You’re geared up, amped, and ready to quit quitting and start dreaming. You understand that your quitting instinct is still very strong, so you set up some Baby Steps to achieve first, to build momentum as you push forward and break away from chronic quitting. You’ve been working on your goal for a week, a fortnight, a month, two months, then it hits you. Out of nowhere life hands you a piece of chocolate cake – and swings a bat at your head from behind.
Dazed and disoriented, you stare up at the sky through, head throbbing and face covered in chocolate. The last thing on your mind is that Baby Step you were working on. If you’re like me, you probably want to pour all of your energy into the surprise circumstance you’ve found yourself in. But as an ex-quitter, you can’t just give up on your Baby Steps. After all, if you return to your habit when things get tough, can you really say that you’ve quit quitting?Last week, I had life hit me hard, one of those terrible, “never-saw-it-coming” sort of things. I’m going to be vague about the situation because I’m still a little sensitive. But anyway, since I’m still in the process of quitting quitting, the timing couldn’t have been worse. As a quitter, it was extremely easy to deal with surprises in the past. When life threw the curve ball, I dropped everything. As an avid learner, dealing with surprises came fairly naturally, too. After dropping everything, I would pour all of my energy and focus into responding to the surprise. This meant video games were out, recreational reading was out, working out was stopped, etc. I would fixate hard-core on solving the problem I was now faced with.
Last week, I felt the temptation to fall back into my old, quitting ways. It wasn’t even intentional. I was emotionally drained and exhausted because of fitful sleep. Saying “no” to a routine workout was easy. Deciding that I wasn’t going to post on eX-Quitter was simple. Fixating on and trying to solve the “problem” was my natural response. But I knew that I quit quitting, and had declared it to the world. I also knew that it wasn’t going to be easy to fight old, comfortable habits, so I implemented two simple steps that allowed me to regain some traction and continue my fight against quitting while still dealing with the situation.
First, I prepared in advance.
As I was starting to invest my time and energy into eX-Quitter, I knew that I was going to hit snags. I knew that I was going to hit a wall. So I prepared in advance for the inevitable. If you look back to last week, you’ll see that I still posted a couple different times. I was able to do that because I had been working at creating a content buffer. Ideally, I was going to have posts written and scheduled to be posted two or more weeks in advance. I wasn’t quite there yet, but I was still able to take advantage of having an extra week’s worth of posts.
Second, I let myself create space.
Because I had those posts, I was able to really focus in on the surprise situation while knowing that my blog was going to take care of itself. The other habit I’m trying to develop is regularly working out (It’s one of my Baby Steps). However, I knew that I was emotionally drained and physically exhausted. So I gave myself permission to skip a few days. This permission helped me in two ways. 1) It allowed me to have some much needed rest. 2) I reassured myself that I wasn’t going to be quitting, but merely taking a break.
That’s it; two simple steps. By preparing in advance for inevitable problems, I was able to continue my blog automatically. And my giving myself permission to create some space, I got some rest while being certain that I wasn’t just going to quit. (And for the record, I was able to start working out again just as planned.)
Life’s tough, but we can still overcome. Till next time.