Oh how I wish I could tell you that I always know when it’s the right time to quit something.
How I wish I could tell you that I’ve never quit something too early or continued with something for longer than I should have.
Knowing when it’s time to quit is hard.
There are so many factors to consider, not to mention that nagging voice in the back of our heads telling us what we ‘should’ be doing with our lives, reminding us of what others expect.
Whether it’s quitting a job, quitting study, quitting a habit, quitting a relationship or quitting on our dream – it’s hard to know when to call it. It’s that proverbial fork in the road, and there’s no clear answer as to the right way ahead.
There are so many reasons we might want to quit something – it could be self-doubt, boredom, fear, disinterest, difficulty, perfectionism, insecurity, people-pleasing. And I’m going to use this blog post to share a few of my experiences with quitting (and wanting to quit) and why I ended up making the decisions I did.
Being honest with ourselves
OK, so how do you know when it’s time to quit? Well, I think a really important part of knowing when to quit is being honest with ourselves.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there are so many factors that come into the decision to quit something, whether it’s a job, study, a habit, a dream, a relationship or something else.
We think about what we want, what our family wants for us, what society wants from us. We think about whether we’re good enough, whether we really have what it takes, whether we should bother trying. We think about whether we’ll ever be successful, whether we’ll ever be happy, whether we’ll ever ‘make it’.
And this is exactly why I can’t provide any kind of definitive answer as to when you should quit. But I can share my experience, so here goes:
I quit Kayla Itsines’ BBG
I finally made it the whole way through Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide about a month ago, but I swear to you I attempted the program at least 5 times before actually completing it.
The issue was that I could never make it past week 5 of the program. You see, the program gets a lot harder around the week 5 point so I let myself put those workouts off. I let myself make excuses.
And all of that meant I hadn’t done week 5 perfectly. And then it was extremely easy to use perfectionism as an excuse to just throw the towel in. I gave up. And then, when I was finally ready to give it another go, I would start at week 1 again so I could do the guide ‘properly’.
It’s a vicious cycle. And one that would repeat itself again and again unless I changed the way I was thinking about things.
Perfectionism is not a good reason to quit something. Perfectionism is not productive. Perfectionism means that we don’t try things unless we know we can do them perfectly, which means we miss out on giving a lot of things a go.
Hold yourself to a high standard, but don’t let that stop you from giving something a go. Don’t let it be a reason to quit.
What to read next: How To Deal With Perfectionism In Your Twenties
I wanted to quit studying law
As you might know, I graduated with a dual degree in law and commerce in 2015. And I don’t have any regrets about that.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I thought about changing degrees multiple times (when you spend 6.5 years at uni you have a lot of opportunities to think about it).
While I was interested in learning about the law, I realised about 2-3 years into my degree that I was completely disinterested in working as a lawyer. I hate arguing with people on the ‘principle of things’ and lawyers spend a lot of their time doing exactly that.
I decided not to quit my law degree for a few reasons – I knew I was learning important life skills that could be applied to anything, it was convenient (not a good reason, I know) and I couldn’t think of a better alternative.
So yeah, this might not be an example of perfect decision making but I still wanted to share how I made that decision, because it was an important one.
I wanted to quit personal development
I know this one might sound kind of weird, but not that many people are interested in improving themselves.
Most people don’t want to spend their weekends reading self-help books and talking about Oprah Winfrey and how our thoughts affect our reality. Most people don’t want to examine their habits and the way they interact with others and whether they’re really giving life everything they’ve got.
My obsession with personal development has always made me feel different. And I’ve tended to keep quiet about it.
When someone asks me what I’m reading and the real answer is a super self-helpy book (like the one I’m reading at the moment – ‘Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself’ by Joe Dispenza) I’ll often say I’m reading something else. Something a little more mainstream.
I’m doing a lot of work on myself to stop this habit of censoring myself, but wanting to be liked by other people has made me want to do less personal development.
I know that people-pleasing and wanting to fit in is not a good reason to quit, so I’m not going to.
I wanted to quit blogging
I’ve mentioned this many times before, but self-doubt has made me want to stop blogging SO many times!
I doubt whether what I’m writing is important or interesting or valuable. I doubt whether I have anything new to say. I doubt whether anyone’s going to read what I write. I doubt whether it’s worth my time and money.
And all of that self-doubt is only amplified by the fact that I know of only a handful of people in my real life that blog.
That self-doubt has never really gone away, I’ve just learned to stop listening to it. To stop letting it win.
I’ve decided not to quit.
What do you think?
I’d love to know what you think about all of this – whether there’s something you’ve been thinking of quitting or how you make these kinds of decisions.
Please let me know in the comments below, I’d absolutely love to hear from you!