Although it is critical to set goals and plan your actions, it is even more important to realize which goals may need to be adjusted or may need to go altogether. Periodically self-evaluating your progress can show some weak spots that you’ve been overlooking. The overachiever in you may never want to abandon a goal, but giving up may actually lead to greater success in the long run.
Take, for instance, Roberta Vinci. She abandoned the idea of beating Serena Williams and instead decided to enter their match with a goal of just having fun. Taking the pressure of winning away paved the path for her monumental victory.
So how can you channel your inner Roberta Vinci? Here are three lessons about giving up that may motivate you to cross out a few goals you’ve had on your list for a bit too long:
Recognize your strengths and limits
It takes skill to be honest with yourself about your strong suits and your areas that need improvement. Research shows that individuals may be biased to think more highly of themselves when reflecting on their specific strengths. It may be best to entrust close mentors, colleagues, supervisors, and loved ones to sit down and discuss your strengths and weaknesses with you pertaining to the goals you’d like to reach. Once you develop a realistic list, you might realize it’s smart to abandon the goals that don’t align with your strengths. If you’re an amazing cook but have aspirations of being an artist, leaving the easel behind might be best in favor of using food to create your masterpieces.
Don’t waste your resources
Personal psychological resources are limited and overusing them can put you at risk for emotional damage. Especially if you are in charge of a team, your leadership skills can take a toll if you are pouring your talents into an endless hole. Research shows that people who waste their resources not only experience stress, but also are more prone to losing further resources. Carefully choosing what goals matter most and are attainable can help prevent burnout and deterioration in team morale.
Give up the goals you can’t reach – for now
Setting yourself up for success involves creating goals that are attainable. Similarly, if you’re aiming to be CEO of your company, break your steps down into smaller actions that you see yourself achieving soon. You’ll build your confidence by checking off these preliminary steps first and momentarily forgetting about the larger picture.
Of course, giving up can also mean packing up and going home, something I’m certainly not suggesting. Rather, giving up means letting go of the outcome, and focusing on the process.
Giving up on goals is not an easy task; sometimes we prefer to valiantly keep trying even though we know the prize is not in sight. However, disengaging from unreachable goals increases self-efficiency and ensures that your resources and skills are being used wisely. Although it may be tough now to give up, you’ll quickly move on once you start seeing success in your more fitting tasks.