Happy Quitters' Day
I guess it isn't really something to celebrate, but Happy Quitters' Day!
Quitters' Day has been recognized internationally as the 2nd Friday in January. Typically, most people quit on their New Year's Resolution by this day.
And this year, it just so happens to fall on Friday the 13th. Bonus!
In my last post I wrote a little about resolutions, and words, and in the end, I followed the word of the career coach I happen to follow. Permission.
But what I realized while out for a run recently is that it means a lot more than what I wrote. Or what I thought.
This was my first run since December 7. December 8th, I tweaked my back, and I really messed it up a few days later.
The run wasn't far. It wasn't fast. My legs hurt from starting a strength routine put together by my
Physical Therapist. But it felt good to go for a run.
What crossed my mind out there was, not only did many James Bond Theme Songs titles contain the word "Die", but that Permission meant a lot more than what I thought.
It is partly about having permission to do new things.
But it also can mean permission to say no.
Or, permission to succeed...but also too fail.
Like yin and yang. There are two sides to permission.
I think many times we use our New Year's Resolutions or words in an attempt to make a worthwhile change in our lives.
To workout, or lose weight. To have a "Dry January" or eat healthier. To be more positive, to change ourselves, to do something good, be a better person.
But, there is also the possibility of the opposite. Failure. Hence, Quitters' Day.
And that's ok.
I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln. He failed a lot.
But then he succeeded in the most spectacular way, winning the Presidency of the United States.
It's ok to fail, as long as you learn from those failures, and don't stop.
In fact, a lot of folks think that you learn more from your failures than your successes.
For some reason, all this reminds me of my dad.
I've mentioned him before. He was a good provider, but not the best dad.
My dad was a firm believer in "negative motivation." He'd tell me that it couldn't be done, and I'd say "watch me."
I NOW know that this is not a healthy way to grow up. It's taken some therapy and a long time to figure that out.
I never felt I had permission to fail. I always felt like I had to succeed.
And even when I tried my best, it didn't seem good enough. I didn't fail necessarily, but my father did not think I succeeded.
Deep down, my young brain equated his criticism as failure.
Got a B+ on a hard math test. "Why didn't you get an A?"
Made a diving catch in the outfield to end the game and secure a win. "You didn't have to make it look so hard."
I didn't want to disappoint my dad.
I heard long after he was gone that he had spoken of how proud he was of me to his friends and co-workers.
But never to me.
Unhealthy to the point that when I literally could not finish a triathlon (due to injury) , I could hear my dad's voice in my head calling me a quitter.
Therapy helped me through that little morsel of fun.
But it doesn't mean that there are days when I still doubt myself.
In fact there are many times that I negatively talk to myself. But at least now I recognize what I am doing. And even though I don't alway stop it (because it does motivate me unfortunately), at least I now know better.
And as Maya Angelou says, once you know better, do better.
One way I am giving myself permission is to be 1% better everyday.
This is an idea that you choose to get slightly better at something everyday.
It was brought to my attention by Chris Nikic.
Chris was born with Down's syndrome but decided that he was going to do a triathlon.
He finished a sprint triathlon in August of 2019, and was hooked. In November of 2020, he finished an Ironman--the first time anyone with Down's Syndrome has completed that distance.
And his motto is "1% better."
Just do better a little bit everyday and you can change for the better.
And I'm working on doing better. Because as Yoda says..."Do or Do Not, there is no try."
So, on this Quitter's Day, I guess I just offer some advice.
It's ok to quit. You have permission. Because at least you did something, which is more than what others are doing. However, don't stop.
Because quitting and stopping are two very different things.
You may just have to reevaluate your goals, or get some help (like PT), or maybe even talk to a therapist. But don't stop.
And just like Abe Lincoln, if at first you don't succeed, try again.
Keep doing it until it sticks.
Just 1% better. Every day!
Go get 'em.