Quitting anything can be hard. It can be stressful and suck big time.
But…it can also create a feeling of relief.
We usually don’t think of quitting with little things. Quitting usually seems like a “big” thing. Especially in midlife…we’ve seen a lot of quitting by then.
Let’s take a closer look. It’s pretty common to think about quitting as:
- when you leave a job
- when you depart from an activity
- when you withdraw from something
- or when you stop doing something.
Another coach suggested this concept of “quitting on yourself” to me recently and it really resonated.
Think about it.
Every time you don’t do what you set out to do, you could think of it as a quit.
A little quit in your brain. Not a huge, grand departure from a job, for example.
What I’m talking about is a quick decision not to follow through on a commitment to yourself.
You might not even notice it.
But you’ll notice the action.
This begs the question, why don’t you do what you really want to do?
You’re not unique in this regard. You’re in good company.
Sometimes we don’t even START to do what we want. But I’m talking about when you do actually start to work on a goal.
Think about something you’ve started to do and then don’t continue, even when you want to.
- Like exercise
- Like losing weight.
- Like Yoga.
- Like practicing an instrument.
It’s no surprise that I’ve had clients talk to me about each of these topics.
They really want to exercise more and have more flexibility and strength.
They say they’re committed to losing weight and being healthier.
They imagine a life with more Yoga and more gorgeous Yoga clothing.
And they love playing an instrument and want to get better.
What could it be?
We’re adults and in charge of our actions. So what is stop us from accomplishing our goals?
There’s something that is in common with all of these scenarios actually.
The reason we don’t do what we really, really want to do is our thinking. Plain and simple.
Here’s how it goes:
- First, you make a goal.
- Second, notice what you’re thinking about your goal.
- Third, you have feelings based on your thoughts.
- Forth, you do something based on feeling a certain way. That action is your behavior.
- Fifth, you create a result from what you did. You either did something to support your goal, or not support your goal, based on your thinking. Your result always proves your thoughts.
When you don’t do something you’ve decided you want to do, it’s basically quitting on yourself.
Here’s an example with weight loss.
Let’s say you want to lose 10 lbs. Your weight has been bugging you and you’re ready to do something about it. You’ve decided the way you’re going to lose weight is to cut out bread, candy, chips and wine. Things are going great for the first five pounds. You’re thrilled.
Then your son brings home an unfinished bag of chips and leaves them on the kitchen counter.
You wander into the kitchen at night and see the open bag there.
What do you do? Here are two plausible scenarios.
Option 1: You walk by the chips and think, “I love chips, but I want to lose 10 lbs. Every bite counts.” You feel committed and ignore the chips. You stick with your plan to make a cup of tea and walk on. The result? You just chalked up some practice in thinking what you want to think on purpose, so you can create the result you want, which proves your thought that you want to lose 10 lbs.
Option 2: You walk by the chips and think, “I love chips. One handful won’t hurt.” Your feeling is no longer commitment. You feel desire. You feel justified, because you believe that one handful won’t really matter in the larger scheme of things and therefore, it’s OK. You want the chips more than you want to lose 10 pounds. You take a handful of chips. The result? You just quit on yourself. You didn’t think the thought you needed to think to feel the commitment you needed to create the result you want.
The little ‘ol bag of chips was innocent, just sitting there on the counter. There are so many ways to think about this situation. You choose your thoughts. They are optional.
It’s interesting to think of quitting in this context, right?
Quitting means you’re stopping. You’ve taken a pause on your goal.
You’re basically letting yourself down, on purpose.
You’re not doing what you want. Well, you’ve changed your mind for the time being because of desire.
You’ve decided that you value DESIRE more than your GOAL.
You’re making that desire mean something. Maybe you’re also thinking that you’re working so hard and deserve a treat. Maybe it’s that you need to eat the chips because they’ll get stale. Who knows? There are dozens of things to think. (Here’s another blog post on mindfulness, for more information.)
The bottom line is that you’ve stopped prioritizing your goal.
Therefore, you’ve quit on yourself.
How does that make you feel?
I feel so sad when I think about my lack of commitment this way.
It really personalizes it for me.
Of course, we can do what we want. It’s our own individual goal we’re talking about. But it does make you think about how much you really, really, really want to make this change or accomplish your goal, right?
How can the concept of quitting on yourself help you?
I actually think just raising your awareness about what’s going on in your mind can be sooooooooooo good for you. When you can become better and better at catching yourself THINKING just before the “DOING,” you have a chance to pause and study yourself.
And you, my friend, ARE FASCINATING!
Ask yourself why you’re contemplating putting your goal on the back burner. I wonder what you will say?
It takes practice, of course. But all new skills do!
The personal reward for having more mindfulness in your life is huge. So much more control to live the way you want to live and be the person you want to be. ON PURPOSE!
Interested in some help? It’s so easy to get stuck. Read more in my FREE download, 10 surprisingly simple ways to bust out of your midlife funk!