Quitting What You Start

The new year is always a great time for new beginnings and fresh starts and promises and resolutions and no-seriously-I’m-really-going-to-finish-that-novel-this-years.

But sometimes what we really need is to quit some things.  And I don’t mean the quit-smoking, quit-drinking, quit-spending-so-much-time-on-the-internet-looking-at-My-Little-Pony-Fan-Art type quitting.  I mean actual, real, honest-to-goodness giving up on things that might be good but just aren’t best.

There’s virtue in persevering, in fighting the good fight and seeing something through to the end, in the ever-present “finish what you start”.  But it’s not a blanket rule to apply to all things.

It’s okay to quit watching that movie you don’t like. It’s okay to stop reading that book that isn’t giving you any meaningful insight, thought, or experience. It’s okay to stop volunteering for all the bake sales where no one buys your not-quite-chewy-not-quite-crunchy “Cajun-style” blackened chocolate chip cookies. It’s okay not to finish that short story or screenplay or novel that seemed so promising right up until you actually started writing it.

If you’ve never finished anything before, it’s worth it to power through and learn what it takes to go from beginning to end.  But if you know you’ve got it in you to Finish, it can be instructive to ask yourself whether or not something is actually worth finishing.

Finishing is critical.  But becoming a Skillful Quitter just might be the thing that clears out all the nonsense so you can focus on the Really Important Work.

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