Do you sometimes feel like you’re stumbling through life?

You set big goals for yourself because you’ve heard that all successful people do this. But with each goal you try to pursue, comes a series of setbacks.

After a few of them, you’ve forgotten what you were so excited about in the first place.

You abandon your dream, letting it die a slow and painful death.

You set another goal only to have the same pattern repeated. It’s almost too much to bear.

Breaking the cycle

You want to quit but something keeps bringing you back to the table.

Maybe you want to lose weight, or write a book, or have better relationships. How do you motivate yourself to try again instead of giving up? How you break the cycle of moving from one thing to the next.

Here are some ideas that may help you stay the course:

1. Realize that life is rarely a straight path

Talk to any successful person about how they achieved their goals. Most of them will tell you that success did not come easily.

This is true even for people with special talents, financial resources or other advantages. Deconstruct their stories and you’ll learn the one thing that mattered most is this:

How many times did they get up after being knocked down by life?

We tend to give up too soon. Getting knocked down two or three times can feel like a lot. But some people literally get knocked down hundreds of times before they experience a real breakthrough.

Are you feeling down and out right now? Chances are you still have more fight in you. You just have to be willing to get back up.

2. Don’t trust your feelings

The real reason why we fail to get back up is that we put too much stock in our feelings and emotions.

Want to overcome your setbacks? Stop trusting your feelings. In fact, try a little reverse psychology on yourself.

When you’re feeling too tired to exercise, go hit the gym. If you’re feeling uninspired to write, go grab your laptop and bang out five hundred words. It won’t be long before you start noticing real progress.

3. Examine your motivations

While it’s important to stop trusting your feelings, you may want to start examining your motivations.

In other words, what’s your big why?

For instance, many people would like to run a marathon. Maybe you’ve heard an inspiring story of someone who went from being a couch potato to running ultra marathons. Maybe it inspired you to begin running and now you’d like to run your first marathon.

But what’s the real motivation behind your desire? Is it to impress other people the way you were impressed? Do you even like to run? Honestly exploring these questions may reveal why you’re often beset by setbacks.

Discovering you’re doing something for the wrong reasons may give you the freedom to either change your goal or change your “why.” Maybe instead of just trying to impress people, your motivation can be to inspire your kids to become physically active. All of a sudden, your why is big enough to overcome any setback.

You are stronger than you think

You may not know it, but you are stronger than you think.

If there’s something in life that’s important to you, there’s almost nothing that can stop you…except you.

So get out of your own way and keep moving forward.


Cylon is a spiritual chaplain, musician, devoted husband, and busy dad of seven. He blogs about practical spiritual tips for living well at Spiritual Living For Busy People - sign up and get his free guide 20 Little Tricks To Instantly Improve Your Mood Even If You Feel Like Punching Something (or Someone) You can also purchase his book Self-Love: How to Love Yourself Unconditionally


  1. This is such valuable advice. I am forever telling my son that he can’t believe and live according to his his feelings. That ‘s a recipe for disaster. I speak from experience! Yes, they give a person important information, but that is one one form of information. We all need to insert some intelligence. Of course, many people go too far the other way. Finding a balance is best.

  2. This happens for so many of us so often. It can be hard to keep our motivation going when we keep hitting bumps in the road. Thanks for these great tips. I like having the flexibility to change when I revisit my original motivation and find it’s not what I really want.

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