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If there was ever a sure-fire formula to feeling shitty about yourself, it would this: start something good—like working towards your goals—and then ending up quitting.
Nobody wants to be a quitter.
I’m not talking about people who smoke or do drugs or other terrible vices that nobody should do—I’m talking about the things in life that make life worth living. Things that make life vibrant and amazing.
Quitting is worse than never starting because of a few things:
- You’ve had a taste of success and fulfillment from doing the thing, and now all you taste is the ash in your mouth from giving up.
- People who have seen you doing the thing might now see you as a failure or a quitter—it’s not just self-image. It’s social image, too, even though I believe that social image shouldn’t matter for most things.
- It eats away at your mind as something you should pick up again, but—
- You don’t, because that would mean admitting that you never should’ve quit, and you’ve lost all that time on it already anyway, so why even bother?
I quit this blog after three posts in 2017.
I Felt Terrible About Quitting
I felt absolutely awful about it all year, knowing it was there, just sitting and not doing anything. Not once did I go in, even to look at my Google Analytics to see if anybody was even reading it.
It ate away at me.
Finally, when I stumbled across the Work-At-Home School, hosted by Caitlin Pyle, the spark re-ignited.
I felt alive again, and the ideas just flowed.
I quit because I didn’t feel like I could carry it for any significant length of time, so why bother? The stupidest part is it’s because I got stuck writing article number four (a topic on which I included in a series on abuse last year) and just… never… finished.
Today, I have a set schedule and routine to create content, but back then I didn’t make myself stick to it. There weren’t any consequences for quitting besides my own feelings about it.
Now, if I quit, then I have subscribers who would notice—I have my own Facebook Group whose members would (hopefully) wonder what happened.
Putting myself out there has created accountability, and that dissuades against quitting at all.
Demir and Carey Bentley, of the Lifehack Method, talk about this thing called 4-layer accountability. It’s really the only guaranteed prevention for quitting.
- A coach, mentor, or teacher who raises the bar for you
- A team of people at or above your level, and whom you respect
- A buddy who is not a friend or family member
- Public accountability
When you have even just two of these layers, your chances of quitting go down drastically.
Why You Should Care
Take a good, hard look at your life. What did you quit that’s bothering you?
Think back to a time in your life where you felt like you were knocking shit out of the park right and left without so much as slowing down? Didn’t that feel fantastic? And don’t you want that feeling back for whatever’s eating away at you?
When I was a kid, I wanted books with my name on them sitting on the shelves of Barnes & Noble.
I would waste time in choir class with my best friend, trading stories back and forth as we both built our own fantasy worlds that we were so sure we’d be publishing within a few short years.
That was fun, but it wasn’t the right accountability. NaNoWriMo helped me churn out the first draft of a manuscript that I had a friend edit, and now I'm procrastinating on the rewrite. But before that, those source stories were once half-finished manuscripts living sadly on my computer, just waiting for the day I would dust off the file names and dive back in.
Speaking honestly, those are things I quit doing.
I quit working towards my dream of publishing a book because of several reasons, the most glaring of which is that I didn’t have someone to keep me accountable to it.
And to be honest? Right now I still don't have that outer accountability to rewrite my book.
Quitting Creates Chaos
Your life is chaotic enough. Don't create more by quitting.
It’s what you do about it that makes the difference. If you’re gonna quit, be real about your reasons.
I don’t care if you fib to your friends about quitting.
Just don’t lie to yourself about why you gave up.
Don’t lie to yourself about your reasons for quitting. The last person you want to fool is yourself, because if you do, you’ll never stop quitting.
If you do quit, don’t make it permanent.
Take a break. Give it some space. And come back to it when your head is clearer.
That’s how you reach your goals—by keeping at it even when you don’t feel like it.
Don't Quit! Get Help Instead
Even after all that, are you still thinking about quitting? Maybe it all just feels too overwhelming and you don't know where to start. If this sounds like you, I want to invite you to book a consultation call with me.
Having a life coach means having a built-in encourager to help you sort through the mess, understand what's going awry, and help you get back on track. I'd love to be that person for you.