How To Quit Being A Quitter

I write this at the end of a year and the beginning of another one. Each time I reach such a milestone, I usually do some evaluation. What was worth doing last year? What changed? How this change impacted me?

During some of this rather informal evaluations I spotted an intriguing thing. It started as personal story but then evolved into something bigger. In today’s post I’m going to talk about this bigger thing that emerged. Precisely, I’m going to talk about the art of not quitting.

Blogging As a Commitment

While I was browsing through my posts on this very blog, I started to spot some similarities. Some commenters appeared more often than others. Of course, many of the people who comment on this blog are quite active in the personal development field too. I even become friend with some of them. It’s quite normal for them to comment on other blogs. But beyond these constant presences there were also some sporadic appearances.

A comment every now and then. An impression and then gone. Out of curiosity, I started to visit the blogs of those intermittent commenters. The same impression emerged from their blogs: a post every now and then. A quick effort and then gone. Nothing.

What happened to those blogs? They were not abandoned, but obviously they were not fully functional either. And then it hit me: they were drifting in the suspended limbo of “what if?”. “What if” I’ll start a blog and become famous? “What if” I’ll start to make some passive income? The “what if?” realm is a realm of neglected desires. A place with a lot of high hopes but almost no action to back them up. A desert space filled with stubs and unfulfilled promises. It’s quite depressing in this realm, if you ask me. Nobody’s really there anymore. Because those people quit. They quit their blogs and their presence on other blogs. They quit their project. They quit one of their dreams.

How To Stick With It

Quitting is the fastest way to screw up your life. And yet, so many people are doing it. And they do it for a reason: because it’s easy. It’s far more easy to abandon your goals then to stick with them. It’s easier to find excuses than to do work. It’s easier to blame it on the “life got in the way” than to actually make your dreams alive.

I’ve been there too. I was one of those lazy quitters and I must tell you: I didn’t feel well at all. On the surface, it’s easiest to quit, that’s true. It’s easy to be lazy and wait for things to happen instead of pushing the world to make them happen for you. But deep down, quitting is more like a disease. A chronic type of pain which is slowly eating you up.

This is how I started to fight quitting. By realizing it’s a disease, something that will literally make me ill. Have you noticed how lazy people have headaches? That’s not by hazard, I can tell you. Being a quitter will work against your normal physiology, it will stop some natural processes, creating whirls of free, unused energy, which will most likely transform into body imbalances. Which we also call illnesses.

So, I had to come up with a treatment. A medicine for quit quitting. (It’s amazing how much you can do when you realize your physical presence is at risk.) Here is my 5 steps recipe to quit being a quitter.

1. Clearly Decide What You Want

If you really like scrubbing twitter all day just scrub it, don’t pretend you’re a blogger just to procrastinate on twitter while pretending you’re promoting your blog. If you really like watching TV, just sit on the couch for the whole day and watch TV. Don’t pretend you want to travel the world and you’re doing some research.

Deciding what you want do is the cornerstone of every successful activity. If you want to be a successful blogger, well, take note that being a successful blogger means: writing good content, answering to comments, commenting on other blogs and promoting your own blog through social media. And that’s just a basic definition.


Write down what you want to do in a visible place. Put it on the wall in front of you. I want to travel the world. Or I want to become a social media consultant. Or I want to become a successful blogger. The most important thing generated by this simple action will be your energy focus. You will be focusing your resources in only one point, dramatically increasing your chances to succeed. Like the focus of the sunshine through a magnifying loupe: it can really light a fire.

2. Small Chunks Pays Big Time

Slice it up in daily manageable chunks. Long term results are more often the cause of small, constantly repeated actions. A sea is the sum of all the small creeks, after all. The beautiful snow is made by millions of snowflakes. A rainbow is light transformed by billions of raindrops. Just do what you have to do daily, regardless of how you feel about it.

Half an hour of writing each day will be 365 halves of an hour. And that will be 182.5 hours of writing. At a rate of only 500 words per hour (but in time you can easily get to 1000 words per hour) that would be 91.250 words written in one year. Let’s make it a round 100.000 words. Can you even imagine yourself writing now 100.000 words of good content? I thought so.

But if you slice it up in daily chunks of repeated actions you will add up. You will build brick by brick. Step by step. While browsing through my blog admin interface I saw that my blog have now more than 450.000 words written. For a moment, I couldn’t even imagine that number. Yes, you will have good days and bad days. Sometimes you’ll write 100 words, sometimes 2000. What matters is to do it daily.

3. Fail Fast, Fail Often

So you can understand if it works for you. If you don’t really fail on a wrong path, you can’t really know the good one. So, in order to be sure you are on the right track, be bold. Yes, you can fail. That’s one more reason to do hell out of your best in order to avoid failure. To mobilize every inch of resources available. It means going to sleep every day with a clear heart: I did everything I could today.

One word though: I’m not in this big trend of “let’s have a big failure to be ready for success” which seems to have spread lately, but I do find failure indispensable in the learning process. Getting too intimate with failure can lead to a friendship and I don’t want that. I accept failure as necessary and I welcome it every time it occurs, but man, what I want is success. Capital letters if you didn’t get it for the first time: SUCCESS!

4. They Don’t Know Shit About You

Nobody knows what you really want. Nobody can live for you. There is only one person in the universe who can live for you and that person would be, of course, only you. So, every time you get resistance from other people, resist to it. Don’t let it bring you down. As long as you already have your dream clear in your mind, as long as you’re already doing what you have to do daily, in small chunks, as long as all your small failures made you even more confident in your path, don’t trust anybody but you.

This is especially necessary not only when you get rejected, but when you get accepted too. When you start to get praised. When people start to notice your work. When they start to accept you. Remember, nobody knows what’s in your heart. Don’t stop at the first sign of success. Don’t settle for an intermediary victory. Don’t accept the good while indeifnitely postponing the best. Nobody knows but you what success really means to you. Live it up to the fullest. If your goal was to become the best blogger in the world, don’t stop when you’re an A-lister. Even if being an A-lister means centuries of evolution for you. Go for what YOU want, because they don’t know shit about you.

5. Be Happy About It

Chose one special moment to enjoy it. The end of the year will do it for many of us. Just look at what you did and be genuinely happy for it. Appreciate yourself. Appreciate your results. Smile at them. Smile at yourself. You did it!

If you skip this step, all of the above will be useless. Appreciation is the invisible fuel of your actions. If you don’t appreciate what you’re doing, you’re not pumping enough fuel into your machine. Sooner or later it will stop.

It’s the beginning of a new year and I’m looking back at what I did in 2009. And I’m incredibly happy about it. I could explode with happiness and I’m not joking. Now I can see that every 10 minutes stolen from distractions are paying off big time. Every decision to work instead of procrastinating is transformed into real, visible value. And I’m happy for every “I can’t do this thing now” transformed into “well, let’s do it anyway”. I’m proud of what I did.

And that’s the whole secret behind how to quit becoming a quitter:  you can’t quit something you’re proud of.

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31 Responses to How To Quit Being A Quitter

  • Uplifting post! I tend to get distracted and fall short of my goals a lot of the time. Take small chunks at a time and then take moments to smile.
    I appreciate the advice on how to stick with it!
    .-= Migration Mark´s last blog ..5 Conclusions About Late Night Dim Sum in Hong Kong =-.

  • Well I was struggling with my proposal I was writing but I also know I am a great fit for the job. So when I was about to throw in the towel I wrote a letter explaining I needed more information why I waited to the last minute and if I lost this project I still would like to schedule a Skype meeting so we could talk.

    I will not give up on this project and I may wind up with something other than I want but I did not give up. I would rather do the job right then to not do it properly.

    This is going to be a learning experience but if I can make it work I won’t have to look for a job. Plus, I have a mentor now it is just rough and I already have failed but it is different to fail once then to quit. You can fail at something but as long as you keep going then you have not quit.
    .-= Jamie Favreau´s last blog ..Social Media to Save the NHL (Last installment a bit late) =-.

  • Hi Dragos.
    Fantastic post :)
    What resonated with me was the ‘what if’ paragraph. ‘What if’ – two words, one question, has thrown off many ideas and hopes in my life because they were usually followed by a negative scenario. I.e. what if I don’t succeed, what if this happens that shouldn’t happen? Doubt. Doubt. And because this enters (and it isn’t stopped) I lost confidence and became what you are talking about. A quitter. Happened so much. I didn’t actually realise why it happened so often but it struck me as you said it. It’s because it’s easy. Easier than achieving the goal.
    I appreciate your reminder of this and your five suggestions on how to beat quitting. Habits. Training your focus. Gratitude. Suggestions that I’ve seen on your blog in other posts.
    You mean what you say. Love that :)

  • I was definitely one of those people without clear goals when I started my blog. Combined with zero knowledge of what blogging was all about and focusing on tons of different projects online all at once and I am even surprised my blog was still getting some readers. This year I clearly defined my focus as I stated in my latest post and things are definitely going to change for the better. I am grateful to all the bloggers I met online in the past few months like yourself Dragos for showing me “the way” out of the fuzzy state my blog was in. Great post and great advice!
    .-= Lana-DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..My 2010 Goals and 2 Awesome Techniques I Used to Set Them. =-.

  • I have an addition for no.3 – apart from continuing through failure and through praise, you have to nurture that little core inside you, where failure and praise don’t matter.
    In the end, we all blog (or coach, or train, or do whatever it is that awakens the vibe) because it resonates with us. Because somewhere deep inside we feel it makes a difference and “we’re supposed to do it”.
    If you’re quitting, perhaps you weren’t supposed to do it anyway. And maybe it doesn’t mean that much to you. Then you should find that other thing, that matters.
    And then, you won’t quit even if you wanted, because of how good it feels.
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..Fast living =-.

    • Well said! That’s exactly what I wanted to add. Sometimes people keep pushing themselves to do something so they don’t end up being quitters, and in the end, that makes them hate what they are doing.
      If you need to actually push yourself hard to do something and finish it, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it!
      No one ever quits on something he/she loves and enjoys doing.

  • Good post.

    Re. Point 2 – this is the fundamental principle behind the Pomodoro technique, which I’m finding very useful in combination with GTD. GTD helps me decide where to focus my efforts and the Pomodoro technique provides the focus.

  • Great post Dragos, I can’t recall how many times in the past I started something and then let it go. Fortunately when I started my blog I already knew that and I kept adding content, and it payed off!
    .-= Oscar – freestyle mind´s last blog ..Motivation 101: How to Stay Motivated =-.

  • I enjoy reading your posts. You made great points and they hit home. Often times I want to give up with my blog, but something won’t let me. This post is very inspiring and helps one really focus and not quitting. When we decide clearly what we want, then nothing can stop us. Even if we feel like quitting the drive and fire within will not let us quit.

    Take care!
    .-= Evelyn´s last blog ..60 Days to a Hallelujah Waistline =-.

  • Very inspiring post Dragos. I’m a fervent believer that working in small chunks pays big time. It’s a lot easier to develop the habit of doing a little of something everyday than it is to do huge daunting tasks all at once.

  • Great post. #5 is the most important to me. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, it’s very hard to continue. Plus, I’m very “proud of” what I’ve done so far and can hardly wait to do more.

    The only other thing I might add to this list is time management. For me, because I’m a kind of travel writer, I have to find time to get to where I’m going, take photos, and then write about it, which often includes a map. It takes time to do all of that.
    .-= LisaNewton´s last blog ..Andrew Carnegie’s towering legacy thrives at 3 Los Angeles Libraries =-.

  • Wait a minute – I leave intermittent comments but it does not mean I don’t take my blog seriously :) ))!! I am doing a million things, and I read more often than I care to leave a trail sometimes. Anyway, kidding aside, it’s just a huge commitment. I spend about 6-8 hours on a post, and only post 2x weekly, and travel a great deal and have a full-time job and a dozen other hobbies. It is hard to prioritize and stick to things with so much distraction in this information mania age. I think most people have really good intentions, and even slow blogs contribute to our world….just in small doses at a time :) !

  • Hi Dragos, I loved this one. You are so spot on with it. I know the feeling too. It is so easy to give partial effort to something and then just give up when it gets hard.

    The good thing is that most people are quitters, and that makes those who are not quitters just that much more valuable. Almost anything you do that is hard, makes you a winner because most other people will give up.
    .-= Stephen – Rat Race Trap´s last blog ..Unconscious Decision Making =-.

  • Hi Dragos,
    I’m a quitter in recovery, although I have to admit I never got headaches from all that quitting I did.

    I found your post quite inspiring and insightful, I forwarded it to my sis, who’s trying to shake lose of the quitting ailment.

    Point #2, breaking things in chunks, is a great tip for people like me (and my sister) with a propensity to quit.

    Imelda
    .-= Imelda´s last blog ..Dec 31, What writing skills do entry level employees need? =-.

  • What a wonderful post, this is my first visit and I will certainly return to read more. I particularly needed to hear #4, in the past I have often stopped at the first sign of success. Just as people begin to notice I think OK I can stop now my success has been verified by others.

    This year I intend to go all the way, my first goal is reaching a size 12 and walking into work wearing red bikini on Easter Monday. I have told all my friends at work to come with their cameras. People have started to notice my weighloss (16lbs so far) but I am not stopping till I reach my goal.

    Thanks so much for these words of wisdom.
    .-= Carol King´s last blog ..Where Do Law of Attraction Blogs Go To Die? =-.

  • Brilliant Post. I read several times to encourage myself not to quit anything easily. Learn how to fight back and how to make things happen our way. Thanks
    Subba

  • Your truly relate to this article. (The first of many I will read on this blog am sure). Thank You for inspiring me not to be a quitter any further.
    .-= reinvented housewife´s last blog ..Why this Re-Invented Housewife Blog? =-.

  • This post was just what the doctor ordered for me as the new year begins and I near a decision on a major self-driven project, i.e., to go ahead or not. “Not” would be easy…just by reading these tips, I’ve decided to go ahead (and to start following you on twitter).

    Many thanks.

  • [...] imbalances- also known as illnesses. So, come on quitters and learn to stick things out with these five ways to quit [...]

  • Good post! I’m currently attempting to take a grasp of priorities and goals in my life. Making the commitment to sustain started projects etc. really is a big leap. I hope I get there, not least because I truly believe your opinion on the effect on physique.

    Your points sound very similar to the ideal work environment described in agile programming guides. Interesting to see the same things effective in many scales.
    .-= Timo´s last blog ..Dr.Eamer =-.

  • Oh My God, this post was so inspiring! Thank you!!! Especially number four, I wrote in my note so I can’t never forget it and I am sure it will help me to fight for my dreams in all my lifetime!! I am from Brazil and I found your website by twitter.
    Just for you to know that you can really help lifes around the whole globe, thanks a lot!
    Bye Bye
    Ps.: I already added your site to my Favorites!

  • My husband sent me this blog entry, and I’m so glad he did. I can relate to nearly every word written (and felt convicted by several of them!). Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  • This article describes me very well recently. I gave up to follow my dream simply because too difficult for me to pursue it. But, I learned my lesson, like what you told here, I should clearly know what I want, make priorities, break it to smaller goals to make it achievable and I’m totally agree with you that every little thing we do pays big in the end.
    Thank you so much, your article inspire me to stick to my goal.

  • I don’t know how I found your blog.. I guess through Twitter… Anyway I like your last point…Be happy About it…. That really is the key for everything… The Dal Lama said “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” It’s the truest thing I’ve ever heard… =) v
    .-= Vanessa Rivers´s last blog ..From Tits to Twitter… with Debbie Reynolds =-.

  • [...] How to Quit Being a Quitter – As we get into this new year and continue to struggle with new resolutions, Dragos Roua gives us a few tips on quitting the qutting habit. Submitted by Lisa Newton of Travelin’ Local. [...]

  • I really enjoyed this post. You really touched on some of the reasons that people give up on their dreams…. and how to turn it all around.

    What resonated with me most was the part about not fearing failure. It’s a natural part of the road to success, so I agree with what you’ve said… fail fast.

    Great work, my friend.
    .-= Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last blog ..Peer Pressure and Conformity: Do You Fear Standing Out from the Crowd? =-.

  • I think taking a break is necessary process in everything we do. Don’t burn bridges you can always come back to.
    .-= BunnygotBlog´s last blog ..Sleeping With Your Business Partner =-.

  • Hey
    Found this post through another article in your blog and it’s really inspiring. I going back on blogging after some failed attempts and should stick to it this time. I have already a long list of stuff I want to write about. But how to know if it matters to others? if they will like it? well, I’ll see.
    Anyway, something I tend to not understand, maybe because Im french, is the obsession with work and the denigration of distraction. Distraction is good too, and needed. I like going out with friends, going to cinema, etc. yes, its less time to work, but its important.
    I think also that quitting is not such a bad thing when you set too big goals, or you realize its not what you finally want to do.
    .-= Marion´s last blog ..ISFiT 2009, une expérience inoubliable =-.

  • [...] family, your friends) doesn’t mean you start fresh, it means you’re not finishing your stuff. Quit doing this, take responsibility and do your part of the job. If you committed to something, finish it. It may [...]

  • This was a very motivational article. I quit everything. All my life, i was a lazy quitter. I have to do something about it, and this time i really wont quit.

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