What To Do When You Feel Discouraged

Do you feel discouraged and disheartened? Feeling discouraged is something which I’ve experienced a number of times during the two years I’ve been blogging and I’m certain this is something which a lot of us feel in regard to blogging, but it also applies to just about anything. Particularly if you’re starting a new habit, whether that be healthy eating, exercise or a new routine.

The thing which I’ve noticed every time I become disheartened, is the expectations I had before I started to the reality of starting are very different, which is I’ve expected immediate results. So when I don’t get the results I expected I find myself feeling discouraged.

I did this recently when I started my YouTube channel, I set myself a goal to publish a new video once a week and three weeks later I found myself looking at the number of views and subscribers I’ve had and comparing them to others.

This behaviour is so negative and only ends in disappointment, my only goal was to post once a week therefore I had actually been acing my goal. Yet, I suddenly decided that my channel wasn’t growing quickly enough and therefore I must be doing something wrong. This behaviour is common and it’s normal to feel discouraged when you start something new, so today I want to share how to manage your expectations without giving up.


Don’t quit

Often when we aren’t getting the results we want we try to deal with the feeling of discouragement by quitting. Even though quitting won’t actually help you feel better. By quitting you are simply trying to avoid the feeling of disappointment but you will actually create more feelings like this by giving up, which is funny because this is exactly what most of us do.

I know that the option of quitting my YouTube channel popped into my head more than once when I wasn’t getting the views I expected. Even though I hadn’t even given my channel a chance to grow! So if you are starting a new project or habit and you’re feeling discouraged and you’re contemplating quitting, know that this won’t make you feel any better.

Persistence is key, and even though it’s hard to not be constantly checking to see how much progress you’ve made, it pays to persist.

Change your thoughts

Feeling discouraged isn’t caused by a lack of results but actually by the way that you’re thinking about a situation. For example, I decided in my mind that 670 views on my YouTube channel weren’t good enough after three weeks and three videos. Which lead me to feel disappointed and contemplate quitting!

This sounds so ridiculous when I think about it, because if I had changed my mindset to think that this number of views was a huge accomplishment after only three videos, then I would have been feeling motivated to create even more. So it’s really important to acknowledge that your mindset is the reason for your feelings and if you can direct your thoughts from negative to positive beliefs, then you can achieve more.

Thoughts such as “I’m not good enough, no one likes me, no one is liking my content, no one believes in me, this is never going to work“, are all just in your mind. They aren’t the truth, they are your thoughts and you can change these thoughts. Once you do you will feel so much happier and you will achieve more because you will feel encouraged and optimistic.

It’s not your circumstance which is the problem because there will be someone in the exact same situation as you who will feel the complete opposite. For me, I’m sure there was someone who started a YouTube channel at the same time and was thrilled at the number of views they had in only three weeks! And that’s all because of their beliefs.

Don’t look for a quick fix

I think a big problem we have these days is that we expect quick results and I do believe that this is because of the way things are marketed. We get told that results can happen very quickly and with this, we expect results straight away.

We expect to lose weight in a week when really healthy eating and exercise should be a lifestyle, not a quick fix. The same with social media, we expect our accounts to grow instantly and for our posts to gain a lot of attraction without putting in the effort to engage and to build relationships with other users.

Set effort-based goals

A good way to stop looking for a quick fix is to set effort-based goals rather than results-based goals. This means you will give yourself a period of time when you wont judge whether or not your new project or habit is working.

For example, for the first one to three months, you won’t keep looking at how much you’ve grown or if it’s working, you will simply turn up.

When I’m gardening I wouldn’t keep digging up the seeds to see how quickly the roots were growing. I would be patient and let them grow at their own pace. I would water them and care for them, but never expect the impossible from them. I trust that one day they will blossom and all I will do is turn up for them, water them and care for them when they need it.

Express gratitude

You’ve probably heard this so many times, but expressing gratitude can really take your focus away from what you don’t have, and bring your attention towards what you do have. It can be the little things in life which can make a difference.

It’s much more powerful to be grateful for the things you have in life and the things you’ve done as opposed to being grateful for someone commenting on your blog post or liking your latest photo. As those things are out of your control, therefore if you rely on these things to be grateful, you may find yourself disappointed another day when they don’t happen.

You can start with simple things like I’m grateful that I have the ability to run otherwise I would have missed my train to work, I’m grateful that I have the ability to hear so I can listen to my favourite podcast or I’m grateful that I have the ability to read so I can get lost in a book. Have a think now about one thing you’re grateful for today.

What do you do when you feel discouraged? Share your tips below!

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The Comments

  • Sam

    This was a very timely post for me. I’m a newish (about a year) fitness instructor and I’m always comparing my class attendance to the instructors who have been around forever and even the studio owner! So I’ll be upset because they had 12 people in class when I had 6 to 8. But even just six months ago I was lucky to have 4. So I really should be applauding myself and continuing to persevere – the students will come as I grow!

  • Giorgia

    This post is so inspiring! I agree we’re all looking for a quick fix today but everything that’s worth doing doesn’t happen overnight. It requires efforts, dedication and a lot of patience. Sticking it out is hard but so rewarding!

  • Joy

    Thanks so much for this post! I have already fallen into the trap of feeling discouraged with my new venture, and I definitely haven’t given it enough time! Not that I would want anyone to feel discouraged, but it’s comforting to know that I’m not completely off my rocker and other people experience these same emotions. Thanks for sharing, and I really enjoyed the section on setting effort-based goals—so true!

    • Those Positive Thoughts
      > Joy

      You’re welcome! and I know exactly what you mean, hearing that other people are going through the same siutation or feelings can be reassuring as most of the time people only share their life highlights not their struggles. Thanks for commenting x

  • Sabrina

    I was looking for some Monday motivation and read this post. It perfectly describes my current experience being new to blogging and all. I agree that I need to stop thinking that there’s a quick fix out there and stop comparing myself to other bloggers who magically go viral in 3 months. Good things take time and I just have to keep focuses on effort-based goals instead of “x number of visitors”. Thank you.

    • Those Positive Thoughts
      > Sabrina

      Hey Sabrina! I think so many of us bloggers face this problem of comparing our journey to others, especially those who are a lot more established! Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that the only person we should be compared to is our ourselves! Although it’s a lot easier said than done x

  • Rohaan Hashmi

    Needed this so much. Thanks you!