How do you decide when to persevere or when to abandon a goal?
What is more challenging than holding interest in a goal long after the idea came to you? Very little.
Do all people reflect on their lives and say, “Remember that time I wanted to (fill in the blank)…” and feel foolish or disappointed they no longer feel the same way? I imagine they do. I imagine this is, in fact, normal.
I can reflect on my twenties with these sorts of musings. All of the different hats I wore came with an assortment of ambitions. The entrepreneur in me thought I might open a spa. A gym. A meal prep service. The wife and mother in me imagined I would be more hands on with my daughter. Raising her with days full of structure and activities. I would make everything from scratch; bread, nut butters, and bone broth. I would grow and preserve all my own produce. Never feeding my family processed foods. I would engage in a long, fulfilling marriage.
Most striking were the activities and hobbies I took up when I lost interest in the above. Bodybuilding. Cycling. Running. Triathlon. Ultra distance cycling and running. A steady stream of fitness to keep me healthy, but mostly to keep my mind at ease. Something about moving my body settled my mind.
But I am not immune to a changed mind. Signing up for a new goal is easy. Enthusiasm is high for a fresh idea. The novelty of a new project, a new relationship, a new venture causes a person to see stars and forget about their struggles.
Commitment is moving forward– persevering– when you’ve lost interest or forgot why you signed up in the first place.
We’ve all done it. Signed up for a race, paid for a weightloss coach, got married too young, registered for a class, took a new job, or a second job… only to be left wondering what we were thinking later on. Unable to remember why we started?
Do we jump at the first moment of discomfort? Do we change our mind, yet again? Maybe. Life is a series of making and unmaking decisions. I would like to think that we get better at gauging when to jump ship and when to push forward. I do find that with time (age) I have become better at abandoning what no longer brings me joy than I do pushing myself. Wise? Or Weak? My younger self would goaf at my weakness. Brittney in her twenties would have finished it simply because she started it.
Sometimes we owe it to ourselves to see the thing through. We also owe it to ourselves to occasionally abandon it altogether. I imagine it like putting the book back on the bookshelf. Shelving it as simply a memory. Something to look back on and say we did once. It’s now a piece of our history. It made us the person we are today. I find that for me, I keep too many books open at once. Grasping at too many to manage. Drowning in overwhelm and trying to remember which page, in which book I left off on. Maybe this is a lesson for my thirties?
Comment below! How do you know when to move forward with a goal? And when to let it go? Do you have a process?