When quitters win and winners quit

In our conscientious effort to finish what we start (“Quitters never win and winners never quit”—anyone else remember seeing that on a motivational poster in your middle school classroom?), we forget that there actually exists many perfectly legitimate—nay, important—instances when cutting and running is best.

Three examples that are most common among the clients I serve:

BAD BOOKS

Obviously ‘bad’ is subjective, but if you’re not enjoying it, it’s time to put it down. Plain and simple as that. You don’t need to power through; in fact, powering through means losing the opportunity to read a possibly excellent book from the number of books you’ll read before you die. (I’ve got a great article on this; leave a comment below if you’d like the link.

PROJECTS THAT HAVE BEGUN TO FEEL LIKE CHORES

If you initiated it to have fun or to express your creativity or just because it looked kind of interesting, but over time it’s become something that resembles homework: Let it go. This isn’t the violin you begged for, were gifted by loving parents, and are now obligated to play for the rest of your life. You are an adult now—one who understands the importance of commitment, but is no longer required to pursue hobbies that have lost their sparkle.

RELATIONSHIPS THAT HURT

Ahh, this is a hard one because aren’t we supposed to work (and love each other) through the rough patches? Yes...and no. Some rough patches are untenable. Some rough patches turn out not to be patches so much as a giant swath of land that disappears into the horizon. A friend who is a narcissist. A sibling who will not relent or respect. A partner who is as destructive as he is codependent. An angry, abusive parent. If the relationship hurts you a good portion of the time, you’re not a quitter for leaving it; you’re a saver—of yourself.

What’s something that’s no longer serving you...but that you’re struggling to walk away from, because you see yourself as a committed finisher?