I recently started a new job. I have been working remotely for over 7 years and this is my first real job in that time. I had become so accustomed to working for myself and having no set schedule. So basically this is a huge adjustment period for me.
Even though I started a full time job, I didn’t want to let my dream of building this blog to fall by the wayside. I made a commitment to continue writing blog posts and doing all of my 30 day challenges. I will say that this blog is uniquely difficult because I am not only writing and maintaining a blog, I’m also doing multiple 30 day challenges on top of it! If I want to keep the blog going, I have to keep doing the 30 day challenges.
I’ve only been at this job for a week and a half, but last night as I was leaving work I had an extremely strong, convincing thought. A voice in my head took complete control. It said something like: “Hey Tyler, you don’t really need to do these 30 day challenges and write this blog. You can put it on pause! You’re working full time now and that should be enough. Imagine how much more relaxing coming home will be without having to do all this stuff!”
I call this voice the “cunning quitter” and it can be so confounding. It blends into your normal train of thinking and attempts to undermine your progress. It’s a real dick.
I’m not going to lie, last night this thought was about as strong as they come. It had me convinced for a solid half hour that I was going to give all of this up. The promise of less work and more free time was so beautiful! But I did all of my 30 day challenges yesterday and still posted a new blog post.
This kind of thought can be absolutely debilitating to success and self-improvement in life. This is the voice in your head that is screaming at you to quit your workout the entire time you’re working out. This is the voice in your head that tells you to that where you’re at is a fine place to stop. This is the voice that tells you that the effort you put into improving yourself won’t be worth the end result. This voice is DANGEROUS.
I’ve succumbed to this type of thought so many times before. It’s the reason that my past is filled with abandoned goals and deserted projects. The fact of the matter is that this thought is just plain WRONG. By learning to identify it and to deal with it in a healthy manner, you can learn to stop letting it have power over you.
These “just quit” thoughts vary in strength. Some days they’re nothing but a tiny whisper that I can easily tell to shut up. Some days they’re like a booming foghorn that pushes me to the brink of giving in. You know they’re particularly strong when they have you completely on board for a long period of time, just like what happened to me yesterday.
So what did I do to deal with these thoughts yesterday? Well, I did a few different things.
The first thing I did was to identify it. After about 30 minutes I realized that it had hijacked my true desires. I didn’t want to quit my 30 day challenges and quit this blog! Once I realized this, I could more effectively address it.
Once I identified it, I challenged the thought. I said something along the lines of: “Oh yeah? You really want to work front desk at a hotel for the foreseeable future? You don’t want to get back to blogging and community building like you used to do? You want to fall back into the bad habits that you’re trying to overcome with these challenges? Yeah….right.”
By confronting this thought pattern, you can help reorient your brain to what you actually want. You have to remind yourself why you’re doing this particular thing that would be easier to quit. Remind yourself of how you felt when you first started, when you were full of passion and optimism. Remind yourself that there are reasons you want to put in the work. The end goal is more important than the discomfort and hard work of the present moment.
After you reiterate the reason you’re doing this, you have to do the most important step: take action. Do whatever the thought/voice was telling you not to do. Try to avoid overthinking it and worrying about it like I found myself doing on the drive home. Just START. Once you start, everything else becomes far easier.
Quick Summary: To really challenge and take the power away from the “cunning quitter”, here’s the basic 3 steps you should take:
- Identify it. Try to realize which thoughts are telling you to give up and isolate them.
- Confront these thoughts. Revisit the reason you are doing the thing it’s telling you to quit. Why did you start working out or dieting or implementing some new habit?
- Do the action anyway. Put off the urge to quit long enough to just start doing whatever you have to do. Once you start, you’ll have momentum and you’re golden.
Good luck! Please tell me how you deal with the “cunning quitter” in the comments below!