How to Fight the Urge to Quit

Goal Setting and Achieving Part 3: Fighting the Urge to Quit On Your Goals

Remember that goal that felt impossible? We talked about that in Setting and Achieving Your Goals Part 2. Now we're at the point in this process where we need to channel our future self, the person who has crossed the finish line, who has completed the marathon, who has gotten the exact result they were looking for, who has achieved the goal. It's that person that's going to help you today. Let’s explore, brainstorm and plan!

When you feel the urge to quit…

Four Exploration Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Why haven’t you achieved this goal before?
  2. What’s the worst thing that could happen to you as you try to achieve it?
  3. What do you really know about yourself from past experiences?
  4. When you have achieved a goal, what did you do to make it happen?

So maybe you have and maybe you haven’t tried to achieve this particular goal. It really doesn't matter. But I want you to ask yourself, “what's the worst thing that can happen during this journey?” Nine times out of ten, it’s going to be a feeling. Often we give up or don't try because we don’t want to feel a certain way.  Or are you someone that always feels like you're doing it for someone else or to prove yourself? An example would be “I'm doing this so that my parents finally think I can succeed at something.”

What do you know from past experiences? Have you focused on the how too much and maybe not the thinking that you needed? That’s very common.  Some people just want to be told how to do something.  Newsflash – you probably do know how to do it, but you just haven't spent any time creating the thoughts you need to do it. Our thoughts create our feelings, feelings trigger the action. Start with thoughts.

Then the last question in this exploration phase is when you have achieved a goal, what did you do to make it happen? Did you have to put in a lot of training? Be willing to fail? Learn something new? Take the time to explore what you did in the past to achieve the goal, what you learned about yourself from past experiences and confirm that the worst thing that can happen is a feeling.

Brainstorming Strategies

We are going to brainstorm three different types of strategies.

  1. Brainstorm a strategy to accomplish your goal:

I want you to separate this strategy into three categories:

  • The thought you need 
  • The feeling you need.
  • The action you need.

Questions should include:

  • What do I need to think? 
  • What do I need to feel?
  • What do I need to do to accomplish this? 

It's not only about the doing, but it’s about the thinking and the feeling. Brainstorm those out along with your goal. 

  1. Brainstorm the strategies you're going to use when you feel like quitting. 

Consider what strategies are you going to need when you get the urge to quit. What do you need to do when you get the urge to quit? What do you need to feel and what do you need to think? 

Start by writing down some common thoughts you have when you feel like quitting. 

Examples could include:

  • I don't know how to do it. 
  • It's taking too long. 
  • Why am I still having to figure this out? 
  • I don't have enough time.
  • I don't know where I went wrong. 

What could you think instead to keep you going? 

What about:

  • I know exactly how to do this. 
  • I have all the time in the world. 
  • I have the brainpower to figure it out. 
  • And I should be just where I am right now, not further along.
  1. Brainstorm strategies with your future self, for when you need to overcome potential obstacles.  

Recognize that you may be creating these obstacles yourself, like self-sabotaging. Self-sabotaging could be not giving yourself enough time, the support or resources you need. For example, when trying to lose weight, a lot of times people don't give themselves the support and strategies they need. They just focus on the “doing” part.  Instead of just counting things like calories, they also need to access supportive thinking.  

What would be some obstacle thoughts you might have? When you think about this beforehand, you can think through how to overcome them. Remember that your results are proof of your thoughts. Every thought really ends with a result. Another way to say that is that we will always end up being proved right or wrong, accomplished or not accomplished through our results.

The Plans to Succeed

We're going to make three plans:

  1. A belief plan. 
  2. An action plan
  3. A time plan. 

The belief plan. 

What thoughts do I need to believe in or not believe in to achieve the goal? 

What actions do I need to believe in and not believe in? 

All of these answers are truly going to come from that future self who has achieved the goal.  

Think about the feelings you need to believe in and the actions you need to believe in. Commitment, discipline, and determination. Also believe in the fact that it may not always feel so great and that’s okay. 

The action plan. 

This is what everybody loves to focus on. Everybody likes to go right to the action plan. What do I need to do first? What do I need to do next? What happens is we create this action plan, we talk about big things, but we often forget that there can be hundreds of smaller steps to take. You can think of big picture  – then first, second, third steps. But then you've got to go a little step further and break those down into smaller steps. That brings us to the time plan.

The time plan.

This has three pieces:

When will you achieve this?

Why are you choosing this time frame? 

Do you like your reason? 

Maybe a year isn't enough, maybe it's going to take two years. Do you like the reason you chose a year? Is it simply because that's the way the calendar goes? Or is that something that you genuinely believe that can happen? Or maybe you think it's impossible with that time frame you could get to making it possible and inevitable?

And I want you also to consider this: If I am ahead of schedule, what meaning will you assign to that? If you reach your goal by September, what does that mean? And then on the flip side, if you're behind, what are you making that mean? Does that make you a failure? No, it doesn't. It just means that you were learning from all your little fails. Which brings me to the next piece – organizing these plans and deciding how well you'll fail.

Failing Well

When you understand that the worst thing that can happen due to failing is a feeling, and that there isn't an emotion or feeling that you're not willing to feel, your whole world opens up. Failing well doesn't always mean succeeding but failing well means that you are allowing feelings. Failing well means you're not overreacting. Failing well means that you're not quitting or making excuses. Think about the toddler who's learning to walk. They fall down. They get up. They fall down. They get up. They're failing really well because they keep going. They don't quit. It's impossible for them to learn how to walk if they don't 

Pulling it all together

The very last piece is to create what I call 25 Fails per Quarter. This means that you were willing to fail because you want to do whatever it takes to get to the goal. This means that you are writing things down and planning on doing them, knowing that it may not work. Be careful not to give in to the confusing energy when you try to write down these 25 fails. But you need to generate at least twenty-five results each quarter, fail or succeed. It's not an activity list, remember, it's a results list. You want to get specific and look at what results you're looking for each quarter. And you're going to do this for all four quarters from the start, even if you haven't gone through the first quarter. So you're going to have an actions list, the actions you're committed to taking in the next three months that you're willing to fail at doing.

And then at the end of each quarter, you're going to put a result next to each of the actions and see what led to the fail. Where did the failure happen? Was it in your thinking? Was it in your action? Was it in your feeling? You're going to get really good at doing this.

The best part: you’re going to learn and grow from this as you reach your goal!

Do you want more help staying on course with your goals? Check out coaching options on the home page of my website, or sign up for my weekly newsletter:

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Andrea Liebross

I'm Andrea. I'm the Sustainable Success Coach for Women in Business. I coach women on the mindset, strategy and systems they need to make money and manage life, AND make it sustainable with real work-life balance. Visit me at to learn how we can work together to have more success and less stress and schedule a complimentary consult call.

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