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When is it okay to quit?

When is it okay to quit?

When is quitting the right thing to do? Or do we just hunker down and persevere through the challenge? We were raised on phrases like “quitting is for losers” or “give it your all” (and if you feel like giving up on something, you are probably wondering, what “all” really means). Is there such a thing as “healthy quitting?”

If you are worried that you haven’t given it enough of your energy are quitting too soon, or you are beating yourself up for not trying harder or staying longer, shift your mindset to one that is more positive. If you are ready to quit someone or something, ask yourself if quitting will ultimately serve you at a higher level of your own well-being. If the answer is yes, then it’s time to make a change. Many people tend to stay in situations or relationships for too long because they don’t want to be thought of as a quitter.

If there is something in your life that you are feeling burnt out on, here are a few guidelines to help you see when quitting is really good thing:

  1. When what you are doing becomes more work that it’s worth.   When you start thinking about how much energy not quitting is taking, it’s time to make a change as you will ultimately burn out. If you can see within the relationship, process or situation, that by taking some action you can make a difference, then do so, but if you have “tried everything” and you are losing yourself or your energy, then it’s okay to quit in order to value you and your energy.
  1. See “quitting” as “choosing.” Maybe something you committed to in the past that served you well then, is just not worthwhile to you and your growth anymore. Your interests, goals and age are different now. Choose a new path for yourself. Let someone else have the opportunity to do what you were doing. Be gentle on yourself as you choose what’s best for you.
  1. Quitting leads to new opportunities. When you quit things that have gone stale in your life, or detach from relationships that have become toxic to you, you open yourself up to engage in more healthy and fruitful endeavors. Many times we stay in situations because we are afraid that if we leave we would be considered “selfish.” I want to remind you, that if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.

In any situation that you decide to exit from, make sure you exit gracefully. Do the best you can to take careful action, be considerate, be thankful for what the situation offered you, and write your vision for the future if you are uncertain where to go from here, or if you anticipate the other party will have a hard time with your decision.

Remember, quitting is not giving up – see it as choosing to focus on what is more important to you at this time. When you make a new choice, you show that you value yourself, your time, your energy and your personal growth. Anything that is sucking the life out of you, needs to be re-looked at, and no matter what you think about how you “should” hang in there, the bottom line is how you feel. Do more things that bring you inspiration.

Life is short. We only have so much time, and so many possibilities. Don’t overstay in a situation that feels wrong and compromise your happiness. Remember, it’s your life, and you can do what you want with it. You are the only one that can hold yourself back and move yourself forward.

Alice Inoue

Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happiness University. She is an expert life guide, and author of five nationally award-winning books on life wisdom, self-growth and happiness. She has two columns, one in MidWeek titled “A Mindful Moment,” and an award-winning column in the Sunday Star-Advertiser called “Go Ask Alice” that offers pertinent life guidance. Through Happiness U, she helps both companies and individuals develop positive mindsets in order to live more inspired in both their professional and private lives.

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