Let’s be honest. Not every goal is achievable, at least not on the first try.
Sometimes, we just bite too much to chew, and we have to throw in the towel (or spit it out if I were to run with that saying).
Maybe the goal was too ambitious. Maybe it just wasn’t our day.
Or maybe we just chickened out.
Over the years I’ve been coaching, I’ve noticed a clear pattern of why and when people are most likely to quit. It’s extremely predictable, regardless of the goal.
In this article, I want to share with you what the point is, how you can prepare for it and overcome it.
The New Beginning
New goals and endeavours always start the same way – with a honeymoon period. It’s new, it’s fun, it’s exciting, and we are fantasising and being romantic about what it’s going to be like and the progress we’ll make.
The excitement is high, the motivation is high, and we’re optimistic about it all.
All that’s great. I would not discourage anyone from that.
It’s (probably the most) fun part, and it’s important to know that.
The Reality Peak
After pursuing the goal for a while, it may be a few hours, days or months, we often come to realise that it’s not going to be as easy and rosy as we thought. We start to learn and discover all there is to learn, how much work it would take to reach our goal, what we’d have to endure.
This typically kills a lot of the initial excitement and optimism.
I am not even mentioning that the novelty is starting to wear off.
From there, you may notice your drive starts to slide down, and the rosy vision is getting somewhat blurry or even hard to see at all.
The Quitting Point
This is the Quitting point. This is where you realised that what’s ahead is a lot more work for much longer than you thought and much less fun than you expected.
It is here, at the quitting point, where people start to look for the next shiny thing. Something that would be easier, faster, and/or more fun.
From here, anyone else’s grass looks greener than your own.
Of course, it’s just an illusion.
The grass is not greener on the other side.
The grass is greener where you water it.
Read it again☝🏻.
Let it sink in.
(No pun intended.)
The problem with the next shiny thing and the grass on the other side is that you’ll go through the same curve, again, and again.
This is why people keep jumping from one thing to another, never making anything work.
If you want to accomplish anything meaningful, you will need to keep going from the quitting point and endure what may come. This is how all progress is made.
I call this stage The Climb. It’s a climb you’ll need to conquer. It’s uphill, it’s harder than the other way, there’s no way around it.
For some time, it will be mostly about focus, discipline and perseverance, and less (not entirely) about fun, excitement, and entertainment.
But if you stick with it, you will start getting better, things will start improving, and the real results will start emerging.
Then it will become much more fun, exciting and enjoyable again because you’ll get to see more clearly how your efforts lead to the results you want.
The best way to make it through The Climb is to create “drills” and habits of activities you know, when repeated, will move you forward.
There, as I like to say, you need to “close your eyes” and do.
Focus on what needs to be done, take it one step at the time.
People often fall into the trap of focusing how much more there is to climb and how hard it is. That’s not going to help you.
Instead, ask yourself: Can you take the next step?
Yes? Great, then do that. And again.
There are ways to make going through the climb more enjoyable, but it will always be a climb. The more you expect it to be a flat or downhill, the harder it’s going to be.
You can be jumping from one thing to another hoping that one of them will be a quick and easy way to your results (the get rich quick scheme) or you get real, put your big boy/girl pants on, and go the whole way and get the results you want.
Added bonus: You’ll actually feel like you’ve earned it.
The joy and fulfilment of your achievement is proportionate to the effort it took.
I’ve seen and helped many people get to their goals the real way.
I haven’t seen anyone getting there the easy way.
If you’re tired of quitting and you’re up for The Climb, contact me, and let’s talk about what could be done. If you don’t change anything, nothing will change.
Let me know your thoughts about the article in the comment section below…
Hi Tomas, brilliant post – definitely resonates with me, I like your metaphor and advice (“close your eyes” and do) – thanks for sharing
Thanks Martin. Haha, yes, sometimes we just need to stop looking for (or at) what could go wrong and why not… and just close our eyes and keep walking.
Glad you liked it.
There’s also another interesting reason people quit. Your brain gets that dopamine hit, when you’ve accomplished something. I’ve had projects that I’ve quit because it gets too hard, but also, things where, I’m working for a certain end result, and then when I reach it, I stop because my brain is satisfied that I’m done, even though there may be other components to that thing. I’ll give an example. I wanted to recreate the streaking “Superman” text effect seen in 1978’s “Superman: The Movie” starring Christopher Reeve. Back in the day on film they used to put text they had cut out on a piece of plastic (maybe Mylar or something), and then backlit it (put a light from behind), then they would take the camera and leave the shutter open longer as they moved it closer to the backlit text. It would have the effect of streaking the text. So I wanted to try and recreate that in an open source 3d software called “Blender”. So I looked around at various tutorials on how to do translucent streaky text. Eventually I came upon a tutorial that did a similar effect, and used that, and when I was finally done, I was happy with my work. Even though I might would have recreated the Superman movie intro, I stopped because I had set out to do what I did, got that dopamine and now interested in something else. That wasn’t because I was overwhelmed with my work, but rather, my brain wanted a break and so I quit.