If you want something to change in your life, you are going to have to learn a new way of being and doing. For instance, if you want to learn to stop drinking, you will have to practice the skill of not drinking. However, when we fail at this a few times, we tend to give up or think it is not possible. We say it is “too hard” or “I can’t seem to figure it out” or “It hasn’t worked before”. Does a toddler give up on learning to walk and learning to talk? No, they keep going. They never quit despite their setbacks. The don’t interpret the lack of success as failure. They keep going and practicing.
As adults, we weren’t taught how to manage our brains. We weren’t taught how to manage our feelings and emotions in a way that serves us. We weren’t taught how to overcome all our self-created fear, anxiety, worry, and overwhelm. Many of us don’t want to learn how to truly overcome the desire for indulgence. We rather be stuck in our addictions than commit to the work to overcome them. We rather engage in self-pity, wallowing, and overwhelm. It is easier in the short-term.
Even when you don’t make commitments, you are making a commitment to staying the same.
The reason why we keep quitting on ourselves is because it feels good in the moment.
Think about this, when you’re running a marathon and then you quit, you get to sit down, and there’s a moment of relief. When you commit to a huge goal and you’re not meeting it and you quit, there’s a relief. The pressure is off, right? Most people come to me because they want to give up alcohol and they are unable to do it on their own. The first issue I see for most people is that there’s a lack of conscious planning. There’s no future thinking. There’s no commitment. It’s just complete apathy and “let’s see what happens.” But here’s what I want to tell you: even when you don’t make commitments, you are making a commitment to staying the same. You are making a commitment to just letting life happen to you. You are making a commitment to living your life by default instead of deliberately.
When you commit, you remove quitting on yourself as a temptation and this gives you freedom. It also removes you having to worry about failure.
We don’t know how to be uncomfortable. We can’t stand the discomfort of not achieving our dreams, and we can’t stand the discomfort of achieving our dreams, so we just go back and forth, which is a terrible way to live your life. It’s like circling the drain your whole life, never really going anywhere. This cycle undermines your capability and your confidence. Quitting on yourself feels like relief right when you do it.
How do we stop quitting on ourselves and our goals?
The way to solve quitting on our goals is to commit to our goals. Here’s the process. You manage your mind, you notice your thoughts, and you choose them deliberately. You anticipate the desire to quit. You know it’s going to come. You understand the motivational triad, which means our brain is wired to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and reduce energy expenditure, so the desire to quit will always be driven by our primitive brain. We need to learn to manage discomfort instead of answering it with quitting. We need to refuse confusion. Confusion is always a lie. The thought that causes it is always a lie. We need to keep taking massive action and take different action as needed to create different results. We don’t accept excuses or justification.