Remembering Why You Started Can Tell You When to Quit

A photo of a ledge shelf with a few knicknacks on it, an old SLR camera, and a sign board that says "remember why you started" on it
Photo by Cristofer Jeschke

Remember why you started.

Usually, this advice is given to help people find a way to stick with something when the going gets tough. From creative endeavours to relationships, grounding ourselves back in our original motivation can really help stay the course.

I agree! Sometimes there is nothing more motivating than remembering your original goal.

Unless of course, doing so makes it clear that QUITTING is really the best option.

Here's how you can tell:

Does your original reason for starting even motivate you anymore?

Maybe you started a diet because you believed you needed to get skinnier, but since have learned that's malarky and diets don't work and you don't need to change your body to fit some random external standard. Quit the diet!

Has the project or person changed?

Maybe you started a side hustle with a friend, and as you worked on it the hustle evolved into something different. There's nothing wrong with it, per se, it's just that your original reasons for jumping in on it don't apply. Unless there's a new reason that's equally motivating to you, it may be time to say a friendly farewell.

Have you already achieved the spirit of why you started and now you would just be continuing for an obligation to finishing?

Maybe you have been taking a new language course to prepare for a trip. You're at the point where you feel comfortable having basic conversations and can read and even write a little. The course is starting to feel like a slog. Have you actually met your goal? Maybe you can walk away and feel good about it.

If you remember why you started, realize that is no longer being served, and don't see a new motivation that has emerged to replace it, then quitting may be your best option. 

Enjoy it! A healthy opportunity to quit something is a real treat!

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