If you've been obsessing for years over a specific career goal — like breaking into an industry or moving to the top of a company — without any success, it may be time to move on.
Here are some reasons that you should consider giving up:
1. It's making you sick. Research has shown that obsessing over long-term goals may be harmful to your health.
The researchers, Gregory Miller and Carsteb Wrosch, found a link between giving up on difficult goals to lower levels of CRP, a protein that indicates inflammation in the body — which is linked to problems like diabetes and heart disease.
“When people are faced with situations in which they cannot realize a key life goal, the most adaptive response for physical and mental health may be to disengage from this goal,” said the authors in a statement.
They also found that giving up on impossible goals was linked to lower levels of depression and stress symptoms.
2. The goals aren't realistic. Stever Robbins, author of "Get It Done Guy's 9 Steps To Work Less And Do More," says you should think critically about whether you're making progress.
Also, figure out what it is that you expect to achieve with this goal. If your plan is very specific, like curing cancer or becoming the next CEO of Apple, "move to a new dream if it looks like you won't reach the destination." However, if you're in it for the experience, there's no need to abandon your dream all together.
"If it's only the destination that matters, swap it out if it's not performing," says Robbins. "If it's a dream where the joy comes from the journey, keeping it means keeping joy in your life."
Consider making your goals broader and give yourself room to adapt.
3. It's no longer right for you. It's difficult to let go of something that you've put a lot of time and effort into, but you need to be flexible enough to realize when something is no longer worth it.
Sometimes people may doggedly pursue a career path because that's what they studied in college or because they're too scared to start over, but by doing this, you're restricting yourself from other experiences that could be more in line with your desires.
"Be willing to let your dreams change and not feel guilty or that you’ve failed," writes Chrissy Scivicque, career coach and founder of Eat Your Career. "Sometimes, you have to let go of old dreams to let the new ones in. That’s not 'giving up.' It’s growing up."
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