Some Goals Need a Stop Sign: Learning When to Quit

You’ve created your impossible to miss goals. You did your due diligence. You aimed for something you’re passionate about. You’ve broken things down into bite-sized, measurable pieces and you’ve documented it. It’s been taking a while to get there, though. That’s ok. You realize that sometimes the best things take time to percolate and grow. You’re in for the long haul…but, should you be? It’s true that persistence is sometimes the difference between being successful and faltering. Albert Einstein once said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” It’s hard to argue with Einstein. Yet, it’s important to note that not every goal has to be fully realized to be successful. Sometimes we need to pull the plug and push the reset button. Sometimes the success of that goal lies not in bringing it to fruition, but in the lessons we learn from missing it. Here are 3 signs it’s time to call it quits.

It no longer excites you

A year ago, the goal was to open your own advertising agency. You’ve been working in the field for decades and you’re good. You know this. You set out to helm your own firm but you’ve discovered that there’s more to owning an agency than creating solid brands and engaging campaigns. There’s client acquisition. There are daily business functions like billing and account receivable. And now that you’re doing them (or preparing to do them) you realize that this dream is filling you more with dread. It’s time to step back and re-evaluate. You may decide that you still want to push forward, but you want to build a team to pick up the tasks that zap your motivation. On the other hand, you may decide that perhaps you’d rather just reset and find a different path to grow your career.

Something else excites you more

As you’re plugging along toward your goal of owning that ad agency, you’ve found creating jewelry is an excellent stress reliever. You’ve made more necklaces and bracelets than you can possibly wear. You’ve gifted your creations to friends and family. You’ve even opened an Etsy shop. The idea of twisting wire, lacing in beads or stones, and creating beauty thrills you more than writing good ad copy. If that sounds familiar, it may be time to re-evaluate which goal you should be pursuing. Setting out to build your own firm might have been the catalyst you needed to embrace your inner entrepreneur, but perhaps the business you’re meant to build lies in your hobby. Hit pause on your initial goals and assess which path you should follow going forward.

The pay-off isn’t worth what you’re putting in

A year ago, you committed to getting up an hour earlier every day so you could fit in a run with your neighbor. Sounds like a great idea, right? You’ve done an awesome job at sticking to it. The problem is that every morning you struggle to get out of bed. Every day you feel crunched for time post-run (and the neighborly banter that follows it) as you rush around, harried, to get out the door on time. Every day you feel yourself drained of energy by mid-day and struggling to maintain your focus. Coffee is your new best friend, or an even better best friend that it was before. Fitness is an admirable goal, yet the cost of fitting it in this way may be more in energy and productivity (and as a byproduct, perhaps even health) than it’s worth. Time to re-evaluate the plan and consider what changes must be made. Making the decision to quit goals isn’t something to take lightly, of course. Ask yourself this: Am I quitting because it got hard and I’m discouraged, or am I quitting because there’s something better and I’m energized to get it? If you need help finding those answers, let’s talk. Email to set up a time.