Get Better at Giving Up
I wanted to become a certified personal trainer to help me break into the active lifestyle industry, so I signed up for courses and material to get certified last fall. It went well around the holidays and then I realized that I have no time in my normal schedule to do anything extra. I beat myself up about it for about four months, and stressed about the time I was not spending on the commitment. After a hard talk with myself, I realized that I had to quit.
Junctures like this are always terrible and make me feel like a failure, but it’s bound to happen to busy Career Girls and there’s no reason to feel awful forever. It’s okay to stop holding on if it’s making you miserable. Here are five steps for knowing when it’s time to give up, and what to do next.
- You’ve been overwhelmed and there’s no end in sight. Sometimes we’re involved in activities that have an end, so we put up with the stress because they’re temporary. Are you stressed because of something temporary, or do you have an unmanageable permanent work load? If you just need a day off or vacation, schedule that time for yourself. But if you realize it’s constant and not sustainable, then it’s time to decide what to give up.
- You’ve already started giving up, but you won’t let go. When I knew I didn’t have nearly enough time to read an epic per week, I kept going to my world literature class for weeks. Why? I thought maybe something would change, and I felt really guilty about giving up. Nothing changed, and I missed out on getting a partial refund because I waited too long. If you know you need to throw in the towel and there’s no way to save it, make the decision to end it today. You don’t need to hang on longer to sufficiently punish yourself.
Once you’ve decided that it’s time, take a deep breath and remember that you’re not a failure. You’ve probably done far more than someone else could have done, and no one is going to hate you forever. Now, how do you let go?
- Say it out loud. Once I said I wasn’t going to finish my certification, it was a huge weight off my shoulders because I was finally being honest about it and didn’t have to feel guilty any more. I knew it was the end because I said it out loud.
- Talk to someone. Invite some Career Girls out for a drink and tell them that you feel crappy about having to quit something you thought you could do. Everyone can sympathize with that, and you’ll feel a lot better getting it off your chest (and having a drink).
- Get it over with and move on. There’s no point in waiting. You need to move on to things that are more important. Inform the people that need to know. Tell them clearly that you’ve been trying to make it work, but you’re not able to do a good job and you’re not happy, so you’re done. People are surprisingly understanding when the reason is simply, “I’m not happy.” Don’t try to draw it out. Own it, end it, and walk away.
If you can make things work by asking for help, coming up with a new arrangement, or better organizing your time, then you don’t have to give up. Your friends, family, or co-workers might be able to take some pressure off of you if you ask for help. It’s hard and we all want to be a super-person, but remember that people like to help. Weigh your options, be honest with yourself and others, and look at your priorities. Don’t feel like a failure if you have to give something up to keep your energy going toward the other parts of your life that really deserve your attention (and to keep from going bananas).