Is it ever okay to quit?

The notion of quitting a goal has a negative connotation. The internet is flooded with quotes meant to inspire people to keep moving forward, regardless of what it takes.

Society tends to look down on those who quit. Theo Tsaousides, Ph.D states, “…we feel sorry, unsympathetic, or worse, indifferent toward people who quit. There is nothing to be learned from them.”

My question is this: In certain circumstances, is it okay to quit? The above quote says no, but Mary Laura Philpott in the September 2020 issue of Real Simple magazine disagrees. Actually, her opinion is right in the title of her article “A Good Quit Feels Powerful”. Philpott indicates that the act of quitting something that is no longer serving us sends a strong message about what we deem is important in our lives. The things we do not choose are just as significant as what we choose.

So, what if you are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged? Would losing that last stubborn few pounds make a big difference in your mental state or solve all of your problems? Or would incorporating some quiet time or meditation better meet your needs?

I think the real answer to my question is deeply personal. For instance, I have started and quit many things over the years for various reasons. I quit my last blogging endeavor because it not longer felt successful or purposeful to me. I quit my trial period of a weight loss app because after a month of not losing a pound, I felt disappointed and stressed. It was not bringing me joy or a sense of pride. I’ve quit jobs, friendships, and feelings of obligations toward others. Yet, one thing that never quits is my motivation to improve my life and my relationship with myself.

If you do make the decision to quit something right now, don’t have it be reading this post because you’ll miss Maralee Bradley’s sage advice:

“Here is the simplest advice that I can give you if you decide to quit: bury the goal, mourn it, and move on. Giving up on something that you have wanted for a long time is painful. It deserves a proper burial and maybe a short mourning period, but you have to move on. To continue thinking about it, wondering what if I tried harder or worked on it longer, and imagining what life would have been like if you had succeeded, is only going to make you feel worse and keep you stuck in self-pity and self-blame. And the best way to move on is to direct your energy, hope, and enthusiasm toward new ideas, new projects, and new goals.”

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References:

Tsaousides, Thad, Ph.D (2018, May 29). Is It Time to Give Up On Your Dreams?. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/smashing-the-brainblocks/201805/is-it-time-give-your-dreams

Philpott, Mary Laura (2020, September). A Good Quit Feels Powerful. Real Simple, 14.

Bradley, Maralee (n.d.) I’m Raising My Kids to be Quitters. Her View From Home. https://herviewfromhome.com/kids-sometimes-its-ok-to-quit/

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