

When was the last time you took a look at your life goals? Have you had a chance to write them all down yet? If you haven’t, creating a list of things you want to achieve in life can help you determine where your passion and values lie. You might choose to pursue a new opportunity based on where you find most of your goals align with. Your goals and values will change over time. So, if you’re giving up on one thing to pursue something else that excites you out of bed in the morning, then it might be time to revise what your goals are.

However, if you don’t have a Plan B because you still want plan A, it might be time to create new goals to get you back on the path towards your dreams. You’ll need to create milestones to help motivate you during those losses or setbacks. If you didn’t know, every person can achieve any goal they’d like as long as they work hard enough. So, being good enough just requires a bit more work. Maybe you need to train differently, experiment in more ways, or find a better mentor to help you achieve your goals. 

6. Change Your Approach

When you start to tell yourself, I give up, it’s often because what you’ve done in the past hasn’t worked for you. For example, you might’ve studied really hard for a math test and failed miserably. You might think to yourself, “I’m bad at math.” Final giving up statement. However, maybe you aren’t bad at math. Maybe you just fell behind earlier and need to relearn some stuff you’ve been taught but fell behind in. If you were to learn math from earlier grades, you might be able to pick up the lessons you’re being taught now better. A lot of learning is building on top of other lessons. So you might be naturally good at something, but falling behind due to external factors hides that truth. 

Another way to change your approach is to plan ahead. For example, if you have a goal to win an award at a conference, you might notice people plan for the event within a specific time frame. For example, someone might train for that away for a year. However, if you start preparing to win that award three years in advance, you might be more likely to win it. Why? Because you might lose in year one or two and be able to revise your approach based on what you’ve learned from your failure. People who plan for winning in advance tend to win more. 

learning from mistakes

7. Accept The Past

You have to start letting go of the past. The past was once real, but now it’s just in your head. You live in the present moment where the action is happening. So, while it’s human tendency to time travel to the past and future in our minds, that’s not where we have the biggest impact. In the present moment, we have control over our actions. We can forge new pathways in our lives, bringing us closer to happiness, inner peace, and calm the mind

There are many things we can do in the present moment to prevent us from giving up. For example, right now, you can create a plan of action on how to move forward from your loss or setback. Say your soul mate died of cancer. You can’t bring a person back to life, at least not at this moment in scientific history. However, you still have people in your life that you can enjoy spending time with. So it’s time to make those people a bigger priority in your life. Let the loss remind you how finite life is to make sure you live your life to the fullest

8. Show Self-Compassion

Now that you’ve taken some time to accept the past, the next step is to show some self-compassion so that you don’t listen to the thought “I give up.” You can try some of these self compassion exercises to start your journey towards giving yourself some care. Often, when we’re in pain from dealing with a difficult situation, we become meaner and harsher towards ourselves. However, that mean voice in our heads isn’t going to get us towards happiness. It simply blocks us from allowing ourselves to experience life as a human.

Being human means experiencing loss. You’re going to lose people, jobs, contests, money, and a whole lot more in life. Instead of panicking about what we’re losing right now. Focus on what you can still experience. I mean, right now, you’ve still got enough life in you to experience so much in this world. Instead of hanging out in that toxic mind of yours, how about stepping out into nature and watching life happen all around you. Notice how the birds fly without a care in the world or how rabbits casually hop away from danger. You can live carefree too. Learn how to love yourself again by just living life like every animal on the planet: without thoughts.

show compassion when you feel like giving up

9. Celebrate the small wins

When you go from feeling the sentiment “I give up,” and transition to “I’m going to try again,” the most significant change is celebrating the small wins. Making a point to celebrate the small successes keeps you motivated in between bigger wins. Big wins don’t come often for most people. So it’s important to have micro wins where you celebrate a new milestone or step forward in the right direction.

For example, if you’re trying to quit smoking cigarettes. A small win would be to smoke one less cigarette a day. And once you get to one, you alternate days where you smoke a cigarette so every other day instead of one a day. And slowly, you begin to stop smoking. For example, if you quit smoking cold turkey and then gave up by smoking one, it’s not completely over. You can wean yourself back to zero. Addictions are hard to quit, so there’ll be times when you say I give up. However, by celebrating the small wins, you can move towards ending the addiction slowly. 

10. Create A Positive Environment

When you feel like giving up, it’s essential to create an environment of positivity around you. For instance, you’ll need to be around supportive people who believe in you and cheer you on in this next chapter of your life. You’ll also want to have positive posters, art, or decor in your home to help frame positive thinking. You can also find a coach or mentor who helps you rework your journey to get you on the path to success. 

Another way to improve your environment is by creating a new routine. For instance, you might start reading positive books before you go to bed. That way, you learn something new, productive, and relax before you sleep. You could also go for long walks, which can help spark new ideas for helping you achieve your goals. Ultimately, you can reshape your life by making a couple of minor tweaks to your daily routine. 

i give up coach


Instead of saying I give up, we encourage you to think I can do this, I will achieve this, and I’m ready for this next phase of my life. It can be tough to deal with blows, loss, and failure. However, there’s no one more capable of accomplishing your goals than you. You’re a brilliant person who will achieve so much in life in these next few months or even years of your life. While change can be hard to deal with, you’ve already experienced so much change. So you’ve got the built-in tools in you, ready to take on this next phase. We wish you well on your journey because we know you won’t give up. 

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