How to quit on never quitting
This is as much a love letter to myself as it is to you.
“Never quit” was instilled in me pretty hard.
And, to its credit, it’s probably why my business survived the 2008 recession and the 2020 pandemic and why, despite the ups and downs, my relationship with my significant other is still intact. 🙂
I am no quitter!
If you are someone who tends to quit easily and you want to increase your resourcefulness and determination, here’s a quote you might want to write on a sticky-note and tape to your bathroom mirror:
“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.” (attributed to Thomas Edison)
If you’re anything like me, we sometimes need reminders that IT IS OK TO QUIT. In a culture of go-go-go, do-do-do, this may be the most subversive act there is.
But I digress.
My point is: “I am not a quitter” is an ingrained part of my self-concept.
Which is particularly NOT helpful when it comes to bad habits.
I bite my nails.
It’s something I’ve done since I was 10-years-old.
I’m 48. And though I’ve had stretches where I stop, a month or so later, this habit (at least so far) has consistently sneaked its way back in. I have yet to eliminate it for good.
And I’ve done allllll the things – from peppery polish that’s designed to deter the habit, to having fancy fake nails glued on. These are temporary fixes. My engrained default pattern is to return to this unconscious childhood behavior.
And that’s typically how it goes.
While nail biting may seem like an innocuous example, the behavioral psychology expert in me knows that ALL seemingly dysfunctional behaviors (be it nail biting, alcohol abuse, over-committing, over-giving, overeating…) are all an adaptive strategy to create safety and comfort (a.k.a. coping mechanisms).
It can be incredibly powerful to explore one of your own “dysfunctional behaviors” and get real about your answers to, “how does this SERVE me?”
Bottom line is: Something about it is working for you. Usually it’s that something about it is self-protective. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be doing it.
Even blatant self-sabotage provides some degree of survival mode protection – protecting you now, even if it hurts Future You later.
When you come to realize that “dysfunctional behavior” isn’t an enemy working against you but rather an adaptive strategy that – at least on some level – SERVES you, you can then begin to appreciate such protective instincts and lessen any shame you may have about the behavior.
Shifting the perception of the behavior, from an enemy that sabotages you to a savvy survivor-in-action, diminishes shame.
From there, you can then begin to step OUT from the shame shadows and INTO an empowered new perspective where you get to choose behaviors that serve not only survival, but what I like to refer to as “thrival.”
If, for example, overeating, or drinking, or people pleasing – or nail biting – is the best and only available source of soothing and comfort for you, then good for you for doing it! BUT, when these cease to be the best and only available way for you to get the comfort you need, you now have options. A new choice can be made.
I know what it’s going to take for me to stop biting my nails.
The solution is actually pretty simple:
Behave in alignment with the fully-actualized version of me, who I lovingly refer to as… “Tara.” lol. Stay with me here for a moment.
When I refer to “Tara,” I am talking about my Future Self.
“Tara doesn’t bite her nails.” – me
“But I do.” – also me
Try it! It’s a self-talk trick that helps me make a clear distinction between who I am and who I’m becoming, and this helps me see clearly which decisions best align with who I aspire to be.
Ultimately, the act of building supportive habits that stick requires not just a shift in behavior, but a shift in your sense of identity. Who you ARE in your relationship to your habits is what establishes them, and what transforms them.
One way or another, you’ve got to build and strengthen the connection between You Now, and Future You.
And, sometimes, quitting is course-correcting.
Sometimes, quitting is self-liberation from decades of thought patterns and behavior patterns that don’t serve the biggest, most self-actualized version of you.
Sometimes, quitting is getting on board with the deep and timeless wisdom of your inner compass, no longer playing games you no longer want to play.
From nail care, to relationships, to how you create your own success… the same principles apply.
It’s about bridging the divide between what [Your name] does and what you do. 😊
It’ is normal to wonder if you have what it takes. It is normal to feel discomfort, even embarrassment, about aspects of you that are a work in progress.
We are in this being-human thing, together.
Doing new things, or old things in new ways, takes courage. But when we show up together and normalize being human while ALSO growing into the best versions of ourselves … This is where the magic happens.
I have come to adore being actively in the process of creating that which I know is an even more aligned expression of who I am. And I love doing this alongside others who enjoy – or at least want to enjoy – the process too.
It’s why I created The Brule Breakers Club.
Because, while it’s scary to do the work that makes all the difference…
And it’s challenging to learn new skills and let go of old habits…
And it can be hard to take responsibility for mistakes, and even harder to course-correct…
The right support makes it so much easier, so much more rewarding, and so worth the effort. It’s the one clear way to ensure your results – your joy, your happiness, your dreams, your needs, your desires, your THRIVAL.
I want to hear from you! Tell me, what’s something that Future You does or doesn’t do, that you do now?
With so much love,
Applied Psychology Coach & Author of The Brules of Life
P.S. #BruleBreakerSpotlight Contest winner to be announced on December 18. There’s still time to post your nomination! Go HERE for contest details!