So many of us have hang ups with giving up something we start.
We slog through day after day of a job that we hate because this is what we’ve always told ourselves that we wanted. By golly, we’re gonna show that younger us who didn’t have any idea what this job would entail that we can do it!
We start one kind of workout program and–even when we start hating it–we force ourselves to get out and do it while we curse every second because we committed to doing it every day. Even if it’s not working or our bodies don’t adapt well to the movements.
We over-restrict on our food and even when we’re hungry or our body is showing us all the signs of exhaustion or inadequate nutrition, we keep going because that’s what we told ourselves we’d do. Maybe this is just what skinny feels like.
After all, we don’t want to be quitters.
I consider myself an activist for never giving up on something that is truly important to you. That does not mean, however, that you can’t change your path to get there.
There are many different ways to achieve our big dreams in life. One person’s route will not be another’s. Just because you don’t want to continue down this path, doesn’t mean you’re a quitter. It just means this path is not the one you’re supposed to take.
But how do you tell if your actions are justified?
Today, we’re talking about the difference between giving up and moving forward. They are not the same thing, though moving forward is often misconstrued as giving up, which keeps people in the dreaded state of boredom or worse, agony!
There’s a fine line that we’re going to explore a little further today. Hopefully it’ll jolt you back into that motivated, empowered mindset you’ve been missing for so long!
In order to understand the line between giving up and moving forward, we must first define exactly what each act is.
GIVING UP is dropping something just because it’s pushing you out of your comfort zone.
MOVING FORWARD is recognizing that what you’re doing is either not working or is making you miserable, then taking another course that gets you to your goal of what’s important.
Extremely different in my eyes, but so often these meanings are exchanged for one another and used as justification for either act. Which one do you usually embrace? After looking at these definitions, would you say that you’ve been mixing up the two?
Time to clear up the confusion. Now’s the time when we solidify this knowledge in our heads so that we know which action we are taking from here on out. To avoid giving up and ensure moving forward, we must first identify the reasons behind your urge to stop.
Identifying why you want to drop it
The reason behind the action is the main difference between giving up and moving forward. Let’s go over how to analyze the situation, but heads up: it requires brutal honesty.
1. Ask yourself why you want to stop. Keep going deeper by asking yourself, “Why?” to every answer until you get as specific as possible.
2. Is the reason sound? A simple way to answer this question is asking yourself whether or not this suffering will go away with time if you keep going down this path. Is it one that will strengthen your body or your mind by embracing discomfort? Or is it one that will only make you more miserable, and wouldn’t be fixed with time or practice?
3. Determine the verdict. If you are quitting this path simply because it’s putting your outside your comfort zone, then you are giving up. If you are quitting because you are absolutely miserable and it’s not something that time and practice will fix, then you need to move forward with a new plan.
The silver lining is that either way, you choose whether you give up or move forward in this moment. You can either accept and proceed with a new mindset that the pain is temporary, or move forward with a new plan of action to get you to your end result. Use the diagram below as a guide.
Here’s the bonus round to determine how you’ll move forward from here:
Ask yourself: is it worth it? If you determined that your reason for stopping would strengthen your body or mind by pushing through, also ask yourself if the end result is worth the time and effort you’re putting in. If you determined that it would only make you more miserable and wouldn’t be fixed with time or practice, ask yourself if there is another way to achieve your goal.
Keep those answers in mind as you go into the next category…
Finding your path
To move forward, you have to create a new plan, otherwise it’s just giving up.
But how do you know if you’re doing the right thing? If you knew, you would have picked it in the first place, right?
Wisdom comes from learning from our mistakes. There is no way to know whether or not you’re heading down the right path when you start off on it. There are, however, ways to check in with yourself while you’re on that path to make sure you’re still heading in the right direction.
When you choose a path, be it a new workout program or a new career, you simply have to follow your gut. Ask yourself:
What excites you?
What do you look forward to?
What seems the least dreadful if neither of the former questions speak to you?
Use the answers from these questions as a guide to choosing a path. Then, while you’re on that path, do periodic check-ins with yourself to make sure it’s not time to switch lanes.
Every so often, check in with the following questions:
Am I happy?
If not, is it tolerable enough to give it at least 3 weeks of commitment before moving forward to another path? (it takes about this long to adapt to new habits)
Are my actions getting me closer to my goals?
Is my goal still important to me?
If you’ve taken all these steps and have resolved that the path you’re on is one you need to continue down, but you are still having a hard time with it, I feel you. New habits start out rough. Your body and mind will fight you because they don’t want to change.
It’s crucial to your success that you accept that this stage needs to take place in order to get to your end result.
If it’s body change you’re after, soreness and pushing yourself to sweat are the names of the game. If it’s a career you want and you’re working your way up, you may have to do menial jobs you don’t enjoy for a while before earning a promotion. If you’re working to change your mindset to a more positive one, your journaling and behavior exercises can be annoying or even painful to do, but they are leading you to a happier life.
Remember what’s important to you, and ground yourself in that when you feel like giving up.
Pic by Chiara Cremaschi