When to Give Up on a Goal

Last week we talked about persistence. The tenacity to pursue a goal until you reach it. In that post I encouraged you to believe that success was just around the corner. While I still believe this is true, I also wish to point out the law of diminishing returns.

The law of diminishing returns says that there comes a point in time when it just doesn’t make sense to keep going. According to licensed psychotherapist and life coach Alyson Mischel , ‘the key to staying healthy – but still striving enough to make progress in your personal and professional lives – is to know when to call it quits’.

According to a study in the journal Psychological Science, Canadian researchers found that people who failed to give up unreachable goals had higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) – a marker of inflammation tied to heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis – than did those who moved on when they were unable to accomplish their objective.

If just thinking about your goal makes you anxious, or you’re unable or unwilling to take the necessary actions to achieve it, it’s probably best to give it up, says Mischel. In many cases, it’s not a matter of completely chucking your ambitions, but of rethinking them

Perhaps when rethinking your goal you need to ask for help. Maybe you need to adjust your goal to downscale (losing 20lbs instead of 100).

If trying to reach your goal is causing extreme stress in your life; then maybe it isn’t the goal for you. There is no shame in knowing when you need help or when you should let go.


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