What does it take to never give up?
It’s April, which means most people who signed up for the gym in January have now quit. Some have good excuses. They have family commitments, new jobs, or financial hardships. Some had an illness, work project, child’s needs, or other temporary setback that required extra time. They allowed their short-term situation become their longterm position. They make their temporary situation their permanent excuse. Others quit slowly. They stop showing up as often until eventually they stop going entirely.
Whatever the reason, most will shrug off quitting because so many others quit as well. They have no problem dropping their gym membership for a club whose members know what they should do but accept themselves as quitters instead.
What most don’t realize is that quitting, even small things, changes our thought patterns. Quitting makes us less resilient, less flexible, and less optimistic about future opportunities.
Knowing that, it’s strange to think of how comfortable we’ve gotten with not completing what we say we will. Whether we give up on the gym, our Marriage, or a business we wanted to build, quitting something good has become surprisingly acceptable.
Why People Quit
Rationale for quitting was given above, but rationale is surface level. To understand why people quit what they committed to, we must search deeper.
- Lack of Personal Connection – Studies show loneliness increased in the pandemic with an estimated 3/5 Americans struggling with loneliness and isolation. This struggle leads to distraction, anxiety, depression, along with physical issues like obesity, heart disease, and even self-harm and suicide and makes follow through difficult.
- Lack of Value Connection – Clearly defined core values have diminished over generations. Fluid values means we have difficulty connecting the hard things we do in the moment with lasting good. For example, it is not enough to want to build a business to make money. We have to personally connect our business goal with those our business will benefit.
- Lack of Reality Connection – My brother-in-law was a State Trooper. He, understandably, bemoaned the fact that juries now watch too much tv. It isn’t that jury members receive information about specific cases. It’s that they receive false information about the court process. Jury members want cases neatly wrapped up in less than an hour with no loose ends. This is unrealistic. Social media and other false realities present us with the same beliefs about life without our realizing it.
- Lack of Self Connection – Life is rough. We make mistakes. We hurt. We are ridiculed, demeaned, overlooked. It happens. When our value comes from external forces or when we are unsure of who we are in our souls, we are easily knocked off course and have difficulty finding our way again.
- Lack of Goal Connection – Zigzagging through life is common. Many say they want one thing, getting healthy by working out for example, but then some bright shiny object comes their way and they get distracted. They chase a little of everything and claim to be excellent multitaskers when in reality, they never do more than stay afloat.
How to Never Give Up
Primitive humans learned to conserve energy. Quitting does just that. To become successful at something you need to overcome generations of inherited learning in order to expend energy rather than conserve it. You must learn who you are and the purpose of you and your goals and you must learn to embrace hard things.
- Build Personal Connections – Studies show the number one thing that keeps employees at a company is not salary or workload. It is personal connection. Being connected to colleagues and bosses prevents good employees from seeking jobs elsewhere. This is also true in more important relationships. Today, people spend time attempting to connect online. They forget how to forge real life, personal relationships. Beat the urge to procrastinate and self-protect. Be the first to pick up your phone and call someone. Have a personal conversation at least three times a week. Personal connections cannot be formed through texting, email, or social media. You must be vulnerable and call or meet for eye contact to form treasured bonds.
- Live Your Core Values – Certain core values are not necessarily better or worse than others. We all have values that mean more to us than others do. God designed us that way so we can achieve more by honoring our various strengths and glorifying His creation. Take time to reflect on what is most important to you. Choose three to five values that define you. Then weigh every decision against those values. Each night do an examination of conscience that includes asking how well you lived out those values.
- Live in the Real World – People often claim, “Life isn’t supposed to be this hard.” When were were promised that? Life is hard. Dealing with hard makes you stronger. Overcoming hard makes you successful. Embracing hard makes you inspirational. Stop looking for easy ways out. The hard way out is usually your best path. Use your time and energy to discover what is good but difficult and embrace the challenge! Learn to see setbacks as learning opportunities.
- Connect with Yourself – It is easy to be bogged down by to-do lists that you run yourself ragged or to fall prey to other people’s opinions. Counter this by making time to recharge every day. Begin your morning thanking God for the day and all the good and bad that will come to it. Take an early morning walk to get your blood flowing and mind cleared. Do not bring music or distractions. Use this time to walk yourself through your day, connect with nature, pray, breathe. Sit in silence for two-five minutes to breathe deeply. Box-breathing, using an inhale, hold, exhale, hold pattern does wonders to recharge your energy and clear negative thoughts. Stop by a church and sit in silence whenever possible. Write a daily gratitude list. Add an examination of conscience to your nightly prayer routine. Reflect on the positives and negatives of the day without dwelling on either. Simply notice how situations unfolded and look for alternate ways to handle them. Visualize tomorrow and the follow through required to attaining your goals. Imagine yourself seeing things through to their end.
- Connect with Your Goals – Dig deep into the why of your commitment. Looking good in a bikini is not enough reason to go to the gym. Being someone your husband and kids admire might be. Starting a business because you believe working from home is easier than dealing with a difficult boss means you will have to be your own difficult boss sometimes. Knowing you provide a service or product that makes people happy or protects the environment or some other altruistic ideal makes difficult times manageable.
Connect with God
Human nature makes the above points achievable on some level, but when things get worse than you ever imagined they could, you need more. When there is a catastrophic injury, devastating financial loss, severing of a relationship, or other life altering event that threatens your commitment, trusting in God and repeatedly turning to Him changes your outcome and your world.
Today is Good Friday. Think of Judas and Peter and their approaches to today.
Both betrayed Jesus. Judas had Jesus killed. Peter turned his back on the Lord three times when Jesus needed Him most. Death, delivered by Judas, was temporary. Jesus could have even forgiven him for his part in the betrayal, but Judas made his flaws bigger than God. He refused to humbly ask for help or forgiveness. He gave up hope. He gave up on his dream. He gave up on the world. He gave up on himself. He gave up on God’s plan. He gave up what he said he would do.
Peter, on the other hand, did exactly the opposite. He fell off the wagon. He turned his back. He quit working out his faith. He failed his core values. He quit loving as he’d promised to love. He quit living in the real world where pain and suffering often happen in unfair ways. He sought the easy way out.
But he did not quit there.
When Peter realized his flaw, he kept searching for God. As a result, his temporary failure led to his picking up the pieces and recommitting with renewed fervor. His refusal to quit what he’d started led to a permanent solution. Today, we still benefit from the effects of Peter’s refusal to quit.
We might be led to wonder what could have happened if Judas had sought the same forgiveness and determination to stay the course.
What will happen if you turn your back on what you say you will do. Look beyond the one aspect. Think of changes taking place in your heart, mind, and soul when you quit verses finishing. What lasting and unforeseen impact might you have on loved ones by following through?
You have been given a dream for a reason. God has a purpose for you and your life. Obviously, some things, like smoking, need to be quit, but if your dream is a positive one, pray and pursue. Never quit striving!
If you are interested in building Resilience, Optimism, and Opportunity to strengthen Body, Mind, and Soul, please join the Made for You Challenge launching this Spring! You can find out more by joining the Facebook group MADE FOR THIS or emailing Kerri@StrahlenGrace.com.