Vince Lombardi said, “winners never quit, and quitters never win”. I suppose that’s true in a sense but I think it gets taken out of context and applied in ways that make things worse. I heard someone say, “I’m all for quitting things that are making me miserable”. I tend to agree with him.In my post, Training Mindset vs Competition Mindset, I kind of touched on this subject. Quitting is a regular part of training. We need to err a little on the side of caution so that we can compete. But what’s really important in determining whether you should quit something is your goals. I covered some designing goals fundamentals in Program Design Basics. These fundamentals apply to much more than just health and fitness.
If you’re thinking about quitting something, there’s almost certainly a reason why. You have to be honest with yourself and discover why you want to quit. If it’s just because it’s hard, then you probably don’t want the goal as much as you thought, or the goal was unrealistic. Accomplishing goals takes time and energy and the results have to be worth the energy. Otherwise you’ll just fall off and never get there. Set reasonable goals next time!
Now, if this thing you’re doing is really causing you pain and anguish physically, mentally, or emotionally, then you may be right for quitting. I’ve stuck with a lot of things I should have walked away from far before I did because of a sense of obligation. Really though, you have an obligation to yourself too. There’s no need to make yourself miserable to accomplish a goal. That is unless the goal is worth it to you to make yourself miserable.
If you’re just not making the progress that you think you should have, this desire to quit can be a signal to reevaluate. If you set a reasonable goal, and have been following your plan to reach that goal, maybe your plan was flawed. If you see that to be the case, then come up with a new plan and quit the old one. There’s no good reason to stick with a poor plan just because it’s the plan.
When deciding if you should walk away from something make sure you look at what you will lose if you do. All too often we look at what we will gain from a decision, but forget to look at what you will lose. There are perks to almost every situation. Being a POW… maybe not so much. But there are also downsides to almost every situation. You have to examine both sides.
Even if you do decide to quit whatever it is dragging you down, don’t forget that quitting isn’t always forever. Sometimes you have to quit now so you can come back to it later. It may not be the right time. Maybe you have a newer more pressing priority. Or maybe you just tried to do too much.
If you do decide to give up on something you started and you know you took a good long look at why you arrived at your decision, there’s no need to feel shame in walking away from something. We’re going to pick up and put down a countless number of things in our lifetimes. It’s how we grow and find the path we want to walk. There’s no reason to drag a bunch of guilt along with us over it.
And remember, goals don’t always come easy, so sometimes you’ll feel like quitting several times before reaching a goal. No need to feel ashamed about this either. We’re only human!