The positive impact of quitting on our quality of life.

From a world where websites, social accounts, and movements can come to life within a few hours (if not, minutes), has sprung a new trend: starting something. This growing craze of starting a new project, a new book, a new blog or a new exercise program challenges a very established mental stigma against quitting. Quitting, for obvious reasons, holds a lot of negative connotation. You're not going to have millions of people starting new things without a fair percentage of them quitting half-way through.

The problem is that when people quit something, they're often called out on it or quietly looked down upon and are mentally labeled as a "quitter." And while some may be deserving of that title, others should not be lumped into the same category. Let's call them "designers" because they're not quitting to give up, they're quitting to move up. Whether they have found a better option, found out their current option isn't working or simply didn't find any joy or value in it, they quit so that they can move on with their life and get to the good stuff.

Starting something doesn’t automatically justify finishing it.
— Timothy Ferriss, "The 4-Hour Workweek"

I'm a huge advocate of reading so I love to discuss books, blogs and magazines. In my conversations, I have found that many people feel bad about leaving a book half-way finished. When I inquire further to see why they didn't finish a particular work, they general respond, "it's just so difficult to get through." Either the topic doesn't interest them, the writing was terrible or it just didn't hold any application to their life. In every case, I tell them the same thing: stop reading it. Move on! There are so many 5-star books out there that you shouldn't be eaten up over not finishing a 2-star book. If you're a few chapters in and it's just not doing it for you, put it down and pick up another.

If approached purposefully, reading is one of the most valuable uses of your time but, if approached unwisely, it can be a great waste of your time, as well. This idea applies to much more than just reading. Personal projects, diets... even your job! In each of these cases, if you are not seeing results, gleaning value or working toward a necessary end, stop wasting your time on it.


1. Measure it

Often, what we believe to be a necessary evil is simply an evil. You may be exerting a lot of energy or time with little return on your efforts. But you won't know this unless you measure your results. By gathering data over a period of time, you can see the trends and make an educated decision to either keep it or cut it.

What gets measured gets managed.
— Peter Drucker

 

2. Feel it

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Though something may not give tangible, visible or measurable value, it may give internal value. For example, building model airplanes. Though you may not be able to do anything of any substance with them, the value is in the joy derived from working with your hands, seeing a project through to completion and admiring your craftsmanship as you put the final touch of paint on the hull. This isn't something that can be measured - it must be internalized and felt. If something exists that gives you exceeding happiness and joy, don't dismiss it - rather, make time for it.


Make a decision

You've looked at the scales - is it worth its salt? Intentional living is removing that which adds little value to your life and replacing it with that which adds tremendous value. Don't hold yourself to an imaginary obligation to a valueless activity. Take this opportunity to say no. To quit something. To make room for joy.


Jacob Jolibois is the founder of The Archer's Guild, a content marketer at MESH - a Baton Rouge based marketing and advertising agency and a contributor to Lifehack. The only thing he likes better than a great idea is a great idea followed by purposeful action.