Three Reasons You Are Giving Up On Your Dreams (and What to Do About it)

In this issue of “3 Things”, I’m going to share three reasons why you might be giving up on your dreams and what you can do to turn it around and find greater discipline, fulfillment, and joy. Listen to the full podcast episode of Flow Over Fear where I elaborate on these three things.


  1. You don’t have a compelling enough dream.
  2. You are pushing too hard, too fast.
  3. You are trying to go it alone.

I’ve failed at nearly every workout program that I’ve bought.

It always starts out strong, I’m super pumped to get… well, “pumped”, and then after a few days or weeks that excitement fizzles out into complacency or burnout. I would go back to my unhealthy habits (usually worse than before), and then the vicious cycle would continue.

Can you relate to this story? The problem is that we have an impulsive desire, we chase it with all our effort for a short time, but we can’t stay consistent so we give up on our goals too early to make a positive impact. 

It’s true with everything, not just fitness programs. From finance, to relationships, to personal development. Everything. There’s a formula.

Desire > 110% action > Honeymoon phase > Complacency/Burnout > Give up…

Of course this viscous cycle is demoralizing and unhealthy. It can lead to frustration, burnout, self doubt, or worse.

Fortunately, there is a solution that can help us to avoid the viscous cycle of the “world of willpower”, and get us onto the virtuous cycle of the “domain of discipline.” It is there that we can find purpose, consistency, and joy in the journey. And you can do it by avoiding these three traps.

You Don’t Have a Compelling Enough Dream

When spent my days and evenings eating potato chips on the couch… (okay, sometimes I still do), I used to watch a lot of infomercials (this I no longer do). 

Many times I would see advertisements for fitness programs promising six pack abs and a ripped bod in 90 days. Johnny Biceps, the celebrity trainer, would make it sound easy. Just 6 easy payments of $29.99, and those abs could be mine!

I, of course, bought into it (because I loved fitness programs with an expiration date!). 

This was an impulsive decision. And impulsive decisions lead to impulsive action. The problem with impulsive decisions is that we have a lot of excitement, but not a lot of control over our enthusiasm at the very beginning. This is great… as long as we’re able to retain that initial enthusiasm. But that enthusiasm wanes as soon as things start to get hard, we get distracted, or something else. 

The desire wasn’t compelling enough to keep us going even when things got hard.

The solution is to develop a Big, Brave, and Clear dream. This is a dream that is grounded in meaning, core values, and what I call the “Oh Shit!” factor. 

Have you ever had an experience where an idea hits you like a ton of bricks. A perfect combination of fear and excitement pop up in you as this idea strikes you as if you heart is saying “eureka!”, and your brain is saying “nope.”? Your mouth seems to automatically respond with “oh shit!”

This is called the “Oh Shit!” factor… and you should probably pay attention when it happens. 

It’s telling you that you have a desire that is lighting you up and is pushing you just up against your comfort zone. It is a signal that you might have a dream worth pursuing.

Then making sure that this dream has a compelling enough meaning behind it that it becomes a MUST not just a desire.

Have you “Oh Shit!” yourself lately?

You’re Pushing too Hard, Too Fast

We are surrounded by influencers who promote giving 110% all the time. Of course, giving 110% sounds sexy. Most of the people giving 110% look sexy doing it. WE want to look sexy… so we think we need to give 110%.

The problem is that we give 110% and burn ourselves out, leading to us giving up before the miracle happens. 

The truth is, the path to success in any venture is largely unsexy. It requires what I call 80%/5%

Instead of giving 110% all the time, aim to give 80% consistently. This gives you the capacity to give ourselves the rest, recovery, and clarity to remain disciplined and avoid burnout. 

Then as you progress, aim to push beyond your comfort zone just 5% per week. Contrary to popular belief, when we are faced against our fears or challenges, we don’t need to run full speed, head first past our comfort zone. We just need to push 5% past where we are at right now. That assures that we are growing AND keeps it interesting without the dreaded burnout.

By practicing 80%/5%, before you know it you will be on the cusp of achieving your compelling Big, Brave, and Clear dream.

You’re Trying to Go It Alone

When I first started doing triathlon, my brain told me that I had no business trying to participate in the sport. I had no experience, and had no idea what I was doing. Naturally, what I needed was guidance. 

The problem? I was too embarrassed to seek out that guidance. 

Have you ever felt embarrassed as you started to pursue something new? Did it push you into trying to go it alone?

Going it alone keeps us well within our comfort zone, but it also makes it extremely easy to give up. Nobody will know that we gave up on our dreams!

This is one of the first acts of courage you have to take in your pursuit of your Big, Brave, Clear dream. To find a community. 

A community serves multiple purposes. First, it gives us access to potential mentors. Mentors are people that have what we want that are willing to help us with a path and guidance. The second purpose it serves is it gives us access to people that are working toward the same goals AND will help us with support and accountability. 

The key thing to remember with community is that engagement is key. You will only get from a community what you give to it, and take it from me, the more you give to the right community, the more you will grow.

If you can avoid these traps, you can steer clear of saying “yes” to impulsive desires and the viscous cycle, and say “YES” to the dreams that lead to fulfillment. You will enter into the virtuous cycle of achievement. You will experience continuous growth and fulfillment.

If you would be open to discovering how you can rise above fear and realize your ultimate potential, reach out to me for a free strategy call. I look forward to hearing from you!

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