When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place. Unknown
Maybe you're ready to give up now – now that the fight has been taken outside to the dark, wet streets and the gloves are off.
It was all ok when you knew the rules and everyone was playing by them. When you were expected to show up, put in an honest effort, wipe the shine from your brow and go home.
But this is an entirely different story.
The game has changed.
And you're thinking that sitting this one out is looking pretty good right now.
Maybe you've been there.
What will it say about you?
What will happen with your goal?
And how will you feel about all of it?
These, and so many more questions race through your mind as you struggle about what to do, and whether to drag yourself, yet again, to the dog fight.
Because giving up isn't just an action that impacts the course of your life, it's something that changes the fabric of who you are.
So how do you know if it's time to give up or if you should keep hanging on?
1. Ask yourself it you really want it.
Dig deep and think about it, but also feel it in your gut. What do you want? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our forward momentum – in what we have been doing – that we forget to check in with what we want to be doing. Or sometimes we get caught up in what other people want for us. Think about what your true feelings are. If you still want it, don't let any amount of difficulty dissuade you from going for it, but if you don't, don't be afraid to stop doing what you're doing and pursue something different.
2. Ask if your goal is worth the struggle you're going through.
Sometimes you want it, but you don't want it that much. Maybe you do want it, but you realize that your quality of life is impacted too much by going after it, and you value balance more. Don't be afraid to change your mind or choose something else over your original goal. You have to deeply consider whether you'll regret never going after it – but if you can live with that and pursue balance instead, then giving up the fight to live a more peaceful and balanced life is ok.
3. Ask what it means to you if you let go of your goal.
At first, don't think about what others will say, concentrate only on your beliefs. What does it mean to you to do something else? Give yourself permission to stop and pursue something different if that's what you decide that you want. Too often we continue in one direction long after we know in our hearts that it's wrong, only because we fear what others will think and say about us. But are those things really true? What power do they have over you? Why do you fear those words and thoughts? If you examine them, you'll probably realize they don't have much truth to them.
4. Ask what it means if you keep holding on to your goal.
Will the hard work, sacrifice and struggle make you a better person, or will it just make you angry, bitter and alone? Your grit and mettle are only worth something if you come out a better person in the end. You get to define what "a better person" means to you, but it probably includes being happier, more generous, and more loving. If reaching your goal can't help you do those things in some form, or does the opposite, you may want to consider whether your goal is worth the effort.
5. Does the outcome truly resonate with who you are?
Sometimes, it turns out, our goals are actually other people's goals. They feel like our goals, they pretend to be our goals, and we think they are our goals. But when we think about who we are and then think about where those goals will actually get us, we realize the two don't line up at all. That's when we can be pretty sure that someone else's goal has snuck in and pretended to be our own. You can re-evaluate and invent goals of your own.
We all want to be successful and reach our goals, but to do that we first must have goals that we constantly examine and re-examine – and we must be ruthless in cutting away the goals that no longer resonate with who we are and who we want to be.
When you answer these questions, you'll realize that backing down from a goal isn't giving up on your dreams. It's simply changing your mind and priorities about what's right for you in your life. Your dreams get to change and grow just as much as you do.
The truth is it's impossible to give up on your true dreams, because they are constantly evolving.
Life is too short and the stakes are too high for us all to make a choice and then have the consequences of changing our minds mean something about our character.
You have to be able to have do-overs.
The key is to be conscious and to find something you really want and you're willing to go all in for, not to blindly see something through to the end because you said you're not a quitter.
Because it doesn't matter if you finish something if in the end you don't like where you land.