When Quitting isn't Quitting at all - How to Accept When a Goal no Longer Serves You.
One of the most consistent concepts promoted by high achievers is the idea of pursuing your goals with complete focus, and not quitting until they are achieved. While this is a truly valuable mindset to have, there are times when the relentless pursuit of one goal becomes an impediment to achieving a newer, more valuable goal. Recognizing when “quitting” isn’t quitting at all, but instead it is adapting to pursue something more meaningful, can unlock epic potential and reduce feelings of guilt and self doubt.
Having a hard time understanding when these idea would apply? Take a basketball game, for example. Every night, the coaching staff devises a game plan for their team and their specific opponent. They set specific goals such based on match-ups. Each of these decisions has an individual goal that is part of the overall goal - to win the game. But just because something looks good on paper, doesn’t mean it’s going to play out how it was planned. Maybe a key player gets injured, maybe the opponents threw a new wrinkle into their offense or one of the bench players catches fire. Suddenly the coaching staff find themselves down 20 at halftime. Do they walk into the locker room, look at their players and say, “Just keep doing exactly what we’ve been doing, don’t change a thing” ? I don’t think so. They review what they’ve seen on this specific night, assess the current situation and shift the specific goals to give themselves the best chance of achieving their ultimate goal - winning.
How does this apply to you? Let’s spell it out with three rules for successful goal management:
Do you have an ultimate goal, one that encompasses everything else in its realm?
In the basketball team example, this ultimate goal is winning at the highest percentage.
Have you set specific goals, whether sequential or simultaneous, that will propel you towards that ultimate goal?
In the basketball team example this would include things like maintaining conditioning, injury prevention, adequate rest, and specific game-to-game goals
Are you regularly re-assessing whether your specific goals are still relevant to your ultimate goal? And, are you occasionally re-affirming that your ultimate goal is still right for you?
In the basketball team example this is where the halftime adjustments come into play, the changing practice schedules and recovery plans, lineup changes when injuries occur, etc.
If you follow these three rules, you are not only on your way to achieving your goals, but to ensuring that your goals are still meaningful to you. It’s a recipe to minimize wasted time. When you pursue something with consistent, diligent work, but it’s not getting you any closer to your ultimate goal, then it’s time to make a change. Accept that this goal no longer serves you and put that energy into something better. Remember what your ultimate goal is. You aren’t quitting on that, you are pursuing it with more purpose and more efficiency.
Now is the perfect time to put these rules to the test!
First - Write out your ultimate goal (If you don’t have one, even better! This is going to change your LIFE).
Second - Write out the current goals you have that are moving you in the direction of your ultimate goal, then assess them. Are they serving their intended purpose? Be honest with yourself, it’s does you no good to give yourself a “passing grade” when you don’t deserve it.
Third - Write out what you need to change to either better align your specific goals with your ultimate goal, or what new goals you will set.
Finally - Set an alarm in your phone to revisit this list in 30 days. Start making a habit of reviewing and revising your goals. You’ll be amazed what you can achieve!