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When to Let Go

Updated: May 16, 2023

Striking the balance between how much activity and how much rest and rejuvenation we need is a tricky business. On the one hand, going out and eating the frogs (difficult tasks) in your life is good for building determination, stick-ability and your commitment levels. We tend to gain a sense of purpose and achievement through completing tasks and contributing, however depending on your go-to habits in times of stress, we can end up either procrastinating or trying too hard as a way of coping.

If you've ever been stuck in a cycle like this, it can be due to underlying feelings of inadequacy that we can subconsciously be trying to cover over with busy-ness, or perfectionism. And for those who think perfectionism is about being perfect, it may help you to know it is coping mechanism that some people have developed to hide from things they fear, such as feelings of shame. - Brené Brown.

When we take on too much it does not leave much time for reflection. If we stop to reflect, it can sometimes cause discomfort to realise there may be some things we are currently experiencing that are not what we hoped for, or expected. Taking time-out can give you a chance to review what is working, and perhaps not working, and then you can decide if you are ready to make any changes. A model widely used to understand the steps of change and its steps include precontemplation (not ready), contemplation (getting ready), preparation (ready), action, and maintenance. This can be used in cases of wanting to stop or reduce an undesired behaviour and/or start a new behaviour.

You may be in a season of growth, a process of letting go, or somewhere in-between. When letting go, it can be helpful to consider the question "What purpose does this serve in my life?" If it has served its purpose, is it something you can let go of? Like I said at the beginning, it is a constant balance, and we are only able to notice that we are out of balance if we take time to check in with ourselves regularly and reflect on whether our daily actions are aligned with our deeper values.

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