We all face obstacles pursuing our goals, whether they are professional, personal or just generally wanting to be happy in our lives.
We can be energetic and enthusiastic, but sometimes that is not enough and we fall short of achieving. It could be that we are just about to make significant progress when we run out of time, funding or other support means. Tenacious as we may be, we all have our breaking points—that moment when the potential rewards stop justifying the effort we need to keep putting in. Usually, that is the hedge that separates your best shot and your best reality.
Before you throw in the towel and go back to something safe and far less taxing, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Why did you want to pursue this goal to begin with and has anything really changed?
You had a good reason for committing to this plan. Maybe you visualized a financially free future once you started this new business, or you realised you would live longer and healthier if you lost forty pounds. The odds are that you still want those things as much as you did before; you just stopped believing you could have them because your attempts have yet to yield results. Now you have to ask yourself: If you push through the discomfort, will it be worth it in the end?
2. Have you been operating with too much information?
With so much information at our fingertips in this technological age, it is easy to overwhelm yourself with more knowledge than you can practically apply. You read e-books and blogs, participate in teleconferences and coaching sessions and join user forums to talk about getting things done. The danger here is we spend far too much time planning to do something rather than actually doing it! Instead of drowning in all the data, why not narrow it down and start again from a less overwhelming space? Simplicity is often the key to success.
3. What is the worst that will happen if you keep going and do not reach your goal?
Often when I want to turn around, it is because I am afraid of failing—afraid that other people will be disappointed in me or judge me, or afraid I will have wasted my time. In all reality, no one ever judges us like we judge ourselves, and we always grow and learn through the process of striving, regardless of what we attain.
If you do not keep going, you will never know how far you could have gone and you will miss out on being the person you would become through the effort itself. If you do keep going, well, it’s like this quote: “Shoot for the moon, for even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”
4. Are you acting on impulse or emotion instead of thinking things through?
Sometimes our emotions give us hints about what we want and what we should do, but other times they are just responses to stress, and maybe even indications we are on the right track. If you act in that moment of intense emotion—be it anger, fear, or frustration—you may regret it once the wave has passed. So sit back. Take note of what you are feeling. Feel it fully, without judging it or yourself. Then act when you get to the other side. At least then you will know you made your decision in a moment of peace and clarity.
5. Would your life be better if you gave up on this goal?
This may not sound motivational, but sometimes giving up is actually good thing. Perhaps you set a completely unrealistic goal and its pursuit is filling you with a constant set of inadequacy, anxiety and worries. Or maybe the goal is not in yours or your family’s best interest, and it is better to get out before you invest so much time that it becomes nearly impossible to walk away.
Hopefully, having a sharp look at the 5 questions posed above, will allow you to really think about what you are doing and why. The goals in our lives are important, but never that important that we become stressed or unhappy. Sometimes it is important to ‘dig in’ and other times it is much better to walk away – in truth it must be you that makes that decision and you alone.