You Have To Quit To SucceedJun 24, 2023
The most uncomfortable thing my coach ever said to me is this:
Being someone who is committed to my goals, this was like a smack in the face.
And if you’re ambitious too, you can relate:
We don't want to be quitters.
But in reality, “I’ll never quit” is a terrible attitude that will prevent your success
Yes, this goes against what the gurus preach online.
If this triggers you, good.
It means this newsletter is for you and you’ll get the most amount of value from it.
We’ll explore what I call flexible persistence and how quitting can make you happier and help you reach more success in your business and fitness.
Are you insane?
“The definition of insanity is doing the same over and over again, expecting a different result” – Albert Einstein
This quote summarizes best why “I’ll never quit” isn't a resourceful attitude:
If you attach to it, you will repeat old patterns over and over – even if they’re not working.
Only 8% of those who set themselves goals in January reach them, and this is one of the main reasons.
Let’s look at a classic example:
This is a perfect illustration of what happens if you “never quit”:
You want to reach a goal, make a plan, and take action - but it doesn’t work out.
Instead of adjusting, you try to force success by doing the same “harder” - repeating failure.
Here’s the reality:
If you want something different, you need to do something different.
And this goes way beyond fitness:
For example, I’m very analytical.
I believed that thinking solves every problem and had I not come to a solution yet, it’s because I wasn’t thinking enough.
This worked well for me during school and university.
But later in business, thinking too much led to perfectionism and procrastination.
And this was what my coach was relating to when he told me to "just quit!":
Not quitting on my business - but my default strategy of trying to solve everything by thinking more.
Doing so was the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever done because I was relying on it for so long.
But if I hadn’t done it, I’d never have put out a single article, podcast, or post.
When and what to quit
But what do you need to quit? And when?
At this point, you realize that quitting makes sense in certain instances.
But you also see that you cannot reach any goal if you quit too soon – which is true.
That’s why it’s important to develop what I call flexible persistence:
Combining commitment with the ability to adapt.
Think about steel that’s strong, but still flexible:
It can handle a variety of stressors, impacts, or environments.
A harder, but more brittle material, will give in sooner because it lacks adaptability.
Here’s how you do it:
To decide whether you should quit (or not), look at the big picture on different levels:
Goals form your vision of your future life.
Only quit on goals if you realize they’re not important to you anymore.
But be open to change when you gather new experiences:
As you evolve, your goals will evolve as well.
Chasing old goals that don't matter to you anymore makes you miserable and slows your growth.
For example, I used to be convinced that I’d work in research one day.
I loved physics since I was a kid and went on to study materials science.
But when I started working at a research institute, I realized that my idea of what working in research would look like was vastly different from reality.
My goals shifted:
Around the same time, strength training became more and more important to me.
I decided to take part in a program to be a strength coach and I loved coaching.
A new vision emerged for me to help people become stronger and more confident and it led me to what I’m doing today.
Letting go of your goals comes with a massive amount of discomfort, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.
A strategy is a principle-based plan to actualize your goal.
It is what you have to do to achieve it.
Let’s say you want a lean and strong body.
A good strategy would encompass principles like:
- Caloric balance (read to nail it, without counting calories
- Progressive overload
- Stress management
- True enjoyment
- Quality sleep
To build a business, your strategy needs to consider your product, distribution, and fulfillment.
Plan your strategy for at least a year, but also be open to adapting when it ceases to work.
Make sure you consider all the necessary principles.
Then, chunk them further.
Tactics are the “how”:
Planned action steps within your strategy, but not the strategies themselves.
In the context of fitness, this could be:
- Different diets, like Keto
- Workouts, like 5x5 or starting strength
- Recovery techniques, like breath-work
- Specific supplements, like Magnesium or Vitamin D3
In business, it could be a certain Instagram schedule or outline for an E-Mail.
A big mistake is to attach to certain tactics.
I see it all the time with diets and workouts:
If you’re more concerned about the next diet trend instead of focusing on caloric balance, you'll get frustrated when the scale doesn’t move.
The same happens when you try to find the perfect exercise, over prioritizing progressive overload (learn more about it HERE):
You won’t get stronger or build any muscle.
Be more flexible with tactics and review them at least every three months to see if they still get you the results you’re after.
Small, daily action steps.
To reach your goals, you need to be able to zoom out (think big) and zoom in (act small):
- Do the work to move forward
- Reflect to see whether it actually works
Your daily effort has to align with your tactics, strategies, and goals.
I like to review my daily effort by the end of each week.
That way, I can quickly adapt if necessary.
You’ve probably heard the saying “consistency is key“, right?
It's only partly true:
If you consistently do the wrong thing, you’ll not see the results you want.
Don’t just be consistent - improve consistently through iteration.
Iteration is about evaluating and adapting in a progressive way.
Here is the sequence to do it, if something stops working or you’re not saying the progress you want:
1 - Effort:
Changing your tactics or strategies won't help you if your effort isn't used well.
That's why it's the first thing to check on:
- Where is your focus?
- Are you getting distracted?
- Are your daily actions moving you forward?
- Are you integral to what you said you were going to do?
Some studies show that self-integrity can 3-5x your productivity!
Check on that first before you change tactics or your strategy.
2 - Tactic:
If your effort is on point, but you still don't see progress, check your tactic next:
Is there a different, better way to do it?
For example, you might find training three instead of four times weekly would make it easier to progress due to lower stress.
Or, you realize the diet you're doing right now increases your cravings for sugary foods, which causes you to overeat on the weekend.
Don't attach to a specific way of how you do things if one doesn't work for you - there are many possible ways.
3 - Strategy:
If your effort and tactics are on point, review what you're doing next:
- Is there anything you're missing?
- What else do you need to focus on?
- Does your strategy lack any important principles?
As mentioned before, caloric balance and progressive overload are principles that get often ignored when it comes to weight-loss or getting stronger.
Be sure to collect enough data.
This could be:
- Weight on the bar
Use the data to review your strategy regularly.
4 - Goal:
If there's still something off, it's time to question your goal:
- Do you want to achieve it?
- Is your goal still valuable to you?
- Would you still want it, if no one is watching?
- Is it something you'd feel great about accomplishing?
If not, there's a great chance that your goal isn't really important to you.
In that case, consider abandoning it.
Trying to force something you don't really care about is usually a waste of energy and will make you miserable.
You need to quit what doesn’t work anymore and replace it with something new.
Allow yourself to be flexible and stop doing stuff that doesn’t fall in line with your goals.
Review your goals, strategy, tactics, and effort regularly.
That way, you can iterate if needed.
Do you want to drop 20lbs and get your dream physique, without restrictive diets or counting calories?
Click HERE for a free 1:1 break-through call to learn the best strategy and tactic to do so.
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