2018 – The Year I Quit


I understand it might seem weird to begin a New Year focused on quitting, but hang with me.  Perhaps you’ll realize you should also quit in 2018.

I have two resolutions this year, but I’ll get to them later.  More important – underlying them are these three intentions:

Quit trying to do so much.
Quit avoiding the hard work of clarity and awareness.
Quit wasting my grit.

Enough is enough.

Quit trying to do so much.

2017 gave me plenty of opportunities to speculate about why I regularly struggle along under the weight of impossible plans, goals, and ambitions.  People-pleaser.  Over-achievement addict. FOMO sufferer.  Curiosity glutton.

In 2017 I could no longer ignore the serious baggage I’ve been packing around (wait, you too, right?).  Ever in pursuit of the quick fix – “I’ll just do the fun, easy plans/goals/ambitions now and worry about unpacking my people-pleasing, over-achieving, FOMO, curiosity glutton baggage later, okay?” – I finally had to face the fact that my greed/fear/habits/laziness led me to rob Peter to pay Paul, so to speak.

Now-me loves to pull the rug out from under future-me in the form of an impossible to-do list.

That’s got to stop.

Quit avoiding the hard work of clarity and awareness.

That laziness/fear I just mentioned?  Well, let’s just all admit that unpacking personal baggage isn’t easy or comfortable.  It’s so uncomfortable, many people believe they either “have none” or “did that already.” (I’ve got news for you… every single person in the world is a fallible human who will always have a long way to go.)

Welcome to the rest of your life, kiddo. It’s uphill until the end… but you’re gonna love it. photo: z0man

If I wasn’t too afraid and lazy to set down my people-pleasing, over-achieving, FOMO, curiosity-glutton baggage, I could work my way to pristine clarity about my values and priorities.  The effort to remain aware of alignment between one’s values/priorities and one’s choices is relatively small.  The return-on-investment – in the form of the things I want most – is enormous.

But instead, I’ve been filling up my time and brain unthinkingly.

That’s got to stop..

Quit wasting my grit.

Probably the worst part of all this is that I am one gritty mo-fo.  Or so I’m told by friends.  Grit is supposedly “firmness of character; indomitable spirit.” An ex of mine used to call me his, “hardcore little sweetie,” regularly noting I had more grit than he could ever dream of having.  A Dutch farmer in Portugal described me as “one tough cookie” after working with me for four hours.

When I read Forbes’ 5 characteristics of grit, I thought “how convenient to have my entire personality condensed into a single word.”  Grit is:

  • Courage – because, “there are valuable lessons in defeat, and the vulnerability of perseverance is requisite for high achievement.”  Amen.
  • Achievement Oriented – working tirelessly, trying to do a good job, and completing the task at hand.  Mmm… talk to me, baby!
  • Goals + Endurance – repetition of effort underscored by a purpose.  Oh, be still my heart!
  • Optimism + Confidence + Creativity – enthusiastically solving problems with the belief that everything will be okay because I will make it so? Yup. How is there any other way to do things?
  • Excellence over Perfection – while “perfection is someone else’s perception of an ideal,” excellence is virtuous fulfillment of purpose.  Working hard at work worth doing is by far my favorite way to spend the hours of my life.

However the ability to grittily pursue anything you choose, come hell or high water, isn’t necessarily a good thing when you aren’t investing any time, courage, or effort into the choosing part.

This past year I fiercely and successfully pursued many things! … that don’t actually matter to me.

That’s got to stop.

2018 Resolutions

For over a decade I’ve used my grit to take on situations that fell into my lap, while the clock continued ticking on things I set out to do years ago and still haven’t.  Like learning about my family history from my grandparents.

I don’t know if I’d say I “regret” getting wicked drunk at a massive party I wasn’t excited about attending in the Australian bush, grittily insisting on another attempt at spinning flaming poi even after lighting myself on fire, grittily attempting to clean up vomit off my shoes and friends’ bathroom floor using toilet paper while drunk at 3 a.m., and being a mostly-useless (but gritty-enough-to-show-up) volunteer the following day.  I learned important lessons.  But it certainly wasn’t a step toward knocking out my top ten life goals.  photo: 5arah

And I’ve got a laundry list of goals I pursued well past their prime.  Even when I realized that my 2017 goals + existing life hacks = 20 weekly hours of effort… I kept doing them.  All of them.  It’s time to set some limits on my grit.

Resolution #1:

Listen to, learn about, and record my family history while my grandparents are still alive to tell it.  Thanks to an awesome Half the Clothes tribe member, I discovered WikiTree – a genealogy tool that finally meets all my needs.  I plan to work at least two hours every Thursday of 2018 on this goal and nothing else.

Not trying to do too much + leveraging my grit for something about which I have full clarity and awareness = 2018 happy place..

Resolution #2:

Do ten 30-Day-Challenges in 2018.  Rather than taking on a slew of goals that become a year-long part-time job, I’ll just do one thing for 30 days.  I’ve even built in a week of rest between each challenge so I’ll have time for clarity and awareness regarding both the challenge and my life.  I hope the built-in “quit point” will help the gritty part of me learn to be a “strategic quitter.”  I need to teach my grit to apply itself like a venture capitalist – planning for a 70% failure rate, a 20% break-even, and a 10% discovery of a new golden goose.  aFor more on this concept, start listening at 20 minutes in this Man Talks podcast. (Or at least skip the first five minutes… total waste of time, self-promo crap.) .

I won’t pick a new challenge, probably, until just a few days before it starts.  My buffet of options currently consists of 20 possibilities in four categories –

  • can easily do when traveling lots within the 30 days
  • best to do when not traveling within the 30 days
  • taking action on life goals (as is happening all year long with resolution #1)
  • writing

If I find any golden gooses, I’ll be sure to write about them!


How about you?   What are you quitting in 2018?

Good Luck! ♣

References   [ + ]

a. For more on this concept, start listening at 20 minutes in this Man Talks podcast. (Or at least skip the first five minutes… total waste of time, self-promo crap.)


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