Are you thinking of quitting a goal or dream? Don’t…not just yet. Sometimes we quit for the wrong reasons and become obstacles to our own success.
Answer two questions…are you experimenting with new goals every one or two weeks? Are these new goals related to a bigger project? Do you find you need new goals often to keep you alive? If you answered yes, no, yes then read on because you might be quitting your goals too soon.
Reasons for quitting
Some of us have the tendency to have new goals without completing old ones. We behave impulsively, letting go of incomplete goals, and quickly starting a new one. We have shiny object syndrome as we tend to get bored easily or don’t like working on the details of an idea or goal.
In other situations, we quit when the work becomes too hard. We determine that the outcome of the goal is not worth the effort. This happens when we have to learn something new or change our attitudes and behaviors because our current characteristics would not allow us to achieve the goal.
New goals often expose a weakness in our skills and mindset. We quit when we unconsciously recognize our own weakness and because we are afraid to fail. We may be too proud to admit that we need some additional help or coaching.
We quit because we want to relieve ourselves of frustrations or anxieties or fears or pride.
When you should not quit
If achieving the goal will better serve you and your loved ones then reconsider quitting.
Maybe you have 50 lbs of weight to lose but it is just so hard because you lost 5 lbs and hit a plateau. Quitting will mean you are giving up on your health. Quitting means your loved ones are likely to lose you earlier.
Or if you always wanted to write a book and quit, then you might regret not doing so years later.
The price of quitting is steep, and not just in achieving goals. Giving up on useful goals do nor serve you physically, mentally, or emotionally.
A goal is like a promise to yourself. We feel terrible when we break promises to others, much less when we break promises to ourselves.
Quitting derides your credibility in front of others and yourself.
If we keep quitting, we will never build the perseverance muscle.
Successful people are successful because they have success habits and one of those habits is not quitting and persevering with the goal.
How to not quit
If you are about to quit a goal, ask yourself why you want to quit and why now. If the reason is because you will put yourself and others in an unsafe position then (e.g. get further into debt) then you are justified in quitting.
If you are afraid, think you are to be embarrassed or humiliated, or bored, then reconsider quitting and enlisting one or more of the following support actions as proposed in Get Out of Your Own Way by Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg.
- Recall the last goal you quit. Think of the positive and negatives short-term and long-term consequences for quitting the goal.
- What are the positives and negatives of you quitting this time in both the short-term and the long-term?
- Instead of quitting, can you pivot and explore other strategies?
- What mindsets and behaviors do you need to change to not quit your goal?
- Why are you anxious or fearful of the change?
- Which one of the mindsets and behaviors will allow you to make rapid progress on your goal? Can you break it down into smaller actions that you find less fearful, less anxious or easier?
- Can you enlist the support of objective and nonjudgmental persons to help coach you through mindset and behavior change to help you to finish your goal?
Not quitting requires us to change. But, we can change incrementally. When we can make progress in one small change we become more confident to change in other areas. Reaching the goal might take longer but we will have less regrets, more results, and greater self-confidence in the long-term.
“Get Out of Your Own Way” by Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg, Chapter 32 – Quitting too soon. Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, 1996.