The Art of Quitting

Maybe you can relate. . . since I was a kid, I had it deeply engrained in me that quitting was failing. Finishing was succeeding. “Never quit something you start, always see it through til the end.” Now, I love my parents deeply and know that this little gem has gotten me far. Its taught me how to work hard and to finish what I start. Until a few years ago, when I did some serious soul searching and realized that there is a time and a place when quitting is the best thing you can possibly do.

Here are two soul-baring examples from my not-so-distant past that have proven to me that quitting is not failing, its an art and is an incredibly powerful tool!

  1. As an undergrad with a bright future, I wanted to continue on my pursuit to change the world (big smile) and enrolled in a PhD program in  width=Biomedical Engineering at the University of Rochester. While working on several projects at the cutting edge of biomedical research and medicine, I became incredibly confused and frustrated about the approach we were taking to solve problems. I just couldn’t understand why we were using all these high tech solutions to solve challenges that could be reversed or prevented entirely by eating whole real food. I didn’t get it. So. . . after two years of agony and second-guessing myself, I left the PhD program with my Masters Degree in hand and learned everything about nutrition that I could. I enrolled in the world’s leading nutrition school and soaked it all in. In one short year, I went from miserable in grad school to loving my life and my new career in nutrition. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made and one of the best. In this case, if I hadn’t “quit” grad school and pursued my passion, I wouldn’t be making a huge impact on the lives of my awesome clients, friends, and family every day. Nor would I have been written up in the paper. . . =)
  2. You might know that last year, I wrote a book. Yup! Start to finish. . . and in September 2011, I had it professionally edited and got rave reviews from my editor and those who read it. Sounds great, right? I was dragging my feet. Something just wasn’t right. When I got it back from the editor and re-read the manuscript, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I allowed other people’s opinions, the traditional research, and what everyone else is teaching on the topic to alter my voice in the book and what was presented. I realized that I was writing about the wrong topic. There is SO MUCH conflicting info out there on health and nutrition. We’re so confused and don’t know what to do. . . so we just keep doing what we’ve always done. So, I quit. I didn’t see it through. I saved the manuscript to my computer, filed it away in my desk drawer, and set out on a mission to write a new book that matters and REALLY helps people.

Now, I must point out that there is a REALLY fine line between quitting as an upgrade and quitting as failing. The two stories I shared are examples of quitting as a powerful way to upgrade your life. When something isn’t working, you should STOP doing it! Its okay. If you’re on a trajectory that no longer serves you, you should upgrade. On the flip side however, we often give up too easily. We don’t give things that will really help us out a try. When ever something isn’t working like you want it to, think about how you can upgrade it!

If you want to be healthy, have more energy, and generally feel awesome, eating processed food-like substances is not serving you. Diets don’t work. I urge you to get support to learn what is healthy for you and your body, how to get healthy food into your diet, and how to make it work for your lifestyle. This can be challenging and frustrating to tackle on your own. Quitting anything without a replacement (or upgrade) doesn’t work very well or is short-lived.

That’s why I created a brand new program for YOU. I designed it to help you “quit” many of your misguided nutrition habits and replace them with new ones that actually work for you. Its based on my BRAND NEW BOOK (not-yet-published) and has a serious twist. Its called:

Get REAL: 8 Weeks to outrageous energy, confidence in the kitchen, and a real food lifestyle plan you can stick with!

It starts on May 8th and is filling up fast. I invite you to join us! You can learn more about it here:

In this post I shared just two examples from my past. I’m sure you have some stories yourself about the “art of quitting” and I’d love to have you share them with us by leaving a comment below!

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Erin Harner

Erin Harner is an Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), author, and speaker based in Ithaca, NY. Erin melds functional medicine and culinary nutrition to help her clients uncover their unique diet and confidently cook healthy nourishing meals that meet the needs of their whole family. Learn about Erin's services and connect on Instagram.

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