How to Keep Moving on a Project When You Want to Give Up


I have to admit, getting this website and podcast set up has been a bit of a challenge for me. I have been so spoiled by working with Apple software almost exclusively for the past 7 years. Getting WordPress, Bluehost and Libsyn all working, writing copy and prepping for podcasts has been a trip. I don’t think I could have done it without my wife, Madeline helping me with all the online stuff.

This type of thing perfectly demonstrates to me how one can look at something and just want to give up because it’s too much. I’ve seen it in my clients eyes as we start to tackle a big project, and now it’s my turn again. I know Apple software and desktop apps like the back on my hand. I can download a new app and figure it out almost immediately but website, video and podcast setup is a whole different animal. This post is my pep talk to myself when I want to give up.

How to keep moving on a project when I want to give up:

  • Take a deep breath, look up from the computer screen and realize I’m still ahead of the curve. I have a computer and I know how to search something on Google. I have the world at my fingertips. This isn’t too hard, it’s just new.
  • Realize I’m frustrated about having to learn something new. Wait, say that again. I’m frustrated I have to learn something new. Change *have* to *get*. Let’s try that again. I get to learn something new. Smile!
  • Realize there is someone out there who is frustrated about the same thing and one day I might be able to help them through this same thing and save them the headache. (Make it about someone else to stop feeling sorry for yourself).
  • Break it down. Ask what am I trying to do? Write down your objective. Eg. I want to set up my podcast with a host, link it to iTunes, and link it to my blog. Keep the objective clear, stop going on bunny trails asking what’s this and that along the way. Remember what you’re doing and finish that, and move to the next objective.
  • Repeat “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me” over and over. I hope you click on the link and have a good laugh…

Annnnd that worked for me. Back to work trying to figure out this podcast.

What do you do to keep yourself moving when you want to quit?


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Shawn, thanks for being so vulnerable. You’ve proved your third point right here!! Thanks.

    What do I do to keep myself moving? Well, I don’t do a very good job of it, but one thing I go back to, time and time again, is to remember the “why” of what I’m doing. I’ve said it before, that people lose their way when they’ve lost their why.

    I love your steps. Especially changing “have to” to “get to.” That is powerful.


    • Thanks, Gail! I totally agree with remembering the why. That’s so important. I should make a list in reminders of the why behind it all to refer to each morning 🙂

  • Melanie

    Shawn, I loved this post. So glad to see you here, on your own virtual ground (though you are MISSed at 1:1). To keep motivated I think about the people I love; I think about who I need to be, for their highest concern(s). Thanks also for the Stewart Smalley link… what is up with me that I like him so much? lol

    • Hi Melanie!! I know Shawn’s missed at 1:1. But … now he’s really free to customize what we need. And without feeling rushed! I, for one, am really grateful. 🙂

      • Melanie

        Yes! Absolutely!! 🙂

    • Hey Melanie! Thanks for sharing, I like the “who I need to be” part a lot. We are constantly changing and I always want to focus on changing for the better. It’s good to revisit that from time to time, I think. Who am I now, and who do I need to be for my own sake and the people closest to me… Great things to think about 🙂 Glad you like Stewart, so good!!!

  • Great post, Shawn. I know exactly how you feel. In fact, I feel that way at least once a week. You are doing exactly the right thing by pressing through. It’s a great life skill.

    I have a friend who is about my age who runs marathons. Several years ago, he ran the Boston Marathon with his daughter. At about mile 21, when most people want to give up, she asked him, “Dad, please remind me: why are we running this stupid race?”

    Without missing a beat, he replied, “Because we are practicing not quitting.”

    • Yes! Love practicing, not quitting! I’m trying to approach this as I do learning an instrument. I’m practicing and I’ll get better!

    • Great point @mhyatt:disqus, knowing and keeping the “why” at the center of our thoughts allows us to keep persevering forward.

  • Kurt Lytle

    Hi Shawn,
    I love the perspective of “get to” vs. “have to.” Over the last several years I’ve learned to ask, “what does this challenge make possible when I do overcome it?” I spent 27 years in technology and you’re right.. sometimes you just need to push back, take a break and then new things will be revealed to you. Yes, being of help to someone else having the same problem is very rewarding. I’m looking forward to following your journey. God bless!

    • Thanks Kurt! “What does this make possible” is much more exciting than the thoughts racing through my head before I wrote this. So good to keep in mind!

  • Motivation causes us to start a project but it’s perseverance and endurance that allows us to finish it. I try to keep the end in mind when I’m working on a project or task, thinking about how I will feel when I’m finished. Great thoughts!

  • Hey Shawn,

    A great reminder! We’re days away from a very large product launch, which is way outside my comfort zone, so I really needed to hear this.

    See, you just helped me.


    • Awesome! Best of luck on finishing your project!