It may seem that setting goals and achieving them is gainful. We can get something new from the positive changes we make. What is less obvious is what we lose when we achieve our goals. If we are not prepared to give up something(s) we will be unable to maintain what we’ve gained. Did you ever wonder why lottery winners more often find themselves in the same financial circumstances they were in before the windfall? Or why over 90 percent of those who lose weight will gain it back? It is because we are taught to think that achieving our goals will be the end to our problems. We are not told what is entailed to ensure our good fortune. The truth is, it’s not what we do, but really what we don’t do that ensures our good fortune. If we can let go of old habits and behaviors, we have a better chance of enjoying and living with our new circumstances.
For example, let’s look at someone who says they want to be in a relationship. They go online, they go on dates, and they meet someone who they like enough to give it a go. If they cannot change their busy lifestyle, and make some space for the relationship, then the relationship will be short lived. They have to give up something in order to get something else in return. Now, there will be those who sacrifice too much to have something work, and that would be a misinterpretation of this concept. If we deny our selves in the service of a specific goal, then we are not really letting go at all. Instead we are refuting that we are a part of the goal.
Sometimes we think that we would do anything to obtain our goals. We even pray that we can have more money, more love, or a better job. But do we think of sacrificing something that is not serving us to meet our goals? Probably not. Let’s pretend that we are looking for a new job. What do we have to give up? For one, the safety and security of the familiar. Whether you are switching jobs or entering the job market, the comfort of what you know to be true must be sacrificed if you move forward. And, that’s not the only forfeit. You let go of relationships to co-workers, bosses, and companies. Even when the relationships are unhealthy, you know your role. You don’t have a clue what may happen. But it’s not just blind ambition that moves us forward. We must also give up beliefs and behaviors that perpetuate our unhappiness.
So, fine. It’s all good and well to talk about letting go or giving up one thing in service of a better life, but how does one go about letting go? Good question. Letting go is a process of being able to tolerate the undesirable feelings associated with the change. For some people it is being able to live with the fact that others are envious. Too many of us, especially women, want to be liked. So if someone is envious, we’d rather not feel that even if it means we won’t have what we say we want. For others it may be that we have lived in a perpetual state of deprivation. The abundance of good in our life can feel overwhelming. Can you live with the pit in your stomach as you adjust to the new life? You may easily say yes, but it’s not in the words, it’s being able to live it.
Try doing something that feels good to you. See what feelings and thoughts come up after you’ve done something nice for yourself. Do you feel guilt? Are you embarrassed? Can you live with that for awhile and practice growing with these uncomfortable emotions? If you start with small steps, you can build the life you want from there.