When is it time to quit pursuing a personal goal? I ask myself as I face discouragement in several areas of my life. I’m not going to tell you to never quit and keep going no matter what. Sometimes you should, but not always. There are times when it’s okay to quit going after a life goal. Here are 4.
1. When you achieve it. If you reach your goal you may stop there or take it to the next level. I had a goal of getting my yoga teacher training certification. I did that and felt satisfied. I did not feel the need to travel to India on a sabbatical to receive extra training and take my practice to another level. It is perfectly okay to set your success at a level that isn’t the highest. In other words, finding wealth doesn’t mean you have to be Bill Gates, the richest man in the U.S. Maybe you want to be in politics, but you have no desire to be the President. As long as you reach your personal goal, you are successful. In many area, like the fine arts, we find there is no finish line.
2. When you lose passion for it after multiple setbacks. You can fail a few times and decide it’s not worth it or you can press on. I find if I feel like quitting and carry on for a while no matter the setback, I’ll either reignite my passion for the life goal or find it is no longer there. This is true for professional endeavors as well as relationships. I assume that you’d continue to try to quit smoking after setbacks more than you would continue planning a dream trip. I know I would.
3. When you discover it’s not what you thought you wanted. I wanted to be a professional opera singer and pursued it for 6 years including all my education. Then, my priorities and desires changed. I decided living out of a suitcase didn’t sound as glamorous as having the same home to go to each night. I miss singing on a stage, but I do not miss the lifestyle. I fulfill my singing needs through other avenues.
4. When adjusting the parameters of your goal doesn’t work. Do you start to compromise what you want? Maybe you say, I don’t need to publish a novel to reach my career goals. Maybe a novella is enough or a short story. I think of Attitude Is Everything by Keith Harrell. He was in line to be the next NBA star and didn’t make the cut. How devastating is that when you based your future dreams and goals on what was supposed to be a certainty? He found ways to use his basketball career to become a successful motivational speaker using his story as a basis. He adjusted his goals to what was realistic and satisfying for him and found success. He stopped pursuing one goal and started another. What is true for you?
There are so many overnight success stories that make us impatient. There are other super success stories that focus only on the success and not on the path to get there. Then there are stories where people fought against the odds to find success.
How much do you want it, and how willing are you to fight? Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before quitting. I’m not sure yet, in my life. I continue to think about what I want and what is involved in getting there.