5 Things to Try Instead of Quitting Your Goals

Your goals feel boring or blah. You’re not seeing the progress you expected to by this point. You’ve messed up along the way. You don’t have enough time to take action on the plan you masterminded at the beginning of the year. You feel overwhelmed. You feel guilty. 

We’ve all been there! And though any one of those reasons might make you want to throw your hands up and quit on your goals altogether, we hope you’ll try one of these suggestions first. 

Still, in the end, you might need to quit one of your goals. If your goal isn’t deeply connected to your why or if you don’t have the resources to complete it in your current season, quitting your goal might be the best way to cultivate what matters. But if it is connected to your goal and you just feel stuck, keep reading.

Here are five things to try instead of quitting your goals. 

1. Quit something else.

We’re not opposed to all quitting! 😉 We want you to stick with what matters, yes, but we’re actually in favor of you quitting what doesn’t matter. It’s why a yes/no list has been an important part of the PowerSheets® Prep Work for so long. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and tempted to quit your goals, it’s likely you’re juggling too much—and that’s a great time to say no to something. 

While it may feel like every ball you’re currently juggling is too important to drop, a truth we’ll gently remind you of is that they’re not—some balls are glass, while others are surprisingly-resilient plastic or rubber. You get to decide which is which in this particular season of your life, knowing that your answer can change from season to season.

Is there something aside from your goals—a responsibility, a commitment, a routine, a relationship—that you can quit or pause in this season? Based on what matters to you, might it make sense to drop one of your kids’ sports, a weekly meet-up with a friend, cooking seven nights a week, traveling far away on vacation, watching a TV show in the evenings? Even if something is “good,” it may not be “best” in this season. And if you only have time for good OR best, we vote you choose best. 

2. Embrace the beauty of progress, not perfection.

If you’re tempted to quit your goal because it’s not turning out like you’d hoped—you’re not seeing the results you want, or they’re coming more slowly than you’d like—it’s time to adopt a new mindset.

Embracing the power of “progress, not perfection,” is one of the most life-changing mindset shifts for new Cultivators. When you embrace progress, you can release the need for instant results and instead begin to see the beauty in small wins. And once your brain starts to see progress where it once saw failure (from the very same actions and outcomes!), you’ll be much less tempted to throw in the towel.

One powerful way to do this is to intentionally pause and celebrate a win. Better yet, make these pauses regular and rhythmic! If you’re a PowerSheets goal planner user, don’t skip the monthly reflection, where you have space to write down a win. And, come join us on Tending List Tuesday! We celebrate wins as a community every Tuesday at 1:30pm ET on Instagram.

3. Focus on actions, not outcomes.

Surprisingly, we have little control over our outcomes when it comes to most goals. We can’t wave a magic wand (or flip open a set of PowerSheets) and immediately drop ten pounds, publish a book, buy a home, or heal a marriage. 

What we can control, to a large extent? Our actions. Our little-by-little actions. Our small, consistent steps forward. If you feel tempted to quit your goals because you’re frustrated with your outcomes, try shifting your focus to your actions.

You get to decide how many days you plop your rear in a chair and write.

You get to figure out how you can squeeze in daily workouts around a demanding job.

You get to scheme ways to reduce your expenses and squirrel away money into a down payment savings account.

No, you can’t control a publisher, your weight loss journey, or the housing market—but there’s so much you can control. There are so many ways to get creative about what matters when you choose to see the beauty in the puzzle. Focus on that.

4. Change your approach to a goal.

Speaking of creativity: a beautiful thing about goals is that—no matter the goal—there’s no one right way to achieve them. This is both intimidating and liberating!

On one hand, there’s no foolproof blueprint to get you from point A to point B. On the other hand, you have almost total freedom to work in a way that works best for you. If you’re frustrated, overwhelmed, and tempted to quit a goal, can you first try changing your approach?

  • Can you change the timeline, shortening it to create urgency or lengthening it to make it more restful?
  • Can you change the scope, narrowing it to make it simpler to achieve or expanding it to give you more flexibility?
  • Can you implement a new habit that helps you make progress? Can you switch from focusing on daily habits to a weekly routine? Can you hone your process and systems?
  • Can you open yourself up to accountability or expertise instead of going it alone?

Before making a huge leap and abandoning a goal, try taking a tiny step sideways instead. 

5. Choose a period of rest.

Not all goals are right for all seasons. Even if a goal matters to you, the best way to make progress might be to simply stop making progress for a short amount of time.

If a goal has been frustrating you to the point where you’re considering giving it up, set it aside. Leave it off your Tending List next month. Give it some space, whether a week, a month, or even a season, and see how your feelings change. Do you feel fresh excitement to dive back in? Do you miss working on it? Do you have new ideas for how to tackle it? Or do you feel relief, with no excitement to jump back in? If so, it might be time to consider quitting your goal for good.

Friends, there are no medals handed out for achieving goals. Yes, some goals do have rewards attached to their completion, but for literally just crossing the finish line? Nope. Don’t pin your value or worth on completing a goal. Instead, focus on identifying the right goals, and then completing them with joy. We hope these tips for what you can do instead of quitting your goals give you fresh ideas when you want to quit!

This article was written by Emily Thomas who is Cultivate What Matters‘ Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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