Are You Addicted to Quitting?

Are You Addicted to Quitting?

We’re all quitters!

That’s not meant to be a controversial statement; it’s just matter-of-fact.

From throwing away that healthy breakfast shake that tastes like dirt (yum!) to dumping the guy who leaves sweaty socks all over the apartment, we all quit once in a while. And deciding to break free can be a healthy self-preservation technique, if you do it for the right reasons.

The problem occurs when quitting becomes a habit. Instead of dealing with the real issue by tackling it head on (whatever it might be), people start becoming reliant on the “easy way out). Avoidance becomes an addiction all on its own.

The Symptoms of a Serial Quitter

Obviously, quitting regularly — jobs, relationships, resolutions, hobbies, etc. — is a huge red flag for over-reliance on quitting. But some signs are much more subtle, and if you miss them, it can create big problems for you.

These are the most common:

  • Stopping at the first sign of resistance/trouble.
  • Overthinking and/or analyzing everything (too much thinking, not enough doing).
  • Spending time with negative people who leave you feeling bad about yourself or others.
  • Needing instant results and/or gratification.

Remember: quitters find reasons to talk themselves out of anything. If you find yourself doing that on a regular basis, it’s time to change the narrative in your head.

How Quitting Becomes an Addiction

So, when exactly does healthy walking away turn into a full-blown quitting addiction, anyway?

When you can’t control your impulse to do it.

The most common reason this happens is simply habit. When you repeat an action often enough, the response becomes etched into your neural pathways. This means that you could find yourself quitting before you’ve even had a chance to think it through or register what’s happening.

Bad behaviors and habits of any kind are also inherently addictive. Why? When you engage in them, the reward centers of your brain light up like a Christmas tree.

For example, when you quit doing a frustrating task, you’re rewarded with the removal of the source of frustration. You may also choose to do a more rewarding activity instead, such as watching TV or having a snack. These reward-based habits form faster and are harder to break. This is why quitting becomes so easy after a while.

Tips for Stopping the Cycle

To stop the quitting cycle, you must stop choosing the path of least resistance – and yes, I know that’s easier said than done. Taking charge and regaining control can be really scary when you aren’t used to it!

Learn to recognize the value in your activities. Play the long game instead and strive for the reward that awaits you upon completion.

Whenever self-doubt or negative speak creeps into your thoughts, look for ways to change the narrative. For example, instead of saying, “I’m bored,” say, “I’m reliable and dependable. I do not quit!” By changing your inner narrative and diving into tasks without thinking, you’ll soon make new habits and leave quitting behind for good.

Copyright 2019,

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