Give it up! make a healthy swap


Giving up is often a really hard thing to do. It’s hard to admit defeat and give up on a task or project that you’ve been working on for a while and heavily invested in it. But, is it still right for you to keep on? Or is it time to stop and move on?

I’ve recently been in this situation and had to make a few hard choices about my life and activities. But, unexpectedly for me, giving up was good!

As a parent, partner and a worker, you can get to a situation where the things that used to serve you well become distractions and no longer fit with your life and your goals. But why is it so hard to give up on a project? Here are some thoughts:

Why is giving up hard?

From an early age, we’re told to “try, try and try again” and to keep going and persevere with everything. At a young age this is the right advice. You can’t just opt to ‘give up’ learning to walk, or reading or maths when you are a child. They are essentials for later in life.

You need to get those skills and you need to learn perseverance itself. Struggle harder and you get there. Perhaps ask for help or find a different approach, but the message is to keep going.

Not giving up is also valued by the ‘grown up’ world – it’s in work, advertising, culture, social media, sport, human existence is about the struggle to achieve and the benefits of doing so. It’s part of our programming and continually re-enforced.

What makes giving up the right choice?

It’s sometimes quite a smart thing to re-evaluate your life from time to time. Your priorities change, demands on your time change and you as a person change too. When new opportunities come along that can be a better investment of your time, you can’t always do all the old things too. Something has to give.

From a personal development point of view, doing the same old thing and expecting a new or better result isn’t a winning strategy. If you want a different result in life, expect to change what you do and your focus.

An example of a positive ‘giving-up’ situation

My recent give-up dilemma was that I wanted to get a coaching certification and one that was separate from my previous NLP based studies. I looked around and found a really comprehensive course in the form of ILM Coaching diploma. I found a distance-learning supplier and signed up to start my studies, All seemed well.

A few months later I found I was becoming quite despondent about my studies. Odd, as I love coaching and my goal of certification still remained. But, work was changing, there was a lot of outside stress in other walks of my life and was finding the method of study wasn’t very interactive – it wasn’t perhaps the right learning style for me.

So, my environment had really changed, I had some competing goals around my time and focus AND although I could continue, the energy required was increasingly sparse for this option.

I re-evaluated my goal and decided to look for a shorter, more efficient and more interactive way of gaining my qualification, and I found one.

Overall, I haven’t given up on my goal, but I have re-prioritised it and changed the way I’m working towards it. Since making this change I have made double the amount of progress and had much more energy during my study time. It’s also helped that the end is in sight, so I can concentrate on other priorities.


Giving up is good! – Sometimes you need to change what you are doing to focus on new areas in your life. Maybe think of it as a healthy ‘swap’ to appease those years of being told to persevere. Also, how can you expect different results if you’re not willing to change what you do?