Why did you stop going to yoga?
When did you stop working out consistently?
Why didn’t you launch that program?
If you don’t know the answer, it’s probably because you quit behind your own back.
Humans do this sometimes. Our primitive, toddler brains love coming up with reasons to quit. And if we aren’t keeping an eye on it, that’s what we end up doing.
However, you won’t create the results you want in your life or business if you keep quietly quitting on yourself.
This week, I invite you to look at where you’ve been quietly quitting on your goals and why. I share the reason this happens and how to stop it. Find out how to prevent yourself from quietly quitting in the future so you can finally do the thing you’ve been wanting to do.
Join me November 18-20, 2022, for Life Coach Live where I will work with you, in person, on mastering the three things that will change everything for you. Click here to grab your spot.
What you will discover
- The symptoms of quitting without noticing.
- Why it’s important to keep your prefrontal cortex busy.
- How to know when you have quit something on purpose.
- The consequences of quitting quietly.
- How to prevent yourself from quitting quietly in the future.
Featured on the show
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode 439.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello my beautiful friends. I am in Coeur d’Alene, in a beautiful home right on the lake by myself. It is a little slice of heaven. I came here with my friend Kris Plachy and we spent a few days together just hanging out and working and riding bikes and going out on a boat with Jody Moore and her husband Jake.
We just had a wonderful time. And then she went home, and I’m here for the week to work on my business, to do a lot of writing copy. I am right now in the middle of taking a copy course and brushing up on all my copywriting skills and writing a lot of copy.
And for those of you who don’t know what that is, maybe you’re not into marketing or entrepreneurship. That’s really the words and the sentences and the marketing paragraphs that I use to communicate to all of you, to sell all of my products, to reach people who don’t know who I am, who don’t understand what life coaching is, and to try and educate them, to teach them about the benefits of life coaching.
And in the past, I’ve been very focused on people that kind of were already familiar with life coaching and teaching them about my Model and my approach. And now, I’m really focused on also reaching people that don’t understand what the Model is, and don’t understand life coaching at all, and introducing them to it.
So it’s a whole different kind of layer of communication, and so I’m spending a lot of time and I have a lot of space to spend reaching them where they are, and reaching people who don’t understand the benefits of even self-help and life coaching.
One of my passions in life is really giving everyone who wants it the tool of the Model and the tools that I have, that I’ve used to create this amazing life for myself. And I want to make sure that as many people have access to that possibility as possible.
So that’s what I’m doing this week. It’s heaven. It’s amazing. So I woke up early this morning and I’m sitting here looking out at the lake. It’s so beautiful. A little mist on the lake. And I want to talk to you about quitting.
Quitting quietly is what the name of the podcast is, but really, what it is is it’s quitting behind your own back. And I have watched this happen to so many of my friends and so many of my clients that I wanted to bring it up, kind of show it the light of day so it doesn’t happen to you.
Because you can probably relate to having set a goal, or set a dream, or made an intention for yourself that you quit on, but you don’t really know when you quit. You don’t really know, “When did I stop doing that? When did I stop working out? When did I stop eating the way I want to eat? When did I stop going to yoga? I don’t even remember when I stopped lifting weights. When did that happen? When did I quit on myself and not even notice? It was just so quiet, I did it behind my own back.”
And I have noticed this with people, like I said, friends and clients that come to me. I’ll be like, “Hey, whatever happened to…” and I’ll state their goal. I’ll state their intention, I’ll state something that they said they were going to do. And they’re like, “Oh, well.” And I want to make sure that this isn’t happening to you. I want to make sure that you understand how the human brain works and that you set yourself up for success.
So one of the important things that I’ve taught you and that I’m going to remind you about is the motivational triad and what your primitive brain, which is that immediate, urgent brain is motivated to do. And it’s very, very unfortunate that the brain is motivated to conserve energy, so basically lay on the couch, to avoid pain, and seek pleasure.
This is what the brain is motivated to do. So if you are trying to create something with your life that is outside of your comfort zone, you are going to be working literally against your primitive brain the entire time. And that’s unfortunate, but what is fortunate is that you also have a prefrontal cortex. You have a more sophisticated brain that can manage, and the way I like to talk about it is parent your primitive brain.
Your primitive brain is like a toddler with a knife. If you let it be in charge, you’re not going to have the life you want. You’re going to be seeking a lot of instant gratification, watching a lot of Netflix. But if you let your human brain, that highest part of your brain, that evolved part of your humanness take control of your life, you will be able to create things that will astound you.
And that can become your new level of pleasure, your new motivational triad. Instead of needing the instant gratification and the super highs and the really low lows, you can have a steady stream of success and dopamine.
And so when you understand how it works, when you understand that primitive brain always wanting to sabotage you, not on purpose, it’s not ill-intended, it’s not because you’re not worthy or capable or motivated or a good person. It’s just because you’re human. That’s it.
So we got to keep that primitive brain on check, on notice. And so when we set goals, we don’t want to defer to it. We don’t want to leave it unsupervised because it will quit any chance it gets. And it’s powerful, and it will pull you down with it because it thinks it still lives in a cave and it still thinks that pleasure is the most important thing and pain is the worst thing.
And when you’re trying to achieve great things, you’re going to be dealing with a lot of emotional discomfort, which the primitive brain will associate with pain. So I want you to think about these are the symptoms of quitting without telling yourself, quitting without even noticing.
You go into denial. You start to act like you never even had the goal in the first place, that it’s not even relevant, that it’s not even important. Oh, that was so last week. And you just put it out of your mind, you go into denial.
And so I always know that someone’s gone into denial when I say, “Hey, what about - I thought you were going to start working out every day?” Or, “I thought you were going to start working on your cardio?” Or, “I thought you were going to launch that program?” And the person will be like, “Huh, yeah, no.” I’ll be like, “Yes, that’s what you said.” “No.” It’s almost like we never had the conversation, they never had the intention, it never existed. That’s denial.
The other way that we quit quietly is this justification. We’ll be like, “Oh, well, you know, I had that move,” or, “You know, my daughter got sick,” or, “You know, that person at work quit.” Some reason why that is usually, for me, when I’m talking to someone, completely unrelated to the thing that they wanted to do.
What does your daughter getting sick have to do with you being able to do yoga in the morning when you wake up? I don’t see it. “Well, there’s just so much stress, it was just so much, I was focused on that I couldn’t really focus on myself.” That’s that justification to kind of explain away the quitting.
Excuses. It’s kind of the same thing. It’s like making excuses for why we can’t follow through and do the things that we actually really genuinely want to do. And that’s the important thing to distinguish here. There’s that primitive brain that wants what it wants right now, and then there’s the highest-level human prefrontal cortex that wants for us long term.
And we’re always feeding one of them. For me, it was literally with food for a long time. I was always feeding that primitive brain that need for that instant dopamine hit. But when we are feeding our long-term desires and our long-term goals, it feels very different and we don’t make excuses and we don’t justify and we don’t go into denial.
One of the ways that it’s helpful for me to think about it is you do not ever want to neglect your prefrontal cortex. You always want to keep it active. And your prefrontal cortex is what thinks into the future. It’s what makes decisions ahead of time. It has your highest long-term success on its mind all the time.
And when you aren’t consciously firing it up and acknowledging it and putting it online and bringing it onboard and using it to negotiate with your primitive brain, you are going to quit behind your own back. And I love this quote I just read on Alex Hormozi’s - I think it was his Twitter feed that he put on Instagram. It said, “There’s so many ways to win and only one way to fail.”
And that’s the way that I like to think about the prefrontal cortex. It will always come up with new ways for you to win if you keep it on board. It is a creative question-answering machine. How do I overcome this? How do I do this? How can I do this? It will go to work to find solutions.
The prefrontal cortex, the highest part of the human brain is what has created all the amazing inventions in the world. As humans, we create amazing inventions. And that’s because that part of our brain was activated. And when you quit, that part of the brain has been neglected.
So there’s two ways to quit. One is consciously and one is unconsciously. So I want to make sure that we know the difference and that we’re not using one to justify the other. So one of the questions you can ask yourself is did you change your mind or did it change you? Did you consciously decide to stop doing yoga? Did you consciously decide to stop eating well? Did you consciously decide not to launch that thing? Or did you give up?
You will know because you will have a moment where you actually made that decision. When you quit quietly behind your own back, you can’t quite pinpoint when it all changed. But when you purposely quit, when you decide not to do something, when you make a choice consciously from that highest part of your brain to stop doing something, that’s not even quitting. That’s just making a decision.
So my suggestion is if you’re going to quit, you need to do it out loud, you need to state and like your reason. Now, that’s how you know if you are quitting on purpose, stopping something on purpose. Because there will be a moment where you will make a decision, you will make it consciously, and you will decide. And so when I ask you, “Hey, whatever happened to…” you’ll be like, “Oh, I decided not to do that because I wasn’t getting the result I wanted.”
Or, “I decided not to do that because I didn’t feel good on that diet,” or, “I decided not to do that,” and usually, when you quit something on purpose, you’re usually making a decision to do something else instead. You’re not just giving up and turning your head away from the intention or the desire or the goal that you had.
You’re usually just changing your approach. And this is a very important distinction because it keeps your momentum going, it keeps you moving forward, it keeps you evolving. When we give up on something quietly behind our own backs, there are consequences to doing that.
The first consequence is we lose integrity with ourselves. We stop trusting ourselves. When we state a goal or state that we’re going to do something, we stop believing ourselves because we’ve given ourselves a way to just quit something quietly without even noticing it.
So there’s very little risk, right? So for example, if I set a goal for myself, I do it very carefully and very intentionally because I know that if I state that goal, I will follow through. And if you’re someone that states a goal and you’re like, “Oh yeah, I’ll do this, or I’ll do that, or I’ll do that,” and you do it kind of haphazardly, it’s probably because you don’t have a lot of integrity with yourself.
You probably know, “Oh well, if that doesn’t work out, I’ll just quit quietly later,” or, “If that gets too hard or uncomfortable, I’ll quit quietly later.” So one of the things that you can do to prevent this from happening - actually, there’s two things.
The first thing is when you set a goal, you decide ahead of time what is a good reason to quit it. You decide ahead of time. Because if you get to decide in the moment, you’ll do it quietly, you won’t even need a reason. You’ll just go into denial.
But if you decide, “Hey, I’m going to lose weight,” or, “I’m going to quit drinking,” or, “I’m going to launch this product and I’m not going to quit unless…” and then you state when and how would be a good reason to quit, and any other reason isn’t.
And if you’re going to quit, you do it out loud and consciously. Not behind your own back. That will prevent you from quitting because you’re uncomfortable, or you’re tired, or you’re confused or frustrated or doubtful. That will prevent you from quitting behind your own back. It’ll prevent you from quitting quietly because you’ve made this deal with yourself that if you’re going to quit, you’re going to do it out loud.
And typically, when we say out loud a reason to quit from our primal brain, we won’t accept it. “I just don’t feel like it, it’s just too hard, I’m just too uncomfortable, I’m just too tired,” it’s usually in a whiny voice. And I know for me, I don’t want that part of me making decisions.
I don’t want that part of me, I don’t feel like it has my highest good in mind, even though it sometimes sounds like it. “Oh, you just need some rest. This is all just too much for you right now. You just need to quit.” Now, sometimes that’s real, but you need to know your reason. I’m feeling stressed out because of this goal is not a great reason.
The goal is not causing the stress. You’re just not managing your mind. I feel overwhelmed; not a good reason. I feel afraid; not a good reason. Those are all reasons to do the thing that you intended to do, to overcome those emotions, to process them, to get a hold of your emotional life, to have your prefrontal cortex managing your primal brain. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your own life when you are running the show with the highest performing tool you have, the highest part of your brain.
And if you have decided ahead of time what is the only reason to quit, then you can anticipate what are the obstacles you’re going to run into that will make you want to quit. What are the obstacles that you need to overcome in order to achieve this goal? And those obstacles, this is the second thing, those obstacles are the rungs on the ladder that get you to the top.
They’re supposed to be there. If they weren’t there, everyone would have that goal. So what are those obstacles that you can solve for with your prefrontal cortex, with your highest performing brain? And you can decide ahead of time how you will handle those obstacles so when you’re in those moments and your primal brain is screaming and wanting to quit, you can calm it down.
You can say, “I already have a plan for this, relax. I already know you don’t want to go to the gym. I already know you’re tired. I already know you’re uncomfortable. I already know you’re scared. Here’s our plan for that, and here’s how we’re going to do it anyway, and here’s how we’re going to follow through.”
One of the coolest feelings in the world is setting a goal, having it be hard, and achieving it anyway. It establishes so much power within your own life. You develop so much integrity with yourself, so much pride with your ability to manage your own mind.
It’s so much fun to see what you’re actually capable of doing in the world when you can overcome that primitive, screaming, wanting-to-quit, wanting-to-get-pleasure, wanting-to-conserve-energy brain. It’s magical.
Yes, it’s hard, but it’s also meta, right? So this is what happened for me. When I figured out how to override my own over-desire, my overeating, my over-desire, my over-hunger, when I realized how to overcome all of that, it was my highest brain overcoming my lowest brain in the environment that I was in, when I figured out how to do that with food, then I had the skill of managing my mind. Truly managing my mind.
And then I could apply it to all the other goals in my life, to all the other things I wanted in my life. That skill that I developed when I figured out how to stop overeating is the same exact skill I use every day to build my company, to work on my relationships, to work on the goals that I have for myself personally. All of those skills, I keep getting better at them, I keep practicing them, I keep developing them.
And you’ll notice this with successful people. Success begets success. You start accomplishing smaller things, then you can start accomplishing bigger things because the skill is the same. If you can not just resist eating an Oreo but truly understand why you want it and manage your brain to actually not want it, that is the magic of mind management. That is the magic of the Model.
And when you can do that, you will stop quitting on yourself. You’ll stop justifying, “Oh, one is fine. Oh my gosh, it’s not fair that I don’t get to have this.” That’s your primitive brain wanting pleasure. And when you let it run the show, you live at a very baseline of mind management, which means you live at a very baseline of results.
See, when you think about the Model, when you can manage your mind at the highest level, your results become at the highest level. It’s simply how the Model works. The more you quit on yourself, the more you justify, the more you make excuses, the more you let your primitive brain indulge you in pleasure at the expense of long-term pleasure, immediate pleasure at the expense of long-term pleasure.
See, people are always saying, “Well, I think the point of life is to have pleasure,” and I agree. I think pleasure is a beautiful thing. I just don’t want primitive brain pleasure, which is instant gratification at my own expense. I want long-term pleasure. I want ultimate contribution pleasure. I want the pleasure that comes from living at the highest capacity that I can, with the most mind management that I can.
That’s the ultimate pleasure because it gives you a steady stream of that dopamine that we all want so much, but it also gives you a tremendous sense of integrity with yourself and a tremendous sense of knowing what you're made of, knowing what you’re capable of, and it ignites your future.
One of the problems with quitting is it deadens your future. It makes you so you don’t want to set goals anymore. You no longer trust yourself to follow through. You no longer believe in the possibility of that result because you quit on yourself without even noticing it.
So just to review, if you want to stop quitting on yourself quietly, here is what you need to do. You need to set your goal very clearly, like I teach you. And you can go back to the podcast where I do, Outcome Cultivation. You can set that goal for yourself. I want to lose 20 pounds, I want to stop drinking, whatever it is. Set the goal.
And then write down what is the only reason that you would quit that would be acceptable for you, that you would like that reason, and put that down. And then what are the other reasons that you’re going to want to quit because of that primitive brain that you will not quit for those reasons, and how you will overcome all of those obstacles.
And then anticipate that primitive brain trying to talk you out of it. It’s not ill-intended. It just wants you to have instant gratification. Anticipate it. Know that you will become stronger as you overcome your primitive brain. Don’t be mad at it because it wants Oreos. Don’t be mad at it because it wants to lay on the couch. That’s its job. That’s its motivational triad. That is how it rolls.
Don’t be upset at yourself or your brain because that happens. Anticipate it. Know it’s part of the deal and know that the success of that goal will be so much sweeter because you overcame all of that, because it was hard. Achieving hard things is so much better than achieving easy things because it changes you. It makes you stronger.
And the stronger you are, the bigger your goals can be, and the easier it will be to achieve harder things if you stop quitting and stop quitting behind your own back. Stop quitting quietly. Do not accept that from yourself. If you want to quit, even if you don’t like your reason, state it out loud and tell yourself the truth.
I’m quitting on myself and on this goal on purpose because I don’t feel like it, because I’m too tired, because I don’t care anymore, because I’m no longer motivated. And just tell yourself the truth about the reason, and don’t use it to beat yourself up, but question it. Do you really want to quit? Do you really want to quit on this long-term goal? Or do you want to restart again? It doesn’t matter how many times you have to restart.
I have people that come to me all the time and they’re like, “Well, I’ve been trying to lose weight for 10 years. I’ve tried so many things.” I’m like, “Awesome. You’ve gotten great at trying things. You’ve gotten great at starting things. Now we just have to get great at finishing them. It doesn’t mean quit. You know how to start. You know how to go for it. Now we just got to figure out how to follow through and finish. That’s the next skill we need to develop.”
So many people, when you talk to them about their success, there were so many failures that paved the way to that, right? And if they use the failures as a reason to quit, they end up with no prize. But if they use the failures as a reason to keep going, then they end up with the prize.
It’s so interesting, you don’t care so much that it took so much failure, and in fact, you’re more proud of yourself that it did, that it took so much failure to get there. So what is it in your life that you’ve quit on because you think you can’t do it, because you think you’ve tried everything?
I promise you, you haven’t. You’ve tried like, three things. There’s 3000 more things to try. And if you can enjoy the process of trying, if you can enjoy the process of achieving, of overcoming your own brain, of becoming stronger, then you will ultimately get the prize at the end and you will have developed the character skill of overcoming your own primitive brain who’s a toddler with a knife trying to ruin your life.
Keep an eye on it. It loves quitting. But there is something within us, most of the people that I talk to know really viscerally that there is something within us that can overcome that. Doesn’t matter how long it takes, doesn’t matter how much of a struggle it is.
It’s like, someone that struggled with their weight their entire life, they all of a sudden lose weight permanently and they’re just done with it, or they quit smoking, or they make a million dollars. And they’ve spent their whole life before trying to do that, and then they just do it one day. That is the magic of that evolved brain we have.
So I highly recommend that you use it, and if you’re going to quit, quit on purpose and out loud and like your reason. But more importantly, I want to encourage you not to quit. I want to encourage you to keep going until you get that thing that you want because you’ll get the thing that you want and you will also be stronger for having had that goal.
Have a beautiful week everyone. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Self-Coaching Scholars. It's my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it. We take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over at the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. Make sure you type in the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. I'd love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.