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How Do You Know If You Should Quit Or Stick To A Goal?

by Irene Chooi. |

I’m a huge believer in quitting. In fact, “Never Give Up!” is one of the most annoying mantras I’ve ever heard. I can’t help rolling my eyes every time I hear it. Not giving up is marketed as a sign of persistence and character, but it can also be just plain stubbornness and stupidity.

Sometimes, giving up is the right way to go! You don’t want to waste your time and money chasing impossible goals or devoting your life to a person who doesn’t deserve you. On the other hand, sometimes it’s worthwhile to stay through the hard parts and reap your rewards later. As Kenny Rogers said, the trick is knowing when to hold them and when to fold them. So, how can you tell?

1. What’s on the other end of the weighing scale?

Don’t just follow your heart. Not everyone has the luxury (A.K.A money) to just drop their goals and dreams based on a gut feeling. Most of us have too much invested in our goals to just give up. So, when in doubt, always weigh your choices. What will you gain if you give up? Or is this the best option you have?

Break out the Excel sheet! Write it down! Use your logical mind. You’ve been trying to finance your start-up for the past 3 years but it’s just not working. What’s on the other side of the scale? Even “nothing” is something because it translates to time that you get to spend with your family or on building your next big thing. If it’s the best option you have right now, then don’t quit!

Revisit this technique every time you are on the verge of giving up. Things change with time. Maybe in another 6 months, you’ll have a better option on the other side of the weighing scale. And when that happens, there is no shame in giving up your goals for something better.

2. How are you going to feel about this in 3 years?

Weighing scale not working for you? Maybe you are the type of person who needs to listen to your gut. The general rule about looking into the future is 5 years, but I think that’s too long. 3 years is enough, especially if you’re blindly chasing something. This is slightly trickier than the previous method. You need to use your imagination and beam yourself into the future to ask the question: “Do I feel relief or regret?”

It has always been your dream to open up a coffee shop, but it has been a rough year. Business is poor and you are running out of funds. If you give up now, how would you feel about it in 3 years? Regret or relief? If you believe you’ll feel regret, then keep pushing on! But if the answer is relief, then perhaps it’s time to kiss your coffee shop goodbye.

The trick to this technique is you have to trust your first instinct. Don’t allow your emotions to cloud your judgment and just trust your gut.

3. Are you the only one committed to the goal?

This is an especially important question to ask if you’re chasing a dream with a team or if you’re considering ending a relationship. There’s nothing worse than feeling lonely when you’re not alone. If you get that, you might already have your answer.

For months, I was focused on building a podcast about taboo topics among the Chinese community. I put in hours of work and did my own promoting, recording, and a chunk of the editing, but the podcast was going nowhere. My team members were simply not committed to the project and without their help, I couldn’t reach a wider audience and had no hope of getting sponsorship. So, I pulled the plug.

If you’re considering ending a relationship that has hit a rough patch, think about whether your partner is putting in any effort to fix things, and I don’t mean lip service. If your team members or partner are not on the same page as you are, quitting might be the best course of action.

This might slightly contradict the previous point, but you should not give others too much influence in whether you give up on a goal or not. Asking for advice and opinions are all well and good, but pick and choose what you take on board. At the end of the day, only you know the situation you’re in and your reasons for wanting to give up or plough through.

Just remember, there is no shame in giving up because you’re always gaining something else.

You can find out more about the author on Instagram.

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