How to Stop Quitting Everything You Start
Trying new things can be extremely difficult. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that everything that’s worth doing is going to take time and you end up quitting right when you finally get the ball rolling. So how do you get out of this headspace and start seeing results from the things you try? Well here is how I learnt to stop quitting everything I start and I hope it helps you too!
The first thing you need to do is work out how to start though…
Step one: Set Yourself a goal
The first step to achieving anything is, well, knowing what you want to achieve. It is important you set this goal for yourself so that you can pick something that you’ll actually enjoy working towards and you will be satisfied with achieving it. Being set a goal by someone else adds additional pressure on you to reach the goal.
At first, this may be motivating but soon you will realise that you aren’t doing it for fun, or to challenge yourself, or whatever the reason was that you originally wanted to give it a go. Instead, you become more focused on proving yourself to the goal setter, or others and suddenly the passion for the project fizzles out.
For this step, make the goal whatever the heck you want! Learn to play the guitar? Skateboarding? Sing? Finish a post you’ve been trying to write for days? Or maybe try and get your grades up??
My most recent goal was to write this post!! I only knew that I wanted to write a post that helps people get shit done, mostly to help my sister because, weeeelllll, she could use it 🙂
In a sense, the first goal that you should set is more of an idea, a dream if you will. But like all dreams, at some point, you’ve got to wake up and face the reality of the situation and realise that your goal may need some workshopping…
Step two: Refine the goal and make it specific
This goal can be as far out or close to reach as you want, but keep it reasonable. The goal should be specific though. For example: the goal shouldn’t be to ‘learn to play the guitar’, it should be to ‘learn to play (insert song or range of songs here)’, It shouldn’t be to ‘get good grades’ it needs to be ‘get an A in at least four subjects.’
Now my goal was to write a post called ‘How to Stop Quitting Everything You Start’. It would be about how to achieve a goal from start to finish and I would upload it on Sunday the 26th of September (yeah, pretty damn specific).
The only downfall of this is what to do once you’ve achieved this goal, but it is important to continue progressing through the goal. After you’ve learnt those songs you wanted to play, for example, you can try other songs that are more challenging or require a different try of strumming or new chords.
Some goals may not need to be progressed through though. If you had an assignment and the goal was to finish it a week before it is due so you have time to refine it, then leave it at that!
Step three: Work out a ‘plan of attack’
This can be the hardest part, but it’s the most important step. You need to work out a plan of attack before you start so that you can pace yourself and know you are heading in the right direction.
When writing this post, and most posts for that matter. My plan usually is to pick an idea that we’ve pre-written, or come up with a new one that I think suits the time frame. I’ll do this throughout the week before (while I’m writing another post usually). Then start brainstorming the idea on Sunday once I’ve uploaded the post for the previous week. So last Sunday I planned out what the post would entail, including a brief idea of each step and each tip.
Then I’ll see how many sections I could break the post into and work on one section each day until it’s finished. This works the best for me as I have school and other hobbies to enjoy!! For example, today I’ve written the intro, and steps one to three, so tomorrow I’ll do steps four-five and one of the tips, and so on throughout the week.
If you are learning a new skill, it can be extremely difficult to know where to start. But there are many websites to do courses on that already have this all set out for you, as well as youtube playlists and videos.
If you can’t find a pre-sorted plan to approach a skill, it is simple to research and find out the best place to start. If it was a language: start with numbers and the alphabet, if it’s an instrument: start with basic chords/notes and techniques etc.
Step four: Set smaller goals along the way
This is also a very important step that will help with motivation and progress. Setting smaller goals along the way, and celebrating achieving them is one of the key elements to not quitting everything you start because it allows you to visualise your progress and reward yourself for it.
A common technique used over short term projects that is similar to progress goal setting is called ‘the Pomodoro technique.’ The idea is to do 25 minutes of work and then take a five-minute break, repeating this cycle until you have finished for the day or the project is done. After four cycles, treat yourself to a longer break of 10 or 20 minutes.
The technique works well to remove any time you may waste when you get sick of working on something and become unproductive until you simply give up. It helps with focus, motivation and it can actually help you complete something faster if you feel a slight time pressure (even though you can do as many cycles as you’d like).
For this post, each ‘section’ that I completed was a goal, and I rewarded myself by finishing for the day to do something else that I enjoy. Even though I love writing posts, sometimes after doing something for too long, the quality of your work can drop as you start to zone out. So doing it in chunks helps tremendously.
Another example of a time I’ve done this is when I am doing an online course. Most courses are broken up into modules, which are further broken up into topics. The plan is to complete a topic each day from Monday-Thursday and then take a break over the weekend and Friday. But I would also take the rest of the week off after every module I completed so that it felt rewarding to progress through the course and I could avoid burnout.
A reward may include: taking the rest of the day/week off if it isn’t something that you necessarily enjoy (eg. an assignment or talking to people :), treating yourself to something you enjoy (food? Activity? game?), or something else entirely. Don’t forget to celebrate though, you should be proud of yourself!!!
Step five: Put in the work to get results
I lied. This is the hardest step. That is simply because there are no tricks or hacks to use to help you through it, you’ve just gotta put your head down and work towards your goal. This is the only way you will get the results you want, and the results you deserve.
All that was left to do for this post, was to write it! So that’s what I did, and that’s what I’m doing right now in fact :D.
Now, here are some tips to keep you motivated and on track to completing your goals:
Get the Forest app…
Or one similar.
This app is brilliant for those who get distracted when working on something. The app can also be used to time your ‘Pomodoro technique’ progress as it includes the option of taking a break after you’ve finished a timer.
The way it works is you set a timer for how long you need to focus (try not to go any longer than about an hour in on sitting though) and then it ‘plants a tree’. The best part (well, it’s kind of sad so maybe not the best part but…) is the tree will die if you exit the app. You can close your phone, but you can not exit the app, forcing you to focus and limiting distractions from your phone.
Don’t spend all your time on a single project
Expending all your energy on a project is not a good way to get it done. You’ll become unmotivated and you won’t feel as good at the end of the day. It is not well balanced (you could do the ‘Toolbox for Teens Holiday Challenge’ any time of the year to help maintain a balanced day!).
If the project is frustrating you, or you get sick of it, stop for the day and move on to something else. Being frustrated/annoyed at yourself or the project and trying to work through it is never a good idea. You’ll end up not getting anything done and sapping your energy and motivation for the project leading you to give up entirely instead of just taking a break.
It can be horrible for your mental health as well. You’ll probably end up blaming yourself for something not working (which is probably why you’re frustrated) and that can put you in a very stubborn position when asking for help, that you clearly need in the situation, doesn’t even seem like an option.
Have a reason to start something
Before starting anything, it is important to work out a why. Having a why helps you to stay motivated because it gives you a reason to be. Every time you feel unmotivated you can think back to your why and it can help you find the strength to complete something. Make a mind-map with all the reasons you want to do something before you even start and you can refer back to it often if you want!
For example, if you wanted to start waking up early (check out this post for a complete guide to becoming a morning person!), you might decide that your why is because you can have: a slower start, more time for the things you love, and maybe you’ll start working out (here are some fun idea for workouts)
This also means you’ll have to be more selective with the things you want to do. Tell yourself if you can find three or more reasons to start a project then it might not be worth it for you and you should try something else!
4. Try to Avoid outsider opinions
When you try something new, you’re putting yourself in a position where you might feel vulnerable to judgement from others, and especially from yourself, and this fear can lead to a loss of passion early on.
The best way to avoid this is to keep your goal to yourself and refrain from telling people who might be unsupportive of your ideas. This can be hard, but it means you’ll avoid comments like: “isn’t that going to be hard?” and “Sounds pretty pointless to me.” Because yes Melissa, it is going to be hard, and good for you Susan, but I’m not doing it for you. (also if your name is either Melissa or Susan, sorry, I’m sure you’re a lovely and supportive person :).
The problem with outsider opinions and influence is that the second you tell someone what you’re planning to do you aren’t really doing it for yourself anymore. Suddenly achieving the goal will feel like a requirement for you to prove yourself and you won’t want to do it anymore.
5. Choose the right time to start
Starting a new project when you are already stressed by homework or trying to learn something else will never end well. Instead, start something new when you are bored and you aren’t busy so you can dedicate enough time to it and not feel like you’re wasting time by working on it.
Choosing the wrong time can sometimes be worse than not starting at all, so be smart about what you spend your time on 🙂
Pin this for later!
Are you guilty of quitting everything you start or are you usually pretty committed?!