15 Things to Tell Yourself When You Want to Quit

By , SparkPeople Blogger
On day two of my hike to Machu Picchu, I was beat. My lungs felt like they were going to explode, my quads had quit and the calves were violently cursing me. As my body traded insults about which part was in the most pain, my brain kicked in. "Hey guys, let's all just relax, I've got some Queen queued up," she said. "All together now: Tonight I'm gonna have myself a real good time. I feel ali-hi-hi-hive and the world, it's turning inside out! I'm floating around in ecstasy. So don't stop me now. Don't stop me, 'cause I'm having a good time, having a good time!"
Freddie and friends carried me all the way through the tears that tough day two and on to the Sun Gate two days later. When that quitting part of the brain starts raising its voice, it's staring myself in the mirror and repeating that classic Marine saying, "Pain is weakness leaving the body," or mouthing the words to "Work This Body" that keeps me going. Angry breakup song lyrics work well, or sometimes it's literally visualizing looking like a rock star in that dress I bought last month. Whether it's a breathing technique, mantra, your group fitness instructor shouting a one-sentence inspiration or song that keeps you going, having the ability to power through that moment of wanting to quit is key in any kind of training.
In fact, your brain is actually wired to keep you from discomfort, meaning that when you're pushing your body to its perceived limit, your brain will step in to "protect you" from yourself. According to a CNN interview with Dr. Emma Ross of the English Institute of Sport, your brain senses muscles deteriorating from fatigue and will do what it can to keep them from being damaged. "In an untrained person the [central nervous system] is quite conservative but shifts as you train," Dr. Ross says.
Train your brain to overcome those natural barriers and you'll be shocked by the things you're able to complete. Which is why having an inspirational saying can mean the difference between defeat and dominance. It can be all too easy for your brain to talk you out of pushing your body to the next level, so steal one of these motivational sayings submitted by SparkPeople staff and members and reach that next level of fitness prowess, whether that means hitting a new PR walking on the treadmill or completing that last set of bicep curls with the heavier weight. 

When the Going Gets Tough

Chris "SparkGuy" Downie: In this situation, there are a few things I do. I challenge myself to get better every day, knowing that this short-term workout challenge will lead to positive results and major breakthroughs in all areas of life if done consistently. I visualize my goals that will be easier with improved fitness, like being a better father. I [also] track my average fitness minutes per day, so during a tough workout, I know that each minute helps me maintain or increase that average. This [mindset] helps keep me from stopping while nobody is watching because that average is a coach for me.

Mike Honkomp, Ad Operations and Yield Director: What keeps me going? I think about how far I have come and what I used to be. Thinking of how out of shape I was four years ago, not able to run a quarter mile or do two pushups, [and] that is usually enough to keep me going.
TRACEE5: You just hit three miles—I bet you can't make it to 3.5! I love challenging myself!
Melissa Rudy, Digital Health and Fitness Journalist: If I'm struggling during a run or workout, I will often say things like, "You're strong" or "Can't stop, won't stop." It's amazing how just saying the words out loud can change my mindset and remove the option to quit.
MOMMO77: Stopping when it got hard was what got me where I am now. Keeping going will get me where I want to be.

Jen Mueller, Community Director: When I’m in the middle of a hard run or totally spent hitting pads during Muai Thai, I remind myself that I would never want my kids to see me quit. My mantra is "Be tough for them!"
Rachel VonNida, Vice President Accounting: When I am running and feeling like I want to stop, I take a deep breath and try to relax my brain. I try to clear my head and enjoy the moment or song I am listening to or view or running partner.
MOTIVATED@LAST: Slow down, recover and then go again. Just don't stop.
Paul Elfers, Vice President Engineering: When I'm in that spot—lungs hurting, legs hurting, ready to quit—I have the audio from these two videos among my mp3s. When I'm running or working out, I'll sometimes put them on as "music" and they're pretty motivating.
Amanda Kanaga, Chief Revenue Officer: I say a few things when I do my boot camps, spin classes or go for a run: no pain, no gain; make my kids proud; defy age; be that strong mom; don't let someone else win; and feel the burn, it's my turn!

Elizabeth Lowry, Assistant Editor: I usually just tell myself, "If you quit now you're just going to have to do it all over again, so shut up and finish."
RUBYREDSTAR19: You'll never make it to the Olympics if you don't keep pushing!
Merle King, Customer Support Specialist: I try to tell myself, "It is easier to keep going than it is to stop and restart later." Sometimes it's, "Just 10 more minutes! Surely I can do anything for 10 minutes."
MLAN613: Each step gets you closer to the finish line—and there's a medal at the finish line!
Kelly Crockett, Office Manager and Human Resources Coordinator: When I feel like stopping in the middle of a workout, I remember that I can do anything for five more minutes! When that five minutes is up, I tell myself I can do anything for two more minutes! When this seven minutes have passed, I'm generally past my "Make this stop hurting" point and I can focus on why I work out—which, let's be clear, is so I can have a glass of wine without guilt!

What do you tell your body when your brain tries to tell you to stop?

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1SUZIQ11 11/26/2018
These will come in handy Report
EO4WELLNESS 10/29/2018
thanks Report
DEE107 9/26/2018
thanks Report
Thanks ! Report
I have never been athletic and now as a 65 yo senior, I can sometimes work through pain, but not usually at a lot of the levels mentioned here. I am not the Marine mentality. But I do push myself to try a little harder frequently. sometimes I end up with injury or soreness that can last a month or more. So, I am careful. If this works for you, good. Report
RYCGIRL 2/8/2018
thanks Report
This is such good advice. Thank You. Report
These are fantastic suggestions. I feel like I need a printable list for my cube wall when I don't feel like taking a walk.

Not sure why someone would read this article if they didn't want suggestions from people they (probably) didn't know? Report
I care little for what other people say/do. I don't know the people offering suggestions or advice.

Bottom line, If I want to stop, I will stop. If an activity is boring or difficult to the point of not enjoying it, why continue. There are many other options that I will enjoy. Report
love the suggestions. Report
Great article! Report
Great article! Report
I never want to give up. Report
Some.favorites, Die fat die! You are strong! You are a beast! And a Jillian Michaels favorite, "if you dont faint, puke, or die keep going!" Report
Keeping a chart of the miles you walk/run/swim. As you cross them off, you will NEVER have to do that mile again. So keep going to complete that next one, knowing that it will be forever behind you. Report
great advice Report
good advice here Report
I trash talk myself. What's wrong with you - you can't do 5 more? Report
My mantra is stronger, sexier, and skinnier. Report
Just one more.... Report
There are also workouts that are fun and you don't have to push yourself to do them. Pushing yourself is fine, but find things you enjoy, too. Report
Great article! Report
For me, battling severe diseases since age 6.5, its never give up, as to quit means being in a wheelchair. Report
Great article and comments!
Don't be a quitter, or a wus Report
My friend and I used to do the 2 day, 60 km walk in Toronto. Day 2 was all mental. Just kept telling ourselves - 5 more kms. one more hour, etc, and taking it in small chunks. We always made it! Report
The further we go, SparkFriend, the further we can go. When I get to that point, I feel like it's worth it to do better, and to be better. We can and will do it! Report
The song "Tick, Tick, Boom." "Because I have done it before. I can do it some more. I got my eye on the score. I'm gonna cut to the core. Is it to late or to soon?OR is it, TICK, TICK, BOOM!" Report
what keeps me going? In addition to how GOOD I feel, I look at my closet full of clothes and no way am I giving them away! Report
Recently while doing some jogging intervals (new for me) on the treadmill The words of a song on my music app provided some inspiration - "Don't quit, don't give up, you're an overcomer" came through my ear buds and made me smile. While I didn't need them at that moment, I thought they were good words to tuck away in my brain for the times when I am struggling to complete the allotted jogging time. However, I do listen to my body if I know I may not be feeling 100% or am extra tired and scale back a bit. Report
The instructor in one of my gym classes often reminds us, "you can do anything for five minutes". That was the first time I heard it and it stuck with me. I love it! Report
Comment for ETHELMERZ - I think these comments help people finish, finish the work out, finish RACES where you can't just stop. It's about achieving something bigger than you thought and attitudes of I can just quit are why people don't achieve what they truly can. But if you don't want to do the extra mile and want to stop then too bad for you. These comments and ideas of how to push through motivate people. Way to go everyone for pushing through - some days it is extra hard to run the last mile Report
This is baloney, do what you feel like, stop when you feel like, your life does not require you to make such a big deal about exercise, you aren't being paid to push yourself so danged hard. I don't care if someone does some exercise for an extra long time or whatever, it does not make me want to give them a medal. Over hype about all of this. Report
My physical therapist says that there should never be pain during a workout. It is good to push yourself to do more, but the "no pain, no gain" philosophy may just send you to a physical therapist in the end. Do all you can, and push through the moment you want to stop exercising, but make sure you are not in pain. Report
one step at a time one minute at a time and watch them add to 10 min. Report
I tell myself, "Just one more step, one more step," and I try to focus every ounce of attention one that one more step. Focussed attention wins out over the negative voices that want to quit. "Just one more step -- you can do it!!" Report
My mantra: "Mortify the flesh, fatty."
How does your body know the difference between "oh, it hurts, better stop now" when you can truly keep on going, and "better stop because you've just injured yourself" (even when you might not realize you are injuring yourself. I've done that before so then recovery takes weeks... Report
I can do it for 8 more, count that down then 8 more until I am done. I also think of my grandson, & keep going. Report
What do I do when my BRAIN tells me to stop? I usually stop because that means I have made an analysis of the situation and have concluded it is in my best interest to stop. However, if my BRAIN is picking up discomfort in my body, it assesses if the discomfort is minor and if continuing will turn into actually pain and if I could potentially damage myself. If not, and it is just I am a bit fatigued, or the muscles just feel a bit worn, I may push myself more as you do have to push if you want to get stronger. But outright "pain"?? No. Unless it is an emergency and you will hurt yourself more by not moving, it makes no sense to keep going if you are in pain. And...I believe anyone who does so deserves what they get for being so foolish. Report
I tell myself, I am going to like myself more, be prouder of myself, if I do it. I am going to feel bad about myself if I don't. So I do it so I won't feel bad about myself later. It's no lie. Report
My mantra for my race tomorrow: "Each step gets you closer to the finish lineā€”and there's a medal at the finish line!" I'm in first place in my age group after race 3 in this 4 race series, so I know this is true. If I just run the way I have been, there's an award for me following the race!! I can do it. I want to do it. It's going to be fun, even if it gets tough. Report
I tell myself "don't listen to her, she is wrong most of the time" :) Report
If anyone can get you going, it's Freddie Mercury :D Report