What do you do to motivate yourself when you are about to give up? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Nela Canovic, productivity hacker, writer, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur, on Quora:

It's hard to resist the urge to give up! But you can give yourself a motivation boost with these 5 hacks to get back on track with what you're doing:

  • Congratulate yourself for making it this far. It's really important give yourself kudos for the small wins, and not just wait for the big payoff at the end. Why is this important? Your brain doesn't know the difference between progress and perceived progress, so you're better off giving praise for the small steps you DO succeed in. Watch this TEDx talk featuring B.J. Fogg, the Director of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University, to see why the secret is not in the big wins but in the small ones.
  • Resist getting emotional about it. Sometimes it's that voice that you hear saying, "I can't do it! It's too hard!" If it is, just chalk it up to the fixed mindset talking. What's a fixed mindset? It's your belief that your personality, skill set, and strengths are "fixed" i.e. you have them from birth, and that that's just how it is. What's better? Adopting a growth mindset: believing that you can cultivate strengths and skills through your efforts. That is hugely empowering! Read Carol Dweck's book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success to better understand how you can make lasting change with continuous effort.
  • Tap into the bigger picture. Ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?" Whatever you are working on, zoom out of your current situation and connect with the initial reason you started doing it. This will remind you that your actions are directly linked to your personal or professional goals. Maybe you started working on acquiring a new skill such as playing an instrument to finally fulfill a lifelong dream. Or, you are studying for exams, so that you can get a degree that will open doors for you to embark on an exciting career and gain financial independence. Or maybe you're looking for a job that is a better fit for your skill set and your career path than the last one you had.
  • Consider that maybe you're a victim of self-sabotage. Maybe it's not external factors that are making a task impossible, even though you'd like to think so ("My manager hates me!" or "The professor is deliberately making the course difficult to pass!"). Maybe the real reason is you and what you're doing (or not!) to make it difficult to reach your goal. Is that entirely impossible? Not really. It's more common than you may think. Check out this article to find out how changing your environment or adhering to the 2-minute rule can break this bad habit.
  • Take a break. We tend to make bad decisions when we get tired and our concentration is just gone. Maybe you've spent hours sitting at your desk or working on a challenging task, and your brain is telling you it needs a break. What are some things you can do? If you don't have a deadline later in the day, take a few hours off and go outside for a walk or a bike ride. If you have a project due later this afternoon, maybe you can step away for 30 minutes. You can also take a power nap to get energized to work more later. Or you can find other ways to relax, such as listening to music or reading a chapter or two from a good book. Your brain will thank you for it!

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