Oftentimes we are encouraged to set goals for our ourselves or our organization. Most often we are then encouraged to keep plugging along at our goals. But sometimes, we would be wise to let go and move one. When when to you know if it is time to let it go?
Kenny Rogers sings in The Gambler,
You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
First, decide if you need to persist or let it go. You may be inappropriately persistent or loyal to the point of dysfunction. Or you might be appropriately letting go of a painful or needless part of your life. Or you might be giving up on an enriching possibility.
Those who are resilient ask themselves, “Am I best to persist or let go?”
- When do you continue to invest in a relationship and when do you let go?
- When do you pursue a career and when do you let go?
- When do you save and and when do you spend?
- When do you keep learning and when do you start teaching?
- When do you continue to drink and when do you commit to AA?
- When do you hold onto a full bladder and when do you get to the pot? Now that one’s easy!
Persistence, the ability to continue without change, can be used to attain desirable goals. Yet, there are times and places that determination can deter us from successful readjustment and put us in a mucky, murky mud hole. Most of us have given up on a dream, hobby or connection that nourished us. And many of us are unaware of being stuck in every day, unrewarding situations and relationships. Just look at the couch potato next door.
When our amazingly bright granddaughter, Danielle, was in high school she didn’t like her reading assignments, lost her spunk and felt unhappy. Once she switched from the academic track to trades her sparkle came back. She is now my talented hairstylist at Contour Hair Design.
One of my favourite counselling questions is borrowed from the hate-him or love-him, TV psychologist, Dr. Phil McGraw– “How’s that working for you?” No one can tell you when to hang on and when to let it go. It takes some honest self-awareness about your life road to decide the best direction to go—continue straight ahead, turn around or turn left or right.
Questions to Help Decide To Persist or Let it Go
- Have you unconsciously committed yourself to other people’s expectations and desires while giving up on your own inner wise direction? How might you release their shoulds and hold on you?
- Are any of your current routines, behaviours or connections causing dysfunction or pain for yourself and/or your loved ones? If yes, are you willing to participate in some form of healing process to get on with your best life?
- What have you learned from past painful experiences, mistakes and set-backs? Are you ready to put those lessons into constructive action?
- What people, places and activities excite you, give you a sense of flourishing and have no shame or guilt attached to them? How might you increase your involvement and time here?
- What fond childhood memories do you have of activities, places and people that have little space in, or are no longer in your life? How might you re-engage with them?
In your current situation do you need to do more persisting or more letting go?
What is getting in the way of your stick-to-itness or your ability to let go?
Once you decide to persist or let it go use the below ideas to help with either or both.
Help to Persist
- Develop your ability to demonstrate patience.
- Tell yourself, “A step at a time, and I can do anything for a day (a week, a month, a year) that I would not want to do for a lifetime. This is taking me where I want to be.”
- Remember the little engine that could. Differentiate between This is hard to do and I can not do this. The latter is seldom true.
- Chunk your goals down to baby steps of accomplishments. One day write down a goal. Another day make a phone call and then onto the next step.
- Reward yourself for the parts you do accomplish even if it is a mere cup of tea.
- When you have a set-back ask yourself what you learned from it.
- Notice when you feel light and happy doing certain activities, being in certain places and being with certain people. The happier you feel the more you will pursue that situation.
- Notice when you feel light and happy accomplishing little or large and tough tasks. You will realize that sometimes doing hard things offers intrinsic rewards of satisfaction.
- Maximize the time you spend doing activities that energize you. Do the same with people described as The Energizers.
- In relationships realize that we all have flaws and weaknesses. Commit to those who are willing to be honest, loyal and willing to grow with you.
Help to Let it Go
- Identify any activity, place or person that arouses guilt, shame or embarrassment. Mimimize your time with as many of these connections as possible.
- Notice if you feel fear about discontinuing certain activities or relationships. There is probably something there that needs adjusting.
- If you feel regret for letting someone, some activity or place or job in your past go, research how you might take a step back.
- Recognize shoulds, have tos and guilt tripping by others as ties that bind. Imagine a pair of scissors and cut those bindings.
- View mistakes as lessons in wisdom. Likewise, reframe failure into lessons learned.
- Minimize the time you do activities that drain you. Do the same with people I call The Drainers.
- Get help ASAP if you even imagine you are in an abusive relationship; that is you are being threatened with violence, name calling, or controlling behaviors.
- Develop an awareness of your vulnerabilities to negative self-talk, trying to please others, and addictive behaviours. Start to re-program these habitual reactions. Do not shy away from help.
- Avoid ruts. Stop doing one activity and try another. As the motivational speaker, Linda Edgecombe, asks, When was the last time you did something new?
- Open up to new spaces by meditating, walking, creating, playing, goofing around, including letting your undies hang down.
Please share any tips you have to persist or to let it go. Ok?
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Patricia Morgan MA CCC helps her readers, clients, and audiences lighten their load, brighten their outlook, and strengthen their resilience. To go from woe to WOW call 403.242.7796 or email a request.