How Do You Stay Motivated When You Want to Give Up?

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Health Assured team

05 April 2017

“Of course, motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.”

If you are like most people, there are days when you just aren’t feelin’ it. It might mean hiding under the covers rather than throwing them off to face the day. It could look like setting goals and then missing the mark, as in archery, followed by taking your ball and bat and going home.

I know, I’m mixing metaphors, but I’m sure you get the idea.

In my therapy practice, I sit with many clients who describe a lack of motivation as a core issue.

  • “If only I could sustain momentum, I wouldn’t feel so depressed.” This can feel like a Catch-22 since at times depression drives lack of motivation.
  • “I never learned how to accomplish my goals; no one ever modeled that for me.”
  • “I get really excited in the beginning and then my energy just fizzles out.”
  • “I start out doing well and then drop the ball.”
  • “I feel successful for a little while, make a mistake, then give up.”
  • “I self-sabotage a lot.”
  • “With ADHD, I start a project and then my attention gets pulled in another direction and things fall by the wayside.”

Sound familiar? Read the full article here.  


Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in happiness. Scientific studies are showing many benefits from mindfulness in all aspects of our lives which appear to affect people of any age in an extremely positive way.

These include in relationships, performance at school or at work, in sports performance, our physical and mental well-being and positively affect levels of empathy and compassion towards others. Being mindful is something which is actually quite easy to do but in today’s busy world it is easily forgotten and very few people do this naturally.

Through practice and patience, anyone can learn and benefit from this technique.


  • Relaxation – Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.
  • Body sensations – Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Notice each part of your body in succession from head to toe.
  • Sensory – Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches.
  • Emotions – Allow emotions to be present without judgment.
  • Cope with cravings such as chocolate and allow them to pass. .
  • Pay attention. Notice external sensations such as sounds, sights, and touch that make up your moment-to-moment experience. The challenge is not to latch onto a particular idea, emotion, or sensation, or to get caught in thinking about the past or the future. Instead, you watch what comes and goes in your mind, and discover which mental habits produce a feeling of well-being or suffering. Learning to take notice and be more aware of the present or being ‘mindful’ can have a great effect on your personal health and wellbeing.

Make it happen Some suggestions to increase mindfulness and taking notice:

  • Resolve to walk more often and notice your surroundings paying particular attention to anything you notice which is new e.g. a house you never noticed, a particularly beautiful tree or plant, the sounds, birdsong etc.
  • Pay attention to the food you eat and how the foods you eat make you feel
  • Try something, new anything that you are interested in
  • Join a club
  • Join a meditation class
  • Look for the good in those around you
  • Help out a friend in need
  • Do something kind, things for others
  • Begin to say “Thank you” more often

Finally, take time to notice things around you:

  • Say thank you to a colleague who has pulled out all the stops to help you
  • Say thank you to the next person who treats you kindly
  • Spend time with a loved and notice all the special things about them

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