When Things Get Tough (The Ultimate Guide + Image Quotes)

When you hit a rough patch in life, it can feel as if the problems you're facing are unique to you and that the entire world is closing in on you. It's possible that you're struggling to find a way out and can't seem to find any rays of hope when things get tough.

Fortunately, even if you don't see it, there is always hope. Nothing lasts forever, not even bad times, and remembering why you started in the first place and practicing using your courage muscle are just a couple of things that can help you get through the tough times.

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How would your life change for the better if you could find a way to not only survive but thrive when things get tough?

Here are ten things you can do right now to make that happen.

1. Recognize How Far You've Come

When you become discouraged on your journey to your desired destination, it is usually because you are only looking forward and not around or behind you. Your journey through life will last until your death, so it's no surprise that you see a long and sometimes daunting path ahead of you.

To keep going in the face of this, it's important to take a few moments to look around. Consider where you are now in relation to where you were when you first started. Consider how many obstacles and challenges you have successfully overcome in the past.
Reflective practice has numerous advantages, and it is easy to see why.

Looking back on how far you've come is usually enough to keep the fire burning brightly into the future.

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2. Remember Why You Begun

When things get tough, you need something to hold on to in order to maintain your grit and remind yourself why you started doing something in the first place. Without this all-important “why,” you will be prone to deviating from your intended path.

When things are at their worst, your primary reason for doing the thing will be what gets you through.

David Goggins, an ex-Navy Seal and motivational speaker, puts it this way:

“‘Why am I here?'” If you anticipate that moment and have an answer prepared, you will be able to make the split-second decision to ignore your weakened mind and keep moving. Know why you're in the fight if you want to stay in the fight!”

Life can be a struggle at times, especially within oneself. As a result, knowing your reasons for continuing will always help you pull through when times are tough. To help them have an even greater impact, write them down and post them in places you see every day.

3. Make it a habit to keep moving forward

Habits are among the most powerful behavioral predictors we have. The majority of our habits are formed subconsciously and are triggered by external or internal cues.

The wonderful thing about habits is that they can be formed through conscious, repeated behaviors, and with enough repetition, they can eventually take their place in the subconscious and guide your life.

(((Instant Book Preview of What to Say When Things Get Tough)))

Of course, you want good habits, not bad ones, to guide your life in the background. That is why it is a good idea to develop the habit of always moving forward.

There will be slip-ups, bad days, and circumstances that throw you off course, but the key to moving forward is to get back on track as soon as possible. You can always get closer to where you want to go if you make that a habit.

4. Make use of If-Then Planning

When things get tough in your life, one of the most effective frameworks you can implement is known as if-then planning.

This is a condensed version of a concept called Implementation Intention, which was developed by psychologist Peter Gollwitzer in the mid-1990s. It enables you to make sense of perplexing situations and take action when you are truly struggling.

  • The streamlined procedure is as follows.
  • “If x occurs, I will do y.
  • As an example.
  • “If I start having negative thoughts, I will stop for ten seconds and just breathe.
  • “If I am extremely stressed for three consecutive days, I will take the fourth day off to recover and reset.

If-then planning creates a plan for when things get tough. It eliminates the need for thinking, planning, and worrying because you already know what you need to do in each situation.

The beauty of using if-then is that you can change the if and then for different situations depending on what works best for you at the time.

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5. Locate Some Mentors

With the internet becoming more accessible than ever, there are so many ways to get a glimpse into the world's top minds and see what they do in their personal lives when things get tough.

Most successful people had to overcome significant obstacles to get to where they are today. If you conduct a simple online search, you will undoubtedly learn about all of the obstacles that your favorite people have had to overcome.

More information on what to look for in a mentor can be found in this article.

As a result, you should try to draw inspiration from these individuals and find your own mentors. It is important to recognize that no one attempting to live their best life will ever be able to do so without encountering their fair share of difficulties. That is simply a part of the hero's journey.

6. Get Out of Your Own Way

All of your reasoning, thinking, planning, and ruminating in the world won't always get you anywhere. In fact, for serial thinkers and problem solvers, spending too much time in your head often results in even more struggle rather than a release of it.

Yes, some problems can be solved by thinking, but when the going gets tough, it is usually pure heart, emotion, and grit that will get you through. It is important to be aware that your mind has the potential to become a tyrant.

(((Instant Book Preview of When Times Are Tough)))

When you feel your own thoughts weighing you down, it is time to step out of your mind and into your body for a few moments. Lift some weights, go for a run, or go for a leisurely walk.

The mind and body are much more connected than most people realize, particularly when it comes to emotions and fears, and doing something good for the body often helps the unsettled mind as well.

7. Forgive Yourself ruthlessly

When things get tough, one of the worst things you can do is be too hard on yourself. Everyone goes through these external and internal struggles, and the harder you are on yourself for having them, the more difficult and traumatic the episodes will be when you inevitably make a mistake.

Many people are far harsher on themselves than they are on others, and in order to persevere in difficult times, you must be as compassionate with yourself as you would be with your best friend.

When you are at peace with yourself, it is much easier to get through the difficult times. You'll be surprised at how much less pressure you feel when you take the time to forgive yourself.

8. Begin with Smaller Steps

People frequently make mistakes in life because they try to do too much at once. Big steps can sometimes be too much to take, whether due to overachievement, unrealistic expectations of themselves or others, or some unexpected curveballs.

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The truth about large steps is that they are uncommon, disruptive, and difficult to maintain without collapsing. The big steps—the truly life-changing goals and dreams you have—can frequently be broken down into much smaller steps that are more manageable and will get you to the same place.

If things are getting particularly difficult, it's possible that you're trying to do too much at once. Take smaller, more manageable steps to see if obstacles and difficulties become easier to overcome.

9. Make use of the “Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage” technique

Everyone will agree that the courage we have within us is often limited and difficult to sustain over long periods of time. We have a tendency to believe that making a significant change in our lives and breaking free from a rut necessitates long periods of courage that we simply cannot muster.

The good news is that this is not the case. The majority of pivotal moments of change in your life—including digging yourself out of a hole when things get tough—are the result of small, courageous decisions made in brief, precise moments.

Using twenty seconds of insane courage when it is needed is often enough to completely change the course of our lives. Whether it's asking for that promotion, going to the gym for the first time in months, or having the courage to overcome your insecurities and ask someone out, most of these things only take a few seconds of insane courage.

Check out this TED Talk with Susan David to learn more about developing a strong sense of emotional courage:

10. Recognize that your motivation will dwindle

One of the main reasons people become discouraged and struggle to keep going during difficult times is that they did not expect their motivation to wane.

When we begin a project, enter a relationship, or embark on something new and exciting in our lives, we are motivated and excited. We begin to consider all of the positive outcomes that could result from these events.

However, as time passes, motivation levels inevitably fall, and you begin to focus on the negative aspects of what is going on or the added responsibility that you neglected to consider.

When this occurs, you have two options:

You can put on your rose-colored glasses and falsely remember how perfect everything was in the past.

You can put on your realistic glasses, face the challenges, and continue to progress toward something better.

When your motivation wanes and you don't feel like doing anything anymore, you've passed the true test of character. The key is to recognize that everything is fleeting and that you don't need motivation to act.

Motivation is nice, but the true test of character comes when motivation inevitably fades. Will you persevere in those moments?

Final Thoughts

That's all there is to it. Each of these ten ideas for how to keep going when things get tough is adaptable enough to be used in almost any difficult situation.

There will be many difficulties in life. This is not something to be afraid of, but rather something to embrace. You can make it through these stormy waters a little easier if you follow these steps.

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You have heard it all before: "Live life to the fullest", "follow your dreams", "be who you are" and "if it is meant to be, it will be". These are all wonderful quotes that are meant to help you live a happy life but they miss the point. Our lives are interconnected with each other and with the world.

No matter how hard you think you try, there’s always going to be a certain level of stress in your life. And when stress gets out of hand, it can start to negatively affect your life. But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are some easy steps you can take to improve your life in the long run, and we’ve found a few that can help you enjoy a better life and get rid of stress.

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