Are You Quitting All Over Yourself?

Eden Sher as Sue Heck on   The Middle.

Eden Sher as Sue Heck on The Middle.

Did you know that quitting could be the habit that is slamming your weight loss goals?

I continually work on NOT QUITTING. 

I used to be an expert quitter.

I had a small business in the 80s and I quit.

I was in theater and film and I quit.  I still like my reasons for quitting (having a family), but the fact is that I quit.

I would try healthy eating plans to lose weight and quit each one. I quit being vegan; I quit being vegetarian; I quit doing Atkins.

I would think a lot about exercise. Especially when I was watching TV.  I remember “the Bean.” The Bean was going to get me to exercise without fear of hurting my back and give me a six pack.  I made a promise to myself as I was dialing the number on my TV screen, “You are definitely going to exercise this time.” Yet the 1st time I blew up that bean (you have to fill it with air), boom -- I hurt my back. I quit. 

Then there was the Groupon for a home Pilates reformer. For sure having my own Pilates reformer was going to change my life. I used it for the 1st time, hurt my shoulder and quit. 

I used to go to yoga – Integral and Bikram, I quit.

Then there was the beach body DVD. What was I thinking! You might say I quit before I ever started on that one.

We invest a bit of money and we quit because we don’t invest the time and training to take us past the discomfort of learning something new. 

I quit because I was not really committed to exercising. I knew I should, but nah….

The results of my many quits is that I became skilled at quitting. 

The more you practice something, the better you become at that activity. 

I expected myself to quit. I would get excited about something new and then I would see failure in the not so future distance.

After a while I took stock of the results I was receiving from continually quitting -- overweight and out of shape, unhappy and self-critical.

The more I learn about the brain and its adaptability and ability to learn at any age, I realized that I could stop quitting.

Eating whole foods as I do now, took building new skills; but since I have been practicing these skills for so long, there is little or no effort involved.  I don’t think about quitting because I now have the benefits of my brain sending these activities to my unconscious mind – essentially creating new habits. 

One result of this is that there are no conscious decisions to be made, because when it comes to nourishing my body, I already have a nourishing mindset and nourishing results.

During the process of creating a new nourishing mindset, I have had to redefine my concept of failure.  Earlier in my life success meant avoiding being embarrassed or shamed at all costs. Failure was excruciating because my thoughts about it created an overwhelming feeling of SHAME.  Who wants to feel that? At the first anticipation of embarrassment, I would quit.  Most of the time that really meant not trying.

After my mindset change, I determined that if I can learn from any situation, it isn’t failure.  In the past the thought of not being able to do something – lose weight; exercise; apply for a new job -- would cause such anxiety.  Quitting was a relief.

As time passed, I still wanted more.  I wanted a strong body, health and freedom.  The years came and went; I could see that I had no momentum because I had so many quits.

At some point – after seeing enough family members suffer with ill health – I decided to commit to my health.  I would create a plan and a daily practice to keep me on course. The plan worked with food, but I was not exercising.  Remember, the bean, the Pilates machine?  When I started, I felt a twinge in my back or my shoulder and subsequently quit any exercise.

Recall that our brains can be excuse making machines and my brain was an expert.  Now I understood that a consequence for quitting was that my long-term goal would never be attained. 

When I read yet one more research paper about exercise and how it supports brain as well as physical health and better moods, I made the commitment to become someone who loves to exercise. Now, you can find me at the gym at least 2-3 times a week, plus a couple of Pilates classes.  I only tell you this because I didn’t exercise for more than 10 years!!  Maybe I took a yoga class once in a blue moon. 

I discovered quitting prevents learning and that I am a slow learner. It’s not a problem any more because, as long as I continue to work towards my goal, even if it takes me 10 mistakes to learn from the same failure – I will eventually learn.

Right now I am learning to play ping pong because it gives me such joy.  I am moving; playing and being challenged.  While I am not that good, I don’t completely suck; but, I am energized when I play! 

Even while learning a simple think like ping pong is a challenge to my brain, I am willing to stick with it even if I might be embarrassed by stupid moves.  I am not quitting.  Why?  I want to play.  I want to laugh.  I want to get exercise the ping-pong way.  I want to be among the men and women who play and play well.

That is an example of connecting the dots between your goal (what you want to achieve) and your purpose (why you want to achieve it). Making that connection will help you not to quit even if it feels a bit uncomfortable.

There are things I didn’t quit on.  Raising my daughter.  My husband. My job(s). My family. My training. My business.  You.

Quitting is not an option.  The way I look at it now, with all the years I fucked around and quit and sort of got away with it, there is no more getting away with it. 

I guess I had to grow up and take responsibility.

I didn’t quit on being a mother, and that was a challenge.  I didn’t quit on being a wife (the 2nd time). I am not quitting on my health.  I am not quitting on being an example that you can choose healthy food with joy.

One of my favorite characters on TV is Sue Heck.  I don’t even watch the show that often, but she made an impression on me.  She is the perennial optimist.  Even though her brain and ours can provide evidence that she is a loser, she chooses to believe in herself and continually goes after her dreams. The result is that at least 50% of the time she achieves them.  She shows up. She lives. 

When I was her age, I didn’t try.  Fear of not surviving shame and embarrassment just had me quitting all over the place. I didn’t give myself a chance to fail or to succeed.  I totally quit ahead of time.  I just hid!

Now, I sometimes I feel like Sue.  I use her as my inspiration. I don’t know at all if I am going to accomplish my next goal, but I am going to jump in and give it my all.

This is what I want for you. 

Here are the points to get you to stop quitting:

1.   Commitment to your goal (what you want) and connect it to your purpose (why you want it).

2.  Plan – Create a plan to follow to get to your goal using your PFC.

3.  Use the Model to review your results. Results are caused by a series of actions; Actions are motivated by your emotions. Thoughts create your emotions.  Examine each C.T.F.A.R. in your current Model to see how your beliefs are impacting your result. 

4. Choose to be passionate about your purpose.  Create passion by practicing new thoughts.

5.  Decide that Quitting on your passion, your body and your life is not optional.

6.  Expect Discomfort. Count on it. (Good Stress - Hormesis)

o  Expect your primitive brain to give you the most delightful and solid excuses to quit.  It is so practiced at this!

o  Learning and Failing on our way to our goal is expected.

7.   Anticipate obstacles – events that will challenge you and justifications you will make when you are thinking about quitting – I’m tired; I have a cold; I worked too long; I don’t know what to eat; I am bored with my food; I need sweets/wine fill in the blank| to destress. 

8.  Remember you have a choice point-you can STOP remember your commitment, your plan and your dream.  Move towards the future you want or You can choose to quit and move towards the pain you know. You are in charge. You are the adult in the room!

If you are practiced at quitting, you want to see where you are quitting in your life and what you have gotten as a result of it.

  • Decide on a goal. Ask yourself why you want it and what will be different when you get it.  Why do you want that? Is that goal in alignment with your passion? Your big picture life?

  • Commit to learning how to NOT QUIT even when it is hard and you want to.

  • Define success and failure as related to your goal. Failure is quitting.  As long as you are in the game you are succeeding towards your goal. Living the journey, not just the destination.

  • Find inspiration and take massive action.

Think of Sue Heck. Make a plan; take massive action and don’t give up; rinse and repeat.

Sue Heck on The Middle .