Quitting from The Start

Seth Godin is fond of saying, “Just start,” and every time I hear him say it I’m inspired to go start something.

But I often quit.

This week I began taking fitness classes at a nearby gym, and I’m already sowing the seeds of my quitting. I quit running. I quit the Jillian Michaels DVDs. And I could quit this. I can feel it even now.

My quitting is the principled kind. There’s a flaw with the program. There’s a more responsible use for my time. Fitness is vanity. At last night’s class I asked the instructor how to make sure I’m taking the right classes throughout the week, since my availability fluctuates from week-to-week. Her look said, “Oh, you’re a quitter, aren’t you?”

I need to set short term goals with this and resist the urge to critique all of the little things that could, maybe, according to some other set of possibilities, be imperfect about it. When it comes to sticking it out, Perfect has been my enemy more times than I can count.

How much good work do we leave on the table because it’s not perfect and because we can’t see the end from the beginning? And how much of our quitting is a strategy for avoiding judgment: the sideways comment about the superior workout, the rolled eyes at another new beginning, the sneer?

God help us to recognize that for what it is and to keep at it. “Just start,” yes. Every day.

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