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Are you facing a situation you want to get out of? Here’s what to ask yourself when you feel like quitting and what to do when you’re deciding whether you should.
Sometimes people quit for wise reasons; a lot of projects can end up being fool’s errands and might cost you personally, professionally and financially. Other times individuals only give up because it’s less scary than continuing to push forward. Figuring out the difference between the two kinds of quitting is key to making the right decision.
To discover whether or not to give up on a project, you should ask yourself these six questions.
1. What Makes You Want to Quit?
It’s important to figure out specifically why you’re giving up. If you’re not sure of the reason, break the task down. Like you would if you were preparing a to-do list, divide it into all of its components so that you can go through the actions you need to take on a step-by-step basis.
Now identify what’s causing you the most stress, fear and/or dread. This is similar to what’s known as negative visualization. Often the step causing you the most difficulty is the one you’re currently working on. Or it can be something fast approaching. Whatever it is, once you know the core reason you want to quit, you’ll be able to discern the answers to the following questions and make a more well-informed decision.
2. Do You Feel Like Quitting for a Good Reason?
You must uncover whether you’re quitting out of a place of strength or a place of weakness.
There are plenty of good reasons to quit, like if the task might cause you lasting emotional harm or you feel like your time could be better spent elsewhere. There are even more bad reasons to quit, like impatience, frustration or temporary hardship. Which category does your reason belong in?
There are a few ways you can figure that out. You can go with a classic list with two columns, one in favor of quitting and one in favor of sticking to it.
Or you can use a more complex, perhaps more precise, tool like the Decision Matrix Analysis. Whatever method of comparing and contrasting the options leads to an answer that makes sense to you is effective.
3. Is the End Result Worth the Hardship?
Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.Theodore Roosevelt
You have to put a lot of yourself (blood, sweat, tears, etc.) into anything of value. That’s not up for debate. When you’re thinking of quitting, you need to ask yourself if what you’re getting out of the project is going to be greater than or at least equal to what you put into it.
Do you believe the hard work you’re pouring into the project will pay off in the end? It’s near-impossible to know for sure, but consider whether you stand a reasonable chance of recouping the time, effort and possibly money you’ve already invested and what you will also have to invest if you keep going.
If you don’t think the investment will be worth the reward, it might be time to throw in the towel. But if you think you’ll be rewarded for sticking with the project, it may be worth continuing, even if it’s difficult. Just don’t fall into the Sunk Cost Fallacy.
4. What Makes You Want to Keep Going?
The flip side of asking why you want to give up is to consider what you have to look forward to if you do decide to continue. What aspects, aside from completing your goal, seem like fun?
You have to add the joy you’ll get out of those parts of the project to the benefits of the end result when deciding whether or not you truly want to quit. Consider the value of the journey as well as the value of the destination.
5 . Will You Regret Giving Up?
Regret isn’t always bad, but if you obsess over your decision and start to blame yourself, regret can negatively impact you emotionally, mentally and even physically.
That’s why you need to consider whether or not quitting a project will lead to an excessive amount of self-rumination. If it might, quitting suddenly becomes a more risky proposition.
The best thing you can do to avoid an unhealthy level of regret is to reach a point in your project where you feel like you can stop without endlessly wondering, “what if?”
For example, don’t close a new restaurant before it even has a chance to get off the ground. Leave it open for long enough that you can feel comfortable that you gave it a fair shot.
6. Why Did You Start in the First Place?
It all circles around. Identify what made you decide to start your venture. Did your original motivations come from a healthy place? Do those reasons continue to hold true now? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, you’ll have more to think about before choosing to quit.
Don’t expect an answer key at the end of this article. No magical combination of your six answers to these questions tells you definitively whether or not you should keep going. The decision ultimately comes down to you. Hopefully, these six questions give you a good starting point on your road to making the right decision.
What to Do When You Feel Like Quitting
When you feel like quitting, it can help to reframe the way you approach things. Here is what you can do when you feel like quitting and want to find the motivation to keep going.
Remember Why You Started
We have said it once, and we will say it again; when you feel like quitting think about why you started in the first place. This could help relieve some feelings of giving up while also reminding you why you started. Remember, many of the hard things in life are worth fighting for and putting in the hard work.
Before quitting, think about everyone who said you would fail. You don’t want to prove them right. You want to show close friends and loved ones that you are good enough and finish what you started. You will not be defeated by small challenges and roadblocks. Instead, you are going to finish what you set out to do.
The challenges we face are designed to strengthen us. They prepare us for the harder challenges we will experience in the future and offer us solutions on how to solve the same problems in the future.
Instead of having a negative attitude and thoughts toward these challenges and obstacles, we should welcome them and maintain a positive attitude and mindset daily and not quit when things get hard.
Find the Right Motivation when You Feel Like Quitting
After revisiting your purpose and reason for starting, you need to find the right motivation to move forward and keep discouragement at bay. Look at things from a different perspective. If you accuse others of holding you back, try to see the reverse side of things. People project certain things onto others when they don’t want to take ownership of them.
Related Reading: What is Motivating You?
Next, identify your intention. When you think about quitting, ask yourself, do I really want to finish this or do I want to become another person’s obstacle or challenge? Be clear about your intentions and put in the appropriate time and effort into everything you do.
Don’t Be Afraid of Being Uncomfortable
Step out of your comfort zone. Life isn’t easy. We face our fair share of challenges that we need to overcome; it is all part of our journey. When you feel like quitting, try stepping outside of your comfort zone. Your feeling to quit may be due to being stuck in a rut.
Revisit the goals you have set, readjust, and accept that things will get hard, but it is how you overcome the challenge that matters most.
Share Your Goals
Sometimes it helps to share your goals with other people who can help motivate you and spur you forward toward success. For example, you wake up one morning and say it is the day you will quit smoking. You may start out strong and resist that next cigarette, but as the day goes on, you decide not to mention this goal to anyone out of fear that you will quit soon. Instead of keeping it to yourself, find someone who can hold you accountable and help keep you on track.
Acknowledge Your Challenges
When you feel like saying, I want to quit, take some time to acknowledge the challenges you face. That way, you can learn from them, embrace the challenges, and move forward with more strength than before.
Common Reasons People Say “I Want to Quit”
How often have you said, “I want to quit.” People give up on their goals too early, often because they lack the discipline needed to move forward.
Reasons for Quitting Goals Too Early
Other common reasons people quit are because they are distracted by what someone else is doing, they don’t believe in themselves, they would rather quit than reformat their strategies, they mistake failure for lessons learned, they care too much about what others think, and want the outcome more than they want to obtain a new skill.
A person’s mindset is everything. If you don’t have a positive frame of mind and let negative thoughts take over, you will not be able to find your way to success.
An average skillset and a persistent mind can make it further than someone with no self-belief. Start forming positive habits to shift your mindset and turn yourself in the right direction. If you follow this advice, success and happiness are yours.
Reasons for Quitting a Job Too Soon
Another thing people often quit is jobs. Perhaps you have heard of the Great Resignation. Also known as the Big Quit, the Great Resignation was a recent economic trend in which employees voluntarily resigned from their current job.
The primary cause is the intense competition for workers due to increased job vacancies and lower unemployment rates in industries hardest hit by the pandemic. Others may have quit because they received a better job offer elsewhere or wanted to pursue their dream job.
During the Great Resignation in late 2020 and early 2021, and over the past year, more than 4.5 million Americans quit their current job. Some left to pursue new careers or lifestyles, and others to improve their mental health, relieve some of their stress, and find job satisfaction elsewhere. Some even left in hopes of finding better benefits than their current role.
When we quit, it is often to find a way out of a stressful situation. However, it is that stressful situation that we can learn from as we find ways to overcome the challenge of our current role.
To Quit or Not to Quit?
Is there ever a valid reason for quitting? Yes, if you find a better opportunity or compensation or find something that offers more of a work-life balance with less burnout or job satisfaction, this could be a valid reason for quitting.
It is these times when you can say, I want to quit because you have the certainty that quitting the goal or your current job would actually be the best and most courageous thing you can do.
However, if you are quitting just because things have gotten too hard and you fail to embrace the challenge, then you may be abandoning your goals prematurely and should reflect on what you can do to move forward and not quit your day job just yet.