Feeling disheartened and 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 regards 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 done this recently when I started my YouTube channel, I set myself a goal to publish a new video a once 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.
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 which 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 from the way that you’re thinking about a situation. For example, I had decided in my mind that 670 views on my YouTube channel wasn’t good enough after three weeks and three videos. Which lead me to feel disappointed and to contemplate quitting! This sounds so ridiculous when I think about it, because if I had changed my mind-set to think that this number of views was a huge accomplishment after only three videos, then I would of been feeling motivated to create even more. So it’s really important to acknowledge that your mind set 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 ones 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 are the problem because there will be someone in the exact same situation as you and 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 the 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 loose 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. Which means you will give yourself a period of time when you wont judge whether or not your new project or a 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. You will turn up to the gym without checking if you’ve lost weight, you will go to that yoga class without seeing if you’re move flexible, and for me, I will keep creating YouTube videos without checking if my views has increased.
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, to water them and care for them when they need it.
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 which 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 tips do you have to stop yourself from feeling discouraged and disheartened?