When It’s Okay to Call It Quits

when to quit, productivity, priorities

I don’t generally consider myself to be a quitter, but I believe there is a time and place to walk away. And I specifically want to highlight two times when quitting can actually be the best choice for you to make.

I have called it quits in both of these circumstances recently, and I want to encourage you to do the same.

Because I believe in these two specific areas, quitters actually win.


How can quitters win?

What do I mean when I say quitters win? I am specifically referring to times when you are working on a certain goal or project — typically a big one — that is going to take you a while to achieve. 

In our society, achievement is a high priority and people are always striving to be their best and push themselves further. 

Many of these people are in an almost death march mentality, just so they can check the box to say that they hit the goal when they actually would have been better served by quitting.


A Way Quitters Win

The first scenario when quitters win is in times when your goals change. This could be due to outside forces or internal ones.

Here’s an example of when external forces cause your goals to change: 

A good friend of mine recently set some health related-goals — one of which was to get back into distance running. Specifically, she set a goal to run a half marathon.

She wasn't new to running. She knew what it would take, but she hadn't been doing distance running for a long time. And over the course of her training, she discovered that her body was silently (or not so silently) telling her that this level of distance running was no longer a good fit for her.

She was devastated when her doctor recommended she stick to 10Ks or shorter. She felt like quitting just wasn’t in her nature. 

I asked her to consider why this goal was so important, and she replied that was simply how she’d always done it. She’d create a goal, push herself to achieve it, and then feel fantastic as a result. 

That’s when I suggested that she shift her goal to running a 10K and lean into a new goal like working on her speed. 

She specifically had chosen the half marathon as her goal because she missed running, so by changing the goal, she wasn’t changing her intent. She still wanted to get back to running, but this could be achieved by either goal. And the new goal was better for her body and physical health.

This was a circumstance when choosing to quit one goal in favor of another was actually the best choice!

An example of an internal reason to shift your goal could be that you simply realized a goal you set for yourself isn’t serving you anymore. 

I set a goal for myself this year and discovered after multiple weeks that working on it was just painful. I hated it. It didn’t bring me any joy. And when I finally sat down and had a really good internal discussion with myself, I realized that the goal was not the right goal. The goal wasn’t in alignment with my core values. 

Now, could I have powered through and accomplished that goal? Sure. But to what end?

If a goal is no longer in alignment with you, why waste your limited, valuable time pursuing it? Instead, give yourself permission to quit.


Another Time Quitters Win

The second scenario when quitters win is in times when your priorities change.

Sometimes we set goals that take a long time to achieve, and before we complete them, life happens and we have to shift our priorities.

2020 taught us this all too well! 

I had some pretty powerful goals set for myself that year. Then, the shutdown happened. I had to lean into homeschooling with my daughter, and everything went upside down.

My priorities changed, and my goals had to be put on the back burner because now these new priorities needed and deserved my time and attention. 

When this happens, you have a choice to make. Your current goals can be delayed until a future time, or you can quit them altogether. It all depends on your circumstances and how permanent the shifts in your priorities have to be.

Either way, I am giving you permission to quit when it’s for the right reasons. 

Sometimes quitting may be exactly what you need to open up the opportunity for something new with your time. 

For even more tips on all things priorities, time management, organization, and productivity, check out more blogs or podcast episodes.


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