I think people may shake their heads at first and disagree with me when they see the blog title. Everyone around us is trying to send resilient messages to inspire others that say “Don’t give up.” How could you have a blog and tell people, “Learn to give up?” Do you want to be special and go in a different direction? Are you contradicting yourself as you have a blog named “Don’t give up”?
Please don’t make a judgment yet. Let me tell you why.
Of course, we often stick to our long-term goals, putting our heads down, marching toward the targets. For example, we work on our life milestones, the big ones like getting a degree, buying a home, or working on mid-term goals, such as running in a marathon, or short-term goals, such as reading a book every month.
Let me tell you a short story and draw you a picture. Then, in some circumstances, I suggest “Learn to give up sometimes.”
I am a ‘goal plan’ person. If you have had a chance to read my previous blogs, I made goals, and I look at my goals and check my goal completion before the end of every year. I have 6~7 ongoing goals with a monthly/weekly breakdown of goals.
Here are some examples: fitness dance three times a week; practice piano three times a week; read blogs 30 mins per day; read a book 30 mins per day; sleep by 11 pm; write a blog every month and read a book every month…most of the time, I have achieved 70-80% of them, and I have felt pretty satisfied with myself, as that’s my long term goal to have a balance of being physically healthy and being a continuous learner, learning what I love.
However, because I have a job that requires me to work longer hours and until late at night, I have had to reconsider my goals.
In the beginning, I still wanted to stick to my goals, and I worked till 5 pm. Then I cooked dinner, then cleaned. Then I played piano; then I had the fitness dance. After that, I tried to read a blog or read a book. After a shower at 9:30 pm. I started to switch to my work on different projects. Then I worked past 12 am, then past 1 am…I thought it was OK, as I have been working at home since the pandemic last year. My son is on summer break, so I don’t need to wake up at 6:30 am.
I thought adults-only needed a few hours of sleep; many of my friends sleep 6-7 hours, and they are still quite energetic. Then during the summer, I had a new life habit, which is to work late and sleep late.
However, one day, I felt a sharp waist pain, then the next day a neck pain and a back pain. I had a headache, too. After 2 cups of coffee before 10 am, I still felt dizzy. I started to panic. I had thought I was healthy and energetic. This had not hit me before.
I looked at the mirror, and I could see that I seemed restless. I looked tired, my eyes were bloodshot, not vivid, not healthy looking at all. For a few days, I could hardly get out of bed, and every moment would make me ache. My head was hurting, and my body was aching.
What could I do? One night, I looked at my goal checker. Although I had completed almost everything, I saw the green checkmarks beside my goals. Unless there’s a red checkmark with my plan “sleep before 11 pm and have 8 hours of sleep.” I realized that I am not the type of person who can sleep only 6 hours. I need 8 hours of sleep. I need to have a healthy schedule.
Then I realized what I should do. With the current situation, if I constantly need to work 3-4 hours each day after work, I have to give up some short-term goals. Although it was not what I wanted; in fact, they are my beloved habits. However, that was the only solution to having a healthier body.
I decided I had to temporarily give up some goals after realizing I cannot change my work status. Goals such as “read 30 mins, practice piano, write a blog…”, I had to give them up temporarily. Then I would have more time for myself to work on the extra hours.
This is just my story to illustrate what I mean. In some circumstances, we have to put aside some of our goals or plans and put the more urgent and important goals first, which is to look after ourselves.
I haven’t practiced piano for the last two months. I even temporarily dropped out of my piano class, as I know I can rejoin in the next session. I don’t feel bad for not hitting my reading goal. I know that’s what I need to learn to give up, for now, to stay healthy.
If you have something quite complex going on in your life, temporarily, and you have tried your best but could not meet your marathon goal as your body is not ready, or it could be that you cannot achieve a financial goal due to unexpected changes, don’t be too hard on yourself. Learning to give up temporarily is to adjust your longer-term goal. As long as you keep yourself healthy, it’s OK to park some plans aside for a little while. Treat yourself in a balanced and healthy way, and then you can work on your goal or adjust your goal.
Health, both physical and mental, is the most important goal. This is the only goal we should never give up on.