How to Know When It’s Time to Give Up

Our society spends a lot of time stressing the idea of not giving up, sticking with it until the very end, and “hanging in there”. I know I’ve been guilty of using it as a platitude when someone is complaining about life getting tough.

Tip: If you are struggling to figure out which things REALLY matter to you, sign up for my FREE 5-Day Achieving Goals Course. You’ll be happy you did! Find it HERE.

How to Know When It’s Time to Give Up

The truth is, though, that there are plenty of times when giving up is EXACTLY the right thing to do. (Make sure to check out my disclaimer at the end, though!)

Give Up Positions that Are No Longer Yours To Fill

If you’ve been working in a position (paid or volunteer) for a while and are finding that it’s no longer something you are committed to, it might be time to reevaluate.


Often, especially in employment situations, we find ourselves bored, frustrated, or unhappy with the way our boss treats us, infuriating co-workers, or even the work itself. If that’s you, I recommend you determine the reason for your unhappiness and first decide if it is simply because you have allowed your attitude to sour. If that’s the case, it might be time to determine how to change that attitude and find a new appreciation for the job you have.

If on the flip side, you are finding yourself unchallenged in your position or treated poorly, it might be time to move on. Of course, it’s important to figure out if you can find employment that will allow you to feed your family, while also exercising your brain or providing you with a step up from where you currently are. That’s not always easy, and the grass does frequently look greener on the other side of the fence. (Am I right?)

Ultimately, don’t leave a place of employment without first discussing it with a trusted friend or partner, and weighing the pros and cons of going versus staying.

Additional Resources:

So You Lost Your Job, Now What?

How to Live on One Income (When You are Used to Two)

Other Tasks and Activities

It’s a bit different in the case of volunteer or “after hours” commitments, whether that be running a Bible study at church, listening to kids read at the elementary school, or chauffeuring your kids to every after-school sport available. If you find yourself exhausted to the point of not being able to enjoy those things anymore, it’s time for something to give.

The thing about giving up (or letting go) is we tend to compare ourselves to others in the process of doing so. If they can do it all, I should be able to as well, right?

If you think back to elementary school, there was likely something that you didn’t do well, and (hopefully!) you finally decided it wasn’t for you. In my case, it was any sport that required coordination to catch (or throw) a ball. It turns out that, as much as I wanted to participate when my family threw the ball around in the backyard, I was so uncoordinated that the ball would fly over the retaining wall that separated our home from the busy street below and would land in the street.


If I’d chosen to compare myself to every other kid that played baseball better than I did, I would have been one miserable kid. Instead, when I set aside the notion that I would be a great baseball player, I was able to find something I really was good at and focus on it.

It’s important to recognize, even as adults, that we were not all created equal when it comes to the talents we have been given or our ability (or energy) to handle situations. Everyone one of us is different, and that’s okay.

Of course, if you do make the decision to abandon your extracurricular activity, that doesn’t mean you should leave others hanging. If you run a program or are of necessity to another person, make sure to find a replacement and get him or her trained before quitting entirely.

Additional Resources:

Avoiding the Danger of Exhaustion: Scheduling Adequate Rest Time

A Recipe for Conquering Exhaustion

Give Up Toxic People and Relationships

This topic is one I struggle greatly with because, while giving up on a task or responsibility is one thing, letting go of (or giving up on) a person or relationship is another. I’ve only had to do it a few times in my life, and yet, every time I’ve made the decision to do so, it’s been for the best over the long term.

Making the decision not to allow a person to degrade you to the point that you feel as if you are less than you actually are, doesn’t necessarily require you to give up on that person altogether. You can still pray that their heart will be changed and they will let go of the need to control others in a destructive manner.

On the flip side: if you find you are a toxic person, then it might be time to contemplate giving that up as well.

Additional Resources:

When Someone You Love is Toxic: Letting Go Without Guilt

Give Up any Financial Plan that is not working

There are many different facets of family finances that should work together, and there’s nothing more frustrating than having one of those pieces not work properly. If that’s the case, it might be time to let something go.

Your Budget Plan

While I believe a budget is necessary for achieving financial success, a budget that isn’t set up properly or that you are unable to stick with is not helpful and should be eliminated. Of course, eliminating a budget that isn’t working doesn’t mean that having a budget is bad; rather, it means that it’s time to rework it, weeding out unnecessary expenses and reevaluating priorities in the process.

Additional Resources:

How to Keep Unexpected Income from Destroying Your Budget

11 Things to Consider When Starting a New Budget

So You Overspent Your Budget, Now What?

Your Savings Plan

If you have been working hard to buff up your savings account, and yet find, month after month, that the amount you PLAN to put into savings is rarely the amount you ACTUALLY do, then it’s time to give up your current plan and create a new one. Making a realistic plan that you can actually achieve will make you more likely to stick with it in the future.

Additional Resources:

Do You Need an Emergency Fund?

Your Debt Payoff Plan

This is one area where that “hang in there” slogan should really come into play!

While I DO recommend giving up the use of your credit cards and any other revolving debt as a way to keep your monthly expenses managed, I DO NOT recommend giving up on the process of actively paying down debt. If you have a plan for debt payoff but aren’t meeting the milestone goals, perhaps it is time to reevaluate your timeframe. Sometimes, income has changed, expenses have gone up, and it’s time to cut back in other ways, or extend your payoff plan a little while longer.

Additional Resources:

Eliminating Debt for Good: in 7 (not always) Easy Steps

Four Opportunities to Consider When You Have No Money

Give Up Anything that keeps you from what’s really important

Sometimes giving up isn’t necessarily because you don’t enjoy the activity or task at hand, but rather, because it’s getting in the way of something more important. So, whether that be a job that is keeping you from seeing your children during the waking hours, an activity that keeps you from making it to church each week, or a person that requires so much of your time that you don’t have the energy for anyone else, it’s time to consider letting that situation go.

Evaluate your priorities and make these decisions with counsel from someone you trust.

Additional Resources:

How to Deal with “One of Those Days”

The Guilt of Giving Up

Giving up on things tends to bring with it feelings of guilt – of not being talented enough to complete a project, not having enough energy to maintain that forward motion, and even feeling as if you just don’t measure up to those around you. Give up the guilt. If you know that you are making the right decision for you, your family, and your relationship with God, then let the rest of it go and don’t look back. Embrace your fresh, unburdened life, and move forward.

Disclaimer: I do feel I need to mention that just because I’ve given you some good reasons to give up, do not take it as a license to give up on everything. Quite the opposite, in fact. Life is hard, and there will be tough situations to power through. It is important, however, to recognize that calling it quits is not always a failure, so use discernment when making that decision.

Is there something in your life you need to give up today?

Tip: If you are struggling to figure out which things REALLY matter to you, sign up for my FREE 5-Day Achieving Goals Course. You’ll be happy you did! Find it HERE.