Jesus warned His followers in Luke 18:1 not to be discouraged. He spoke in parables to prevent discouragement.
Everyone will experience discouragement at times, maybe many times. I remember 7 years ago trying to launch a single adult ministry from scratch at First Baptist Moreland. A big party and movie was planned, spent $100 on food, many hours in outreach - only to have 2 people show up - and one was the leader - she didn't count. I was not only discouraged, but embarrassed.
Here are 3 steps to identify and prevent discouragement:
1). Stop making comparisons. God's standard is His Word, not other people. There's always someone prettier, better, stronger and wealthier than you. Whatever you do, someone can do it better.
When you're making comparisons, you'll likely miss God's unique plan He has for you. You'll be tempted to surrender to discouragement. God calls you to faithfulness - this means being faithful to someone else - God. We're faithful by fulfilling the responsibilities He has given you. These responsibilities include a follower of Christ, a husband, a father and a employee.
2). Stop being consumed. If you're going non-stop for 18 hours everyday - your defenses become weaker and things seem bleaker than they really are. If you're tired, soon you'll gripe, grumble and groan. Burning your candle at both ends doesn't make you brighter - rather you'll be burned up sooner.
You must make time for rest. It might mean missing a church event or cousin's birthday party. If it's Tuesday and you're looking forward to sleeping late on Saturday morning - your time is too consumed.
3). Stop being a casualty. Does everything you do seem to fail? Nothing goes as planned, problems persist, people are pessimistic. When you keep being passed over for the job, its easy to become a casualty. Just when you think you can make ends meet, someone moves the end.
Failure doesn't mean you're doing the wrong thing. You could be you're doing the right thing the wrong way. If something isn't working, change it. Try a new approach, change your friends, change churches, change careers - there is no reason to live your life as a casualty to discouragement.
If you feel discouraged, its your choice, no one is making you feel that way. Recommit your life to Christ - there's incredible motivating power in faith.