Posted by: devonellington | January 11, 2016

The Difference Between Giving Up & Letting Go

The Difference Between Giving Up and Letting Go

One of the challenging aspects of making New Year’s Resolutions is keeping them. We discussed this a bit last week — don’t make resolutions that don’t matter to you. Just because it’s the trend or “what people do” doesn’t mean that particular resolution is the right one for you.

A resolution needs to be relevant to your life, particularly to improving your life, in a way that MATTERS to you. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that finishing your book means more to you than losing thirty pounds. If the book is more important than the weight loss, focus on the book. You may discover that you like to walk while you’re working out scenes for the book, and then the book will help you reach the weight loss goal, even though the focus is on the book. When you put the important piece in place, the other parts will start finding where they fit, and it helps everything.

If you set a goal that doesn’t really matter to you, you won’t make the time or the effort to achieve it, and then, for yet another year, you will feel like a failure. That will put you off making resolutions in the future, or setting achievable goals, and keep you spinning in a cycle of self-sabotage.

If you’ve had trouble keeping resolutions in the past, pick ONE thing that MATTERS to you. Focus on taking steps to achieve it. You might not hit the NYT best-seller list, (something you can’t control) but there’s no reason you can’t finish a the first draft of your first novel in a year’s time (something you can control)– if it MATTERS to you.

If you want to feel better, and you’ve decided yoga is the way to do it, try to find a class near you. Once a week is enough to start. Add in a few minutes a day for a home practice — even ten minutes a day makes a difference, as long as you are consistent. There are some wonderful yoga videos out there, for every level. Find something that works for you — once you learn the sequence, you don’t need to follow along with the video. If the weather’s nice enough, do it outside. As you enjoy it more and feel more comfortable, you will find that you naturally grow the practice, and it starts positively feeding on itself.

Whatever you do, remember that missing a day here and there is not a problem. It’s even better if you DECIDE that certain days are “vacation days” from your goal. That’s healthy. It only becomes a problem when you “don’t get around to it” for multiple days in a row and have to start from scratch. Don’t give up. Readjust.

Or let go.

What’s the difference?

Sometimes, you’ll make a resolution and be gung-ho about it. But it gets harder and harder to keep up, and there’s more and more resistance every time you try to take a step to turn it into reality. You’re making the time, but it doesn’t feel right.

Ask yourself why. Was it really someone else’s idea of what is good for you and not yours? Or has something changed in the doing that’s given you a fresh perspective?

Our lives (hopefully) grow and change every day. We use markers such as seasons and year-ends/starts to note the big things, but there are incremental changes every day. And sometimes, unexpected big changes come at us that force us to reassess: job change, moving, illness, or, even better, an unexpected opportunity we want to grab.

It’s healthy to recognize that something no longer fits your goals or your life. It’s fine to realize that, six months ago, this particular goal or resolution made perfect sense, and you worked at it, but now that you’ve progressed, you’re at a different fork in the road and want to do something different. A conscious choice is different than letting it fall by the wayside.

“I can’t be bothered” or “I don’t have time” indicates a myriad of issues and possibilities that require self-reflection; “This no longer serves me, so I’m taking this other opportunity instead” is far more positive.

Of course, there’s a catch — if every time an opportunity comes up, you drop whatever you’re doing to follow something new and shiny, you wind up sabotaging yourself, too. As with everything, moderation and self-honesty is key. WHY are you giving something up? WHY does this other choice seem better in this moment? What are the long-term possibilities with each?

MAKING something happen, through considered choices serves you better than being passive and not bothering or giving up. Being passive is not “going with the flow”, it’s being passive. Recognize the differences so that you can make the best decisions and trust your gut. Your instincts know what you should be doing, and what you really want. Think things through, and learn how to discern what is your gut instinct and what is your ego. The ego can be distracted; the gut will lead you true.


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