She Quit Quitting on Herself
September 1, 2019 | by jamie beeson
"I've always been a quitter. I'm just tired of quitting on myself."
Her story may not be the same as mine, but I could relate to the frustration of quitting on myself. Like the time I decided I was going to teach myself to knit; that lasted a few hours. Or, the time I decided I was going to enter a body change competition that lasted 120 days; I made it about 15 days. Sometimes, quitting on myself is all in my head. I believe I am capable one day and then something happens and my belief waivers so I back off, back down, or back out. Quitting on myself is not a unique pattern of behavior, but it sure is a destructive one. Every quit casts a vote in the ballot box that says you're a person who is not able, can't do it, won't do it, so don't even try.
It wasn't the first time I had heard a client tell me quitting was her pattern. I work in the health and wellness industry, and I'm up close and personal with the quit statistics. Forty-five million Americans begin a diet each year, yet two-thirds of our population is overweight. 67% of gym memberships go unused? People don't sign up never to use it; they quit somewhere along the way. We've all done it, but there comes the point in time when we become genuinely fed up with that pattern, and we want to quit quitting! That's why she came to me. That's where we started.
She met a guy in high school who ran with the wrong crowd. Drug use became her lifestyle and "living a lifestyle of drug use and being a high school student didn't mesh." She quit school. She got a job at the radio station, but after a bad day, she left on her lunch break and never returned. She quit her job. She started smoking and tried to quit for years. She decided to quit smoking over and over again, but she'd stopped trying to quit. She started my CHANGE program, got enthusiastic about creating new habits and a new way of living but by week 3, she quit…program after program.
She didn't feel comfortable in her body. She felt incompetent as a mom, and her beliefs about herself were starting to spill over to her loved ones. She felt like a bottle of soda, shaken and ready to explode. She lacked patience, confidence, and didn't know how to get out of this pattern.
As she shared her story, she divulged that years ago, she quit using drugs as soon as she found out she was pregnant. At the time of our conversation, she hadn't picked up a cigarette in six months. Habits are hard to break…chewing your nails, drumming the table, saying certain words, snacking at night…but addictions declare war. They are physical, physiological, psychological, and emotional habits that are so deep-seated, it takes a massive fight and a LOT of time and resources to break through. She quit just like that. She got pregnant, so she quit. No treatment program, no going back, just quit cold turkey. This girl believed she didn't have it in her to stick with something, yet her ability to walk away from drugs showed me a girl with massive strength that drove her will.
I'd seen her post clothing and other crafts she created. I asked her about the length of time and commitment it takes to start a project and finish it…hours and hours. Here's a girl who started and completed nearly every sewing or craft project she began. She did it with patience, endurance, and commitment. This was NOT a girl who was incapable or incompetent, lacked strength or grit. This was a girl who had everything it took to quit quitting; she just needed to see and believe it.
Fast forward two-and-a-half months, we have a girl who has planned, committed, and completed multiple goals including quitting smoking and drinking soda, starting and NOT quitting an exercise plan, and has finished numerous books and studies. She has gone from feeling incompetent to intentional. She shared a picture of herself in a form-fitting red dress and said for the first time in a long while, she felt "beautiful." She'd been hiding behind baggy clothing, feeling embarrassed by her body. Now, she felt confident in her skin.
Recently she wrote, "I never thought I could be a fit person — smoker for years, knee problems resulting in surgery. I quit smoking in November & started getting serious about my health in March. This hiking trail is leveled strenuous... I didn't have to stop to catch my breath, my knee didn't bug me at all, and I was able to keep up with the front of the pack! I owe this all to this [program, group, and coaching]…I couldn't have done this a year ago."
She didn't have to learn a whole new set of skills; she just had to learn to use them differently. She needed to prove to herself that it was possible, not for others, but for herself! Being a mom gave her strength to quit drugs, and has given her a will to change her health. She's used her ability to quit (smoking and using drugs), and she quit quitting on herself.
Originally printed in the September 2019 issue of Simply Family Magazine
Never miss an issue, check out SFM's digital editions here!