Are you Micro-Quitting?



Micro-Quitting: What is it and how is it affecting your weight loss?


It’s obvious when I quit my diet or stop doing my exercises. I don’t mean to quit. Usually, it’s the cause of something little but leads to a not great choice on my part and then next thing I know I’m off the health wagon and sometimes I’ve even set the wagon on fire. This type of quitting is easy to recognize. What’s not easy to spot is micro-quitting.


Micro-quitting is when I’m still “on track” but I either get lazy, bored, irritated, stressed, or angry and I start making little modifications and changes WHILE giving myself honest excuses to justify my behavior.


For example, my coach gives me a running work out of doing 45 seconds sprint followed by 2 minutes of easy walk repeated 8 times. Normally I would wake up early and run first thing in the morning, but today I’m tired and hit the snooze a few times. Once I start the workout, I realize I’m still tired and now short on time, so it’s logical to cut the workout short and not sprint as fast. I still completed a workout, but it was modified. I still get a benefit from what I did, but not as great of a benefit had I completed it the way my coach planned it.


Another example is I get tired of tracking and weighing my food. I start taking extra little bites and tastes as I’m cooking, and I don’t track it because it was “just one bite”. I start eyeballing my portions instead of weighing them, because it’s quicker and I’m in a hurry. I stop drinking as much water and start drinking more diet pop because I’m tired and I need the caffeine. I’m still on my diet, but I’m not being totally honest with myself.


Micro-quitting quietly sabotages my training and goals but because they’re only tiny changes I don’t recognize I’m doing it and then I get frustrated because I don’t understand why I’m not improving or meeting my goals.


So how do I fix this?


First off, I must recognize I’m doing it. I make an honest inventory of my daily food intake, my exercise, and my mental attitude and behaviors. I list out all the instances where I didn’t do what I was supposed to.


Next, I go back through the list and cross out the instances where I was choosing self-care. Example: Am I practicing self-care by hitting the snooze because I only got 3 hours of sleep, or am I avoiding my work out because I know I’ll have to push myself and I’ll be uncomfortable?


***The problem with micro-quits is that they are usually done out of fear, other emotional reasons or not wanting to be uncomfortable.


Finally, for each micro-quit I write out a micro-commitment. I focus on one micro-commitment at a time. I give myself honest thought and feedback. I take the time to address each micro-quit reason with as much depth as it needs. Then I make the micro-commitment.


For example:


  • Micro-quit: I didn’t do my run work out as planned. I didn’t push myself as hard as I could, and I didn’t complete the entire workout.

  • Reason: I was afraid it would be too hard, and I would be uncomfortable, or worse I would fail and not actually be able to complete the workout at all. I was afraid to fail, and afraid to let my coach and myself down.

  • Micro-commitment: I will give every workout my all and follow my coaches plan. No matter if I fail or not, I will learn something from the workout. My coach knows what I am ready for and what I am capable of. I will communicate with my coach and share my feelings and concerns. I will keep an open mind and trust my coach.


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