Once an objective is set, the easiest approach is to continue following that objective whatever happens. In many situations, it is what is required to achieve the set objective.
But what if things have changed?
Objectives will usually be related to our circumstances, they may have been relevant for example to contribute to one’s family, to develop one’s career, or experience satisfaction while working for one’s organization. After leaving the organization, having made some career moves, or establishing one’s own family, the old objectives may have lost their relevance.
It often happens when one’s role changed. However, old needs and desires may persist.
Objectives can also have been there to change circumstances. They can have been there to transform a market, establish a new product, or become a recognized expert in one’s field. These objectives all require some substantial investment in energy, money, and time. When circumstances change there is a possibility that one’s expertise becomes less requested, the product doesn’t sell as expected and the market is being changed by others. Whenever these changes occur, the sunk cost trap may prevent change. People can become subject to this trap whenever the effort they have put in pursuit of the objective is not recoverable, and their instinct is to continue to invest time and energy.
When people can’t accept that things have changed, they’ll continue to follow the existing objective.
They follow their instinct to avoid admitting to themselves that an objective no longer matters or is no longer achievable.