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Sunday, April 13, 2014

When you feel like quitting

I've always chuckled to myself when people say, "quitting is not an option."  Sure it is. 

UFC fighter Chael Sonnen gave the perfect response to that old saying when he said, "When doubt seeps in you got two roads you can take either road. You can go to the left or you can go to the right and believe me, they'll tell you failure is not an option. That is ridiculous. Failure is always an option. Failure is the most readily available option at all times, but it's a choice. You can choose to fail or you can choose to succeed."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say we've all quit something.  Somewhere in our lives we've all dropped out of girl scouts, quit basketball, stopped caring about our nutrition, quit coming to group exercise class or something of the sort. And yes, I've done all of those…where else do you think I get my examples.   If you haven't then you can quit reading this because you're perfect.  Of course if you quit reading, then you're…well...a quitter…. your choice.  Cough, quitter, cough.  :)

Seriously though, I've been there. I've taken on something and for whatever reason didn't finish.  Sometimes, we fall off the wagon.  It happens.  Luckily for you, I've had first hand experience learning how to not quit even when I really, really wanted to give up.

So if/when you find yourself on the downward slope where workouts are falling off the top of your priority list and you're lacking the motivation to keep going, try one (or all) of the five strategies below to lift your spirits.

Remember why you started:  Think back to when you were just starting out.  Why did you start? What where you hoping to gain?  What was your goal?  Often times reminding yourself of your original purpose will rejuvenate your motivation to keep going.  

Tell someone:  When you're starting to dread workouts and entertaining the idea of skipping/quitting all together, talk it out, and I don't mean with your couch loving, fast food eating friend either.  Find someone you look up to, respect and trust will give you sound advice.  I know it's easy to just sink into a hole and disappear from the gym but don't.  Talking through your feelings can help.  It's ok to ask for a pep talk.

Try something new:  If you're training plan is flexible try switching it up to keep your brain entertained.  Check out a new class, a new studio, take your workout outdoors if you're normally inside, or vice versa.

Take it day by day:  Working towards a goal that's months or even years away can be overwhelming.  When you're three months out it may be easy to lose the urgency needed to get through workouts.  Instead of looking at your plan on a monthly scale try taking it day by day (or week by week).  Get through one day at a time and remember that even slow progress is still progress.  With consistent effort, you'll get there.

Imagine what life would look/feel like if you quit:  As much as I hate to entertain negative thoughts, it can be helpful to picture what your life would be like if you quit.  How would you feel?  Where would you end up?  Are you happy/content with the effort you've put forth thus far or would you feel like you stopped too soon? Take some time to reflect on these questions and you may just find the extra push you need.

If all else fails carve out two hours for yourself to sit down and watch any of the following:  Rudy, Rocky IV, Karate Kid, Hoosiers, Forres Gump, Mulan or my favorite, either of The Hunger Games movies.  Really, one of them has to get you revved up. ;o)

Your turn:  What is your favorite motivational movie you would add to the list?


  1. So important to understand and know WHY you feel like quitting. (So often it is fear!) Great strategies to re-commit!

  2. Ha- I love your motivational movie list! I get a lot of my motivation from TV shows and books. Let me throw in Veronica Mars (bc she's a badass), Buffy (bc she's kickass), and Doctor Who (bc I'm a nerd and that show always makes me believe anything is possible. Even time travel). I'm a recovering quitter, so your post really resonates for me. Thanks for your tips and for giving a bit of motivation this Monday! :-)

  3. I love this! I love that quote from the UFC fighter too. Recently, i've kind of been in a workout rut, so these tips definitely resonate with me. I like the "try something new." I've been mainly walking and trying some new youtube videos online...and I'm ok with it! I'll get back to running and lifting this week though.

  4. Awesome post! Love pointing out that failure is in fact an option then helping to realize how to avoid it or re-commit

  5. Great post and yes I have quit more things than there is room in this tiny box to write. But the things I stuck with I have been successful at. Motivational movie what was the one with Demi Moore when she shaved her head? Thelma and Louise? I may have a warped sense of motivation ��

  6. I love this post so much!!!! Accountability is what has helped me time and time again when I've reached my "I want to quit" point. Definitely The Hunger Games as a motivational movie.

  7. LOVE this!! I often remind myself why I am doing what I am doing and it helps set me back on course. We all hit those rocky patches when we doubt ourselves, its hard and we want to just stop.