Leading with Grit & Gratitude


Jen Guidry

Why It Is OK To Walk Away From Goals

acceptance goals overcoming success women in business women's issues May 23, 2024

Sometimes, the bravest decision you can make is to let go of a goal that no longer serves you. While persistence is often lauded as the key to success, understanding when to step back can be equally important. This article explores why it’s okay—and sometimes necessary—to walk away from goals you’ve set for yourself.

I remember a few years ago, I had this goal of learning to play tennis. I was DETERMINED to learn and become really good with it. I took lessons, I "played" with my tennis friends. I practiced non-stop. Spent a lot of money on gear etc.

But, I still remained REALLY BAD at it. However, I kept trying and trying and poured more time into it because Jen Guidry doesn't give up. She persists.

A year and a half later, I still sucked.

Bottom line, tennis just wasn't my jam. So I gave up on my goal of being a good tennis player. I totally hated playing, actually. I wasted too much time trying to force myself into a goal that I had put out there to myself...only to walk away from it, unfinished. I was defeated...but the truth was, I should have quit trying a while ago.

That's what happens to us. We keep going sometimes, when we should have walked away.

Now, what I am NOT saying is that you should give up and walk away on your goals when they get tough. I am saying that sometimes....sometimes some things just aren't for you.

Here are some things to consider:

Understanding the Cost of Persistence
Pursuing goals relentlessly can have significant mental, physical, and emotional costs. Over time, the pursuit can drain your resources and leave you feeling burnt out. When the investment outweighs the returns, continuing down the same path can hinder more than help.

Diminishing Returns and Opportunity Costs
In economics, the law of diminishing returns states that adding more investment into a project yields progressively smaller returns. This principle can also apply to personal goals. There may come a point where additional effort does not lead to greater achievement, and other opportunities with potentially higher rewards are ignored. Recognizing this can shift your focus from sunk costs to new possibilities.

Personal Fulfillment and Well-being
Goals should enhance your life, not detract from it. If the pursuit of a goal consistently leads to stress and unhappiness, reassessing its value is crucial. Personal fulfillment and well-being are paramount; if a goal is causing more harm than good, it might be time to walk away.

The Benefit of Strategic Withdrawal
Walking away is not about giving up—it’s about making strategic decisions that align with your overall life plans. Sometimes, stepping back from one goal can provide the clarity and energy needed to pursue other more aligned objectives. This recalibration can lead to personal and professional growth that was previously stifled.

When to Consider Walking Away

  1. You’re facing consistent negative returns: When the effort you’re putting into your goal continuously fails to yield positive outcomes, reconsider your commitment.
  2. Your goals no longer align with your values: People change, and so do their values and aspirations. If a goal no longer reflects who you are or want to be, it might be time to let it go.
  3. You have new information: Life is about learning and adapting. New information might show that a different path or approach could be more beneficial.

Walking away from a goal is a personal decision that requires introspection and honesty. It's a sign of strength and self-awareness, not defeat. By freeing yourself from goals that no longer serve you, you open the door to new opportunities that can lead to greater satisfaction and success.

In life's complex journey, the ability to adapt and redirect your energies is invaluable. Remember, walking away isn’t about losing; it’s about choosing the best path forward based on your current circumstances and future aspirations.

Jen Guidry is the #1 executive coach for women and female loan officers. She is also a best-selling author who helps her clients find life-balance, overcome past trauma, and achieve high-level success. Follow Jen on LinkedIN, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook to continue to get great insight and inspiration.