A new year is the perfect time to start over. And tradition has us making our list of resolutions all through the holiday season even as we're doing a host of things we know we shouldn't. Whether we follow through with our sincere promises to ourselves to break up with the bad boyfriend/girlfriend, go on a diet, cut back on the spending, be nicer to our parents/children, or whatever: the truth is, just knowing we should do something doesn't make us do it.
Countless dollars have been spent worldwide on studies searching for answers to why we do what we do. Is it nurture or nature that drives human behavior? Results show it's both. We're taught our beliefs and behaviors from our culture, relatives, and friends. And what we're not taught, is played out through our very genes. Drinking, eating, rigidity, spending patterns, relationship woes, aggression, passivity – all these things are passed down from one generation to another in one way or another. And while some people get stuck in family, cultural, and gender traditions, others break the mold and create new and better ways of being. The good news is that we are all equipped with a reset button to use whenever we really want to.
Hitting the reset button is what quitting is all about, and trust me, I'm an expert. I've quit so many things I can't remember them all. Some things I've quit and returned to. After all, how long can you live without cookies and meat, wearing a bathing suit, eating spaghetti, or fearing failure. I'm a novelist, journalist, screenwriter, and playwright, and I used to quit writing every time I got a rejection. Which is too many times to count.
I quit other things I love, and later changed my mind. I have to admit I made a five-year mistake on that meat thing. It doesn't give you cancer, after all. And it was totally ridiculous not drinking coffee or tea. Why did that seem like a good idea? Other quits have been permanent good decisions, like smoking. Really hard ones were giving up people who always made me feel bad or sad. Shopping sprees when I didn't need anything. Lecturing like a know-it-all. Nagging. Doing things for people they could have/should have done themselves. I've quit. A lot. And never easily. Sometimes it takes years, even decades for me to accept it's time to say goodbye. But saying goodbye can also mean saying hello. Hello peace, hello calm. Hello, new ideas, and new friends, new situations and new opportunities.
Quitting is about getting negativity out of your life, getting unstuck so you can achieve your goal. Quitting at the right time can help to find a path to a happier place. When life is out of control for one reason or another, quitting can be exactly the right thing to do. This is a new decade in a new world, time to hit the reset and celebrate yourself, and every positive quitter with the strength and determination to change.