My 90 days of discipline ended 45 days early. It didn’t work. I quit. We often resist quitting or giving up because we perceive it as a failure, but quitting felt good. I considered toughing it out, but I couldn’t find a reason to keep going. For a quick recap, I committed to 90 days of …
- Very simple, clean diet (no sugar, alcohol, processed foods).
- Consistent 2-3 hour morning routine.
- More exercise: 3-6 hours of high intensity (heart pumping) exercise each week.
- No mindless internet surfing.
- Dedicated, themed work hours.
I’ve been practicing a little bit of all of these things for years, but to up-level all of them at once did the exact opposite of what I was hoping for. I wanted to use these 90 days to create less distraction, more energy, focus and creativity and to finish the first draft of my new book. Instead I felt scattered, tired and overwhelmed. So I quit.
Even though I quit, some great things came from starting:
- I started exercising more vigorously and now, in addition to walking and yoga, I’m spending four or five hours a week building muscle and sweating profusely.
- Inspired by the challenge, a good friend quit drinking alcohol for 90 days.
- I realized that even though I’ve made a bunch of changes over the years, one at a time still works best for me.
- The book is almost done. I tried to use this challenge as a way to create the perfect container with perfect conditions to write. When I saw (with a little help from my friends) that it wasn’t working, I simply removed myself from the container. Instead of writing an hour a day, or 500 words an hour, or any other structured writing process, I packed my bag, drove an hour away and just wrote until I couldn’t write anymore. I did my morning routine, ate toast and jam, drank lots of coffee and kept writing. It took me two months to write 8000 words and only four days to write 25,000 more.
- Now I know I’m not alone. When I was struggling with the 90 days of discipline, I got frustrated. I felt like I was letting you down, like I didn’t know what I was doing, and like I was kind of a mess … a failure. And, feeling that way made everything worse and slowed my progress. Then I watched this heart-felt, very honest video, about how no one has their “iSht” together, laughed out loud and joined this Facebook Group that my friend Marsha created.
I don’t spend much time on Facebook, but when I do, I want to laugh and feel connected. This group makes me smile with their honesty and reminds me how imperfect this adventure in being human really is. If you ever feel like you are a bit of a mess, please join me here in the group. At the very least, it will make you laugh and at the very best, it will remind you that you are just fine the way you are (even when you quit things, drop things, forget things, spill things, say the wrong things or mess up in any other way).
How to quit without feeling like a failure
- Write about how you are feeling. Put it all on paper and then let it go.
- Call your favorite person. They will make you feel better.
- Join the I don’t have my iSht together Facebook group.
- Replace the word failure with human. Instead of thinking or saying, “I’m a failure,” say, “I’m a human.”
- Put your hands on your heart.
Now you can quit without feeling like a failure, and start something new without worrying about what might happen if you quit.
So please, quit your diet, a book you aren’t enjoying, a career, a goal, a city or whatever you are engaged in that is not working for your life and your heart. Notice the difference between what challenges you and what defeats you. If there is a better way, change course or simply walk away and start over.