Are you quitting on your health and fitness goals before you’re meant to?
Are you quitting before you’ve started? (i.e. not getting started at all)
Quitting at the perfect time maybe?
Read on as I get deeper into how to quit effectively, get started or never quit at all. I know it sounds silly but soldier on.
Quitting something like a particular sport may not necessarily be a bad thing. Quitting smoking is definitely a good thing! Why are you quitting? It could mean you just aren’t that great at it? Maybe it just doesn’t suit you? Maybe you’ve suffered more injuries than you’re willing to deal with? Maybe there are other avenues to get the required result?Maybe you want to be fit and healthy but the intensity of your chosen activity isn’t suiting your needs anymore.
Maybe there is another way?
Quitting can also be in the form of not even starting. Have you quit before you’ve had a chance to try? Too scared to start? Maybe not sure how to start? Constantly on the fence, if it’s the right move?
Maybe you’re following a specific diet and you feel it’s not working, or maybe you know you want to try it but can’t get started. Maybe you’ve even given up thinking about it!
I’ve had a goal to snatch my body weight for quite a while. I’ve had setbacks and I might quit the idea yet. I’m forced to take my time to properly rehabilitate. Time will tell whether I’ll be standing there with that 82kg bar overhead or it’s just a distant fantasy which also rhymes with insanity.
I’m prepared to start with the empty bar again, even the broomstick and work my way up. Do I need to snatch? No. Are there other ways I can get the same sort of rush? Yes. Can I get stronger in other ways? Yes. How disappointed will I be if I didn’t get to my goal? A little.
“I’m not talking about giving up on yourself and not having some sort of fitness and good health”.
Quitting isn’t bad or good.
Quitting isn’t bad or good. Sometimes it’s the best or only option. But be warned, have you put the necessary work into knowing if it’s the right move at the right time? You might be so close. You’ve put in so much work. Maybe you’ve been teetering between quitting and just thinking about it.
Maybe you’re about to take the plunge, get a gym membership or put those walking shoes on and walk along the river for the first time in 2 years.
But hang on what about the “NEVER GIVE UP!!!” attitude. I know it is quite contradictory. Of course context once again. I’m not talking about halfway through a nine round bout of amateur boxing, nor even a friendly game of touch. I’m not talking about giving up on yourself and having some sort of fitness and good health. The never give up mindset is needed in many situations.
So you’ve mulled over it for weeks, months, even years. If you’ve had time to think and you’re either ready to quit or ready to get started you’ve likely got a plan. Or maybe not. But is it a good plan or even better a detailed best steps strategy. If you’re thinking of quitting you’re going to need a strategy. A strategy that helps you and lessens the blow for whatever you are quitting from. Usually an activity, job, team, hobby, something you’re doing or even a bad habit. Just like goal setting requires strategy so does quitting.
Now let me stop for a second and explain why I’m talking about quitting and starting all in the same breath. We are always coming and going, swaying back and forth between doing and not doing. Decision and indecision. We are constantly negotiating with ourselves and others as we go through life.
Our brains don’t really like sitting down and thinking for long periods of time. We’d rather be browsing online, reading a book or blog, watching TV, hiking, rollerblading or at the gym.
Various internet sources suggest the adult brain makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day while a child makes around 3,000. And apparently we think about food somewhere around 220 times per day if you’re not in the food industry that is. Even if it was half that it certainly is a lot of processes. So, of course, you’re a decision making machine and never stop. (sorry I couldn’t verify the numbers but feel free to google it)
So where on the timeline are you? Are you building a little more awareness and confidence each and every day? Or are you sinking into despair and pessimism? When it comes to inaction with health and fitness this could mean the difference between 5 or 10, likely more, extra positive years on the planet.
So maybe quitting something is the right time! Give it up, move on, turn over a new leaf, get your glutes to the gym and build a new vessel. I don’t want you to give up unless what you’re doing isn’t serving you. If you know you need to stop doing something, something better than it, you’ll need something to replace it, distract you from it and start doing things that are more conducive to your goals. Do what’s better for you.
Do I want you to get started? Yes! This is about taking action but in the right direction once and for good. But in a way that’s going to give you the best chance for success. And yes sometimes quitting is the best move forward even though it may not seem like it.
You might relate it in some way to an exercise regression. You quit an exercise because it’s too hard, seems dangerous. Great, you’re aware. You failed. Awesome! Now you know. But do you give up? No need to. Ask yourself what is the regression similar to that of the exercise you quit?
For instance, a barbell back squat isn’t working for you, because of poor thoracic spine mobility, tight inner thigh muscles and rounded shoulders. No need to quit. Do goblet squats with feet elevated or sitting onto a box. You’re going to need a program to increase thoracic extension, loosen up those chest and shoulders and maybe some rolling through your leg adductors, and quite possibly some corrective exercises to activate and rebalance your lower limb strength. There is a rough plan which would evolve into a set of steps of a good strategy after more analysis and consultation.
Let’s go even deeper now.
PURPOSE AND MEANING
Lisa A. Williams, a social psychologist and senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales says the decision to quit “comes down to the absence of purpose and meaning.”
Purpose and meaning creeping in again. It’s everywhere! Like the good plague, if there ever was one. But rightly so, it’s like the concrete foundation to your house while bricks are your values and curtains your standards.
And herein is the reason so many goals fail and so many people quit! I included. So if quitting is the end-result then let’s take a look at the planning phase.
Let’s face it we are all human and things don’t always go to plan. I’ve walked out of jobs before when I was a chef, been fired on the spot and given the due amount of notice too. My inability to decipher a proper strategy; think about it constructively; with limited emotional intelligence; while having no purpose or meaning to anything I was doing contributed.
After all, I was still getting paid but was unhappy, burnt out or overly stressed in some of my jobs. Values misaligned, standards challenged. I certainly tried, but when trying one way continues to fail something has to change. And that is the strategy or inevitably, quitting will follow. Sometimes we’re so exhausted finding the right strategy we quit without a proper exit strategy. It can be tiring, stressful and very frustrating.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein
BEFORE YOU QUIT
So before you quit make sure it’s right for you, and have a solid purpose for doing so based on your good personal values. The caveat here is that you may need to quit and sit around being miserable for days or weeks to really find that clear headspace to take the next step. You’ve already taken the first one, quitting. While you’re thinking about starting a health and fitness goal have a proper strategy, ask for help and do your research.
Some advantages for having a reason, objective based on your values are,
- Improved Focus.
- Passion driving your energy.
- Being Unstoppable.
- Fulfilment in more seemingly mundane or challenging tasks.
- Fun — say no more!.
- Gain more confidence
- Your Trust / Faith in the process will grow
- You’ll achieve a Flow state
- You’ll be more valuable and more effective
With an honest-to-yourself-purpose and specific goal, you might even find out your intentions weren’t what you initially thought they were. Especially if you’re doing it for someone else and not for yourself. This can then open up a whole new outlook or method to get you where you want to be.
So to summarise, know exactly why you want it, what you want and who it’s for. Work out how many ways there are to get it? Are your intentions true to your purpose? Are they aligned with your values? Find the investment in time and money. Get help. Get a well thought out kick-ass strategy and make sure, really sure if quitting is the best option! Because something great may be just around the corner for you!
May your future be fit!