When I was a teenager, I witnessed my father work through excruciating pain and constant vomiting, as an ugly cancer ate him alive. With his every last breath he continued to work as a teamster to secure a future for my mom, brother and me. He fought all the way to the bitter end, so much so that when he took his last breath, we were relieved. He was not an easy man to let go of; it was like losing the sun.
To this day I cannot fully explain how watching someone fight for their own life changes the people around them.
I learned how not to give up – not on my dreams – not on myself.
8 Ways to Not Give Up On Your Dreams–
1. Find someone who is suffering more than you and help them.
Get up dammit. Get up and do your dream in the honor of Michael J Fox, Christopher Reeve, and in honor of anyone who has it more difficult than you and go help them with their big dream. If you won’t do it for you, or your children, do it for the ability to stare at yourself in the mirror at the end of your life and say,
“I gave it my all for my big dream.”
2. Ask for help.
Swallow that pride (which isn’t doing you or anyone around you any good) and call an old friend. Tell them you miss them. Ask them to come visit you and help you brainstorm a way out of your problem. Call a minister. Call someone. ANYONE. You will be pleasantly surprised to find how much you are loved and who is willing to help you to not give up on your dream.
3. Change a routine.
If you get up at 6:00 every day, try 5:45. Drive a different route to work. Go for a walk, even if it is only to the end of the block. Change something. Hell, change your underwear.
4. Write down everything in your life to be grateful for.
There is always something – even if it only seems to be having toilet paper. There are people in this world who don’t even have that.
Do you have shoes? Heat? Are there flowers outside? Do you have pets? Children? Parents? Eyesight? Can you walk? Do you still breathe? Can you hear music? Do the birds still sing outside? make a list of all the things in your life that get you through your day that you don’t even think about – and be grateful for them!
5. Stop watching TV for a week.
Deny yourself the news or anything negative. Put yourself on a “I will not say, see or participate in anything negative for a week” diet.
Refuse to complain about anything. Put a band on your wrist and any time you want to say/ do/ be / listen to anything negative – snap that band against your wrist to snap yourself out of it. You will be shocked to learn how often you let “stinking-thinking” lead the way in your life.
Stop it. Stop it today.
6. Keep all your commitments and your appointments.
If my father could keep doctors appointments when he couldn’t stop vomiting (and I am sure there are cancer victims living this right now) you can show up in your life and pursue your dream – even when you don’t feel up to it. I am certain you showed up for Junior High school most every day when you were 13-years-old.
If you can make it through THAT period of your life, then you can make it to your commitments that help you dream.
7. Think about where your life will be a year from now if you give up.
Think about your life a year from now if you don’t give up, then if you do. Which story do you want to tell at the end of the year?
8. Find a way to laugh.
Rent your favorite comedy movie. Find your favorite comedian on YouTube. Read only the comics section of the newspaper for a week. Laugh for no reason. Get down and roll around on the floor laughing. If you own a dog, you might get your face licked. Be a child. Do something silly.
Find a way to smile at your dream.
The important point is to make yourself do something to move yourself away from defeatist thinking. If I were a betting person, I would bet that there are people who love you more than you can possibly imagine – right now – and they are counting on you to achieve your dream.
Just remember the noble words of Michael J Fox:
“The only thing worse than an opportunity you don’t deserve is blowing an opportunity.“
Don’t blow your dream opportunity by giving up!
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Catherine Hughes is the founder of 8 Women Dream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead but don’t hold that against her.