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Feeling Defeated? 13 Ways to Get Your Life & Motivation Back

Feeling defeated is a normal human emotion that happens even to the best of us. However, just because it happens to everyone doesn’t mean that it’s easy to overcome and manage. When you’re consumed with negative emotions, it stops you from moving forward towards your goals and ambitions.

The feeling of being defeated and discouraged is so similar that it makes you feel stuck, with no idea which direction to head towards or how to even move forward in life.According to the released Harvard Youth Poll of 2,513 Americans ages 18 to 29, 51% of young Americans said that at least several days in the previous two weeks they had felt down, depressed or hopeless. 

There has been plenty of times in my life where I’ve felt like this. Whether I need an uplift, this quote from Dolly Parton has helped me.

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”

Dolly Parton

What Does It Mean To Feel Defeated?

Feeling defeated can happen because of several reasons. Whatever those reasons may be, it means that you don’t have any motivation or energy to fulfill your purpose or accomplish your goals.

For some, this feeling is so extreme that even getting up in the morning feels exhausting and unbearable. You feel discouraged with the outcome of your life and you don’t know how to move past what you’re feeling. 

It can cause you to lose interest in the things you used to love doing. Because of an outcome that you didn’t like, or a feeling of hopelessness and discouragement.

It’s also a sign that the things you normally do in your life are no longer working and a big change is required from you, which is often a positive change. While this feeling is often temporary, it can be so overwhelming and all-consuming if you don’t know how to manage and cope with it.

There are many things one can do that will help them overcome feeling defeated. Some methods work better than others. Here are 20 things you can do to stop feeling this way:

1. Create a Gratitude Journal

It’s so easy to focus on everything you lack instead of appreciating the things and people you already have in your life. By definition, a gratitude journal is a type of journal focused on the aspects of your life that you are grateful for. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by discouragement and negativity, a gratitude journal will help you keep things in perspective and focus on everything you already have around you.

Here is a list of some of my favorite gratitude journals you can get on Amazon:

Gratitude Journal: Invest few minutes a day to develop thankfulness, mindfulness and positivity
The 5-Minute Gratitude Journal: Give Thanks, Practice Positivity, Find Joy

Let That Sh*t Go: A Journal for Leaving Your Bullsh*t Behind and Creating a Happy Life (Zen as F*ck Journals)

All you need is a few minutes of your day to write a few things you’re grateful for during that day, and you’ll be so glad that you took that time.

Feeling defeated might be difficult, but you can counter that feeling by focusing on the bright side of things. Even when you’re surrounded by so many negative things in your life, you can always find a few things to be grateful for, such as your loved ones and things you enjoy.

A gratitude journal might not take away your feeling of discouragement immediately, but it can help shift your perspective and mindset to a more positive note. If you still struggle with how to shift this mindset, I wrote an article on 4 Kinds of Negative Mindsets That Are Harmful—and How to Shift to a Positive Mindset that you can check out. 

2. Watch How you Speak to Yourself

The way you talk to yourself is very crucial to overcoming feeling defeated. The story we believe to be true comes from how we talk to ourselves. If you talk to yourself with hate and criticism, then it’s only natural that you’ll feel defeated.

You need to talk to yourself with kindness and compassion. There’s no need to add any negative thoughts when you’re trying your best. Treat yourself the way you would treat a close friend because chances are, you wouldn’t talk harshly to someone you care about. 

Learn how to value yourself because you matter and you should never underestimate how valuable you are as a person. You should encourage yourself the way you encourage others around you when dealing with difficult situations. When you switch to positive affirmations towards yourself, you’ll feel more encouraged and hopeful rather than discouraged and defeated. 

The way you talk to yourself defines everything in your life, including the times you’re feeling defeated. The level of confidence you have will determine your ability to achieve your goals. 

You’ll always feel inadequate or not good enough if you keep talking to yourself in a negative way.

However, if you talk to yourself with optimism and encouragement, you’ll gradually see your attitude and mindset change. The way you look at your goals will become clearer, and you’ll be able to attain them by thinking that way. 

It’s a normal tendency to engage in negative self-talk, but just because something is normal doesn’t mean it should be followed. 

If you’re accustomed to a negative thought pattern, you might want to watch the harsh words that you tell yourself, as they often come from your insecurities and fears.

Here are some of my favorite positive affirmations that you can practice that’ll motivate you when you feel defeated. 

  1. I release myself from the weight of my regrets.
  2. My life is a place of balance and harmony.
  3. I am powerful and confident.
  4. My life is full of endless opportunities for success and happiness.
  5. Today I will learn and grow.

3. Don’t Act like a Victim

When you’re so used to your negative thinking, it’s easy to think like a victim in your story rather than a survivor. 

However, you won’t gain anything by feeling sorry for yourself because you’re feeling defeated. 

Instead of wallowing in your own self-pity, the best way to overcome this self-destructive feeling is to use your pain and sorrow to work on yourself. Realize that no matter if you didn’t get the outcome you wanted, or that you didn’t achieve all your goals, it’s never too late to bounce back to get what you want. 

Being a survivor means taking the power back over your own life and realizing that feeling defeated will not be the end of you, but it’s going to strengthen you and more resilient. 

The moment you feel in a rut, it can feel overwhelming learning how to get out of it. However, if you change your thinking and own being a survivor in your story, then you can take back your power, strength, and drive in getting the life you’ve always wanted. 

4. Take Necessary Breaks

Spending time with the things you’re passionate about can also remind you what it feels like to be overwhelmed not by hard feelings, but by light, love, hope, enthusiasm, and drive. 

Mental and emotional burnout is a real thing and you’re not doing yourself a favor by pushing yourself to your breaking point. When you feel defeated, this can be your body’s way of reminding you to take a break and recharge your energy and body. 

Overworking won’t help you cope with that hard feeling and it certainly won’t distract you from it. This is one instance where you need to listen to what your mind and body need and recharge however you see fit. 

Your work tasks and deadlines will always be there. However, you won’t be the same person if you end up losing yourself because of emotional and mental fatigue. There’s a negative notion where people tend to think that taking breaks is bad, but rest is not at all counterproductive. 

Without adequate rest, your mind and body won’t have the energy and fuel it needs to perform at its best, and your feeling of discouragement will worsen over time. Whether it’s doing something as simple as taking a walk outside or having a weekend getaway with your family, you need to do whatever it takes to recharge your energy.

5. Spend Time Pursuing Your Passion

Whatever you’re passionate about, you shouldn’t hesitate to spend your time doing it. Doing the things you love can fuel you with purpose and meaning in your life. 

Your passions are how you’ll remind yourself why you’re living for and what life is all about. When you’re overwhelmed by discouragement and hopelessness, it’s easy to lose interest in the things you used to love. 

Your passions are everything your heart and soul are telling you to go for, and even when nothing seems to make sense, they will remind you of what makes you feel happy and alive. 

The things you love might seem mundane to you, but they’re significant enough to motivate you to keep going and to remember that feeling defeated won’t last forever. 

Whether it’s making music, creating art or lifting weights, there’s no reason to hold off on spending time doing what you love, if it means that it will help you feel less defeated and discouraged in life. It’ll give you the necessary energy you need to keep going. 

6. Be Physically Active

Moving your body is the last piece of advice you want to hear when you’re already feeling defeated. However, being active can make you feel good and confident about yourself.

When you feel stuck and in a rut, the simplest thing becomes difficult, like getting up in the morning or having the energy to be productive. 

Being physically active might be hard initially, but when you’re in the middle of doing it, you’re going to regret not doing it sooner. 

Physical activity, including things like sports, walking or lifting weights, has several mental & physical benefits that are proven to help you cope with feeling defeated. When you feel stuck, you dwell on your mistakes or things you could’ve done better. 

Physical activity acts as the best distraction you can to zone out the negative thoughts you may have. It keeps you distracted long enough to forget how you were feeling. It’ll make you more productive without realizing it. When you become more productive, you feel more motivated and less defeated. 

As ordinary as physical activity seems, it’s a healthy coping mechanism and habit to incorporate throughout your day to help you change your perspective and deal with any difficult emotions you may be having.

7. Reassess Your Goals- Figure out your Game Plan

One reason you may feel defeated is because you didn’t reach your goals the way you expected to. When this happens, you can either let life defeat you or you can choose to reassess your goals and still find a way to achieve every one of them. Figure out the game plan that you have to do in order to achieve the things you want in your life. Your results ending in failure don’t automatically mean that you messed up because your goals will always be there – it’s just about finding another way to achieve them.

There will always be things beyond your control, and that’s okay. What matters now is that you need to reassess your goals and find an alternative route to accomplishing them.

Your life isn’t over just because you feel discouraged or you didn’t get the outcome you wanted.
No matter what your goals are or what your purpose is inclined towards, you can always adjust your life according to your plan. You are in charge of your own destiny and accomplish the goals you wish to achieve. If you don’t do it, someone else will. 

Reassessing your goals or even reminding yourself of the goals you have is a great way to get out of feeling discouraged. There’s nothing more powerful than understanding your ambition and sense of purpose. 

8. Make Significant Changes in your Life

As mentioned earlier, feeling defeated can come from the need to change your life or turn it around completely. It can stem from feeling stuck or feeling like what you’re doing is no longer working. 

By making significant changes in your life, you’re bringing a spark into your life that you desperately need. For instance, if you feel defeated because you’re not growing from your chosen career, then a solution would be either to change careers or to encourage the growth you’re looking for. 

All it takes to get yourself away from the feeling of discouragement is the initiative and pro-activeness to change your life and become the best version of yourself there is. This also requires getting away from your comfort zone and doing something you don’t normally see yourself doing. 

Making certain changes in your life might be a place of uncertainty and fear, but it’s also the call of action you need if you want to cope with feeling defeated, especially if nothing is currently working in your current state or you feel like you’ve outgrown your surroundings.

9. If a Big Change is too much – Small Steps can lead to Great Progress

If you’re feeling like the change, your life needs is too much to handle right now, take a moment and try changing little things. Minor changes can add up in surprising ways over time-and have big effects on how you feel!

If it’s been hard for you to make any sort of decision lately or if there are just some areas where your mind has felt foggy with indecision, don’t worry—there’s hope. 

Even small steps that we take towards making positive lifestyle changes will lead us down paths full of significant benefits.

The benefits for taking such tiny steps are two-fold:

First: they help you build up your self-esteem.
Second: by getting into better habits you set yourself on course towards making positive changes. These changes in your life can have such a tremendous impact on you in the long run. 

Whether it’s something as simple as getting more sleep at night so our bodies function better during the day or replacing certain foods which might have an adverse impact on our wellbeing.

10. Reach out to Someone Close

Sometimes it’s best to just let out your feelings, even if they’re messy and complicated. Talking through them with someone close will help tremendously because you’ll be able to see the options available and figure out what might work for you in this situation.

They might have some good tips or they may just want a shoulder for you to cry on and make sure that everything’s ok.

This is a very helpful strategy to consider. Normalize talking about feelings and emotions instead of exploding all at once when you can’t handle it anymore. This will allow for the feeling or emotion to be released without damaging the people closest to you.

There is a saying in the Navy about emotions: “Don’t let them run you, but don’t hide from them either.” The ability to manage your feelings and find equilibrium will help keep things moving smoothly.

This can be an arduous task when you have so many, often intense, feelings on any given day. But learning about emotional intelligence and self-regulation will help guide these skills for better decision making in life and relationships with others. 

11. Do Something Kind to Someone else.

Everyone has bad days in their lives. I know, I’ve been there too! But sometimes the best thing to do is give back to others in need and you’ll feel better.

Sometimes feeling like crap can make you isolate yourself into your own little bubble. You’re so focused on how to make yourself feel better you don’t realize that there’s plenty of other people going through difficult situations as well. Take a day to put others’ needs before your own. Not only does this make a really great self-care technique for yourself; when done right of course! It could also make an enormous impact on someone else’s life.

There are so many opportunities to do good deeds, and it is often an unnoticed act that goes unrecognized but changes lives, regardless. Taking time out of your day to surround yourself with good energy can have an enormous impact on you when you’re feeling defeated. 

It reminds you that one bad day doesn’t have to be the outcome of your life.  

To know you have made other people feel better even if for just one moment makes life worth living- there are countless ways to help your community having no expectations or limiting yourself from doing something new!

12. Live Your Life Everyday like there’s No Tomorrow

You have probably heard this phrase a lot of times in your life. It’s a super clique saying. However, the message is important to constantly remember.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Never live your life based on the “What ifs.” Whatever your mind is on, you should always shoot for it. Never give up on the things you want to do.

Always Pursue your passions and the things that you want to do. If you’re feeling defeated, you need to remember the saying I said in the beginning of this article by Dolly Parton. “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”

Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to reach rock bottom in order to climb back up again. In order for you to reach your full potential in life, you need to continually keep on pushing.

Your growth will be so much more valuable once you look back and think of all the times where you felt defeated, hopeless and like you aren’t capable of what you ended up doing. Take each day one day at a time.

11. Create a Vision

Often, whenever we feel defeated, it is because we cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel. This is where creating a vision comes into play. Even if it is not visible right now, It’s up to you to create that vision for yourself. 

Envision what you want in life, then work towards making those goals come true one step at a time.

It’s okay if you’re not sure what your dream is. But, it’s important to explore and go after things that make you curious because doors will open up with new opportunities when other ones close. This way, even though some paths may be tough or challenging at first, in the end they lead towards possibilities for a world of endless potential. 

12. Choose Some Daily Affirmations.

I believe in myself and my capabilities.
I will be a better version of myself today.
I am filled with an abundance of happiness.

One of the best things you can do when your day is going wrong, and it feels like nothing will turn out right for you, is take some time to remind yourself that there are still positives in your life. 

There’s no better feeling than starting your day off by reading an affirmation or two that really helps you uplift your mood – even when things don’t go as planned.

Because even if things don’t go as planned, you know you did your best in having a good day. Do your best to live in the moment and not feel disappointed with yourself when things go south.

It’s important to really understand that you’re only human, just like everyone else.

In order to make any progress in either, there are always obstacles along the way.

13. Complaining is only Making it Worse (find a solution).

If you’re feeling defeated because of an outcome that did not come out how you wanted. Find a solution to the problem that’s affecting you. 

You must have felt like the world was crashing down on you when your plan didn’t work out. It’s natural to get upset, but complaining will not bring it back and might make things worse for yourself.

Find a way that makes sense to fix what went wrong. Learning from your mistakes may be the best way to grow as a person and overall boost up your mental health and self-esteem. Be thankful for all of those little things that went right as well.

Bottom Line

I hope this article shed some insight into everything you needed to know on overcoming feeling defeated. Everyone feels defeated at least once in their life, but it’s an emotion that you can deal with it. Hard times occur all the time in our lives. The important thing to remember is that even when every fiber of your being is pushing you to give up, you owe it to yourself to show up and keep fighting.

Don’t give in to your negative thought pattern, because you’re much stronger than feeling defeated and discouraged.

You might not have gotten the outcome you wanted, but you can always get back up and try again.

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