We’ve all experienced that pivotal moment when pain or frustration makes it impossible for us to take another step towards the goal we set for ourselves. Somewhere, a voice in our head says, “Enough.” It’s too hard, it takes too long, it’s too painful to proceed, we tell ourselves. So we stop. We give up. We quit. But what leads us there? Why are we unable to push the pain or frustration aside?
Fear of Judgement
Many people who are struggling with weight loss are afraid to step into a gym. Why? Because they are afraid people will judge them. The same story can be found in every experience in life that we deny ourselves.
As a BJJ professor, I know how powerful the fear of judgement can be because I see it all the time. Students come in and they are too afraid of looking inexperienced and silly, rather than living in the moment. When we care more about what others think than the experience we’re having or accomplishing the goal we’ve set, we set ourselves up to quit. Don’t be embarrassed to be new at something.
You’re probably thinking, “Well, duh.” After all, we don’t set goals for no reason. The outcome is important to us. But hear me out, alright?
Let’s go back to the weight loss example for a moment. Many people quit their efforts to lose weight over and over again. Sure, this can be for many reasons, but often it’s because they’re committing themselves to the outcome of their goal, not the journey or the changes it takes to get there. When we have tunnel vision surrounding our goals, we undermine and underestimate the challenges it takes to get there, the amount of time it takes, and the experience we can gain with the right mindset. When we prioritize our health, whether it’s mental or physical, and the experience, we give ourselves a better chance at success.
Comparing Ourselves to Others
Much like the fear of judgement, it’s completely human to compare our journey and experience to those of the people around us. If we look at our peers and find that they are progressing more quickly, we are likely to feel discouraged and frustrated in ourselves. We start telling ourselves that we aren’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough, et cetera, to continue. Rather than pushing past our self-doubt, we give up because it’s too painful to feel such disappointment in ourselves.
When we stop comparing our stories to those around us, we open up the door to embrace our struggle, to accept our own tale and all that make it unique and inspiring. We all start at different places, struggle with our own demons, and have different thresholds for dealing with pain. Accept that your experience is yours, and yours alone, and you have a better shot at staying on the road to your destination.
Giving up is easy. Facing challenges, managing pain, and dealing with the emotional baggage that comes with chasing your goals is hard. It is. I won’t lie to you. But that tough experiences you face when setting out to accomplish a goal will pale in comparison to the regret and pain you’ll feel when you give up.
Push through the fear of judgement, wave away those you compare yourself to, and cherish the entire journey, even the bad parts. When you can do this, your goal will be so much more fulfilling when accomplished and you’ll stay strong even when you want to quit.
Remember the old cliche, “You can do whatever you put your mind to.” Though overused, it’s for good reason. It’s so incredibly true.