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Be the Expert: How would you encourage a quitter?

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Sometimes I like to take a break from my normal writing on strategies of psychology, persuasion, careers, entrepreneurship, and money to see how well you can actually APPLY my material. After all, it’s easy to read and read along, nodding your head, saying, “Yeah Ramit, I got this.”

But what happens when I put you to the test?

It’s like a good Asian father surprising you before dinner with an unannounced math test. “But daddy,” you might say, “I already took math today at school!” Asian dad laughs, then pulls out an apple and a banana and demands you demonstrate how to rotate conic sections.

So, in the spirit of my upbringing, I created a series called “Be The Expert,” where I invite you to apply your new insights on money, psychology, and behavioral change. For example…

How would you persuade a young guy to start investing? How would you help someone start working out at the gym? Hmm, this dude has poor social skills and actively wants to improve them…what persuasion techniques should you employ to help him?

Most of your answers have been atrocious. After reading several years of sophisticated material on behavioral change, social influence, and persuasion, IWT readers still tend to answer in generic layperson comments like, “If he really cared, he would do it!” or “You should just tell him to seriously get it together.”

Lesson 1: Whenever you use the word “seriously” or “should,” you’ve already lost.

Lesson 2: You can be persuasive or you can be right. Often (not always), those two are mutually exclusive.

Your spectacular failures have nearly convinced me shut down my email list, turn my blog into a private community of 1, and solely write for my own amusement. At least I could write the really dirty jokes I’ve been holding back on.

So today, I’m giving you another chance.

Like any 30-year old single guy in Manhattan, I read UrbanBaby, a site for NYC mothers, to learn insights on the human condition. Wait, that isn’t normal?

Anyway, here’s a question I found while spending yet another afternoon calmly browsing thousands of posts while sipping a cup of tea:

Question from UrbanBaby:

“How do you encourage someone who is a friend or family member who is, for lack of a better word, a “quitter”? This person is smart enough, capable enough, and has good ideas. She has started exercise programs–done really well, and then quit right as she was making progress. The same goes for jobs, writing a blog, and new friendships. She starts out strong and then abandons ship. No one knows why.”

We ALL know someone like this. We all know how frustrating it can be — you just want to shake them and say, “WAKE UP!! Your life isn’t that bad! In fact, if you actually did something instead of complaining about it…it might actually be better!”

What would you do? Assume she has complained and wants help.

Warning: I have contemplated killing myself multiple times after reading your previous responses. If you want me to keep writing this site, think carefully before you answer. Answers that will not be accepted include the words “seriously,” “should,” and “get off your fat ass.”

Do me proud. Or I swear to god, we’re going back to school.

Share your advice in the comments below.

 

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325 Comments on "Be the Expert: How would you encourage a quitter?"

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patrick
patrick
3 years 3 months ago
My first instinct is to ask “why would you try to change that person? Don’t you have enough stuff to do in pursuit of your own goals? Don’t let other people’s drama distract you” But, assuming she complained and asked for help, I would ask what goal she was working towards. Then I would tell her to bet on herself- to bet say $500 that by a specific date she would’ve achieved the goal. If she achieves the goal, she gets the money back, if not it goes to a charity for a cause she hates or something else painful… Read more »
J. Louis
3 years 3 months ago
I agree with Patrick. Best answer is probably to don’t get involved if you don’t need to. If this person is a very close friend or immediate family, it might not be that easy though. I like the idea of having an incentive for change. That’s only a short-term solution though. If this person has been repeating a pattern their entire life (i.e. quitting), then they need to break the pattern. First step is to determine what they’re doing that leads to their quitting. Are they maybe pursuing the wrong projects? Are they not growing beyond the immediate results? For… Read more »
Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson
3 years 3 months ago

I’d probably immediately minimize contact because whatever she has is likely to be contagious and catching.

C1589
C1589
3 years 3 months ago
First, I would acknowledge her feelings of frustration and empathize as someone who has also been in similar situations at different points in my life. I think it’s important to establish that comfort and trust at the forefront and assure her that I’m not there to judge her actions but to help her as friend. Once that is established, she will be much more receptive to your feedback and willing to truly listen. Next, I would ask her some questions to dig deeper. A lot of this is probably a mental block and fear-driven, so I would start by asking… Read more »
Megan
Megan
3 years 3 months ago
Completely agree here!! Funny that my husband and I just attended a marriage class last night that talked about this same thing (well not the EXACT, same thing, but pretty darn close.) A lot of times we’ve got a story about a person, but it’s not the whole story. It’s super important to dig deeper to see where this behavior is coming from. To look through the “little eyes” of the person you’re talking with. Ya, they might be an adult, but chances are they’re still viewing the world through lenses and scripts they did in their childhood. It’s not… Read more »
Bruce
3 years 3 months ago
Ramit- I’ve read your blog for two years and loved every minute of it. Hopefully I can be of help on this question. This is what’s called a polarity response — it’s discussed very often in the therapy world. It’s because someone wants to draw attention to the opposite side of anything– for instance, when you encourage someone, they talk about what could go wrong; when you talk about success they worry about failure. It’s just patterned behavior that at some point serves a purpose but too often does not. In order to get new behavior, you need to change… Read more »
Varun
Varun
3 years 3 months ago
Bruce, I agree with your advise and it’s grounded in sound principles. Only thing I’d add is that certain level of trust must exist to facilitate change. The person to initiate the change is to be non-judgmental and must always respect in all circumstances that people have a fundamental need to feel important and safe. People have an inherent tendency to comply with authority figures (as a proof, I’m here writing this post because my mentor said so). Individuals tend to rise to the level of other people’s expectation of them. So long as she knows that you expect the… Read more »
Richard
Richard
3 years 3 months ago

This is really an excellent answer. Thanks for the insight!

OKOKON Ini
OKOKON Ini
3 years 3 months ago

I believe there is a lot of sense in your suggestion. I think at times it can produce the desired effect.

Lorenz Merdian
3 years 3 months ago
I would ask her why she wants change. Where she wants to progress. And let her write it down. Then I would ask her to set a big goal. And write that goal down. I would ask her to image what real benefits she would gain from reaching this goal. She would have to write this down. Then she would have to break this big goal up into smaller (about 4) steps. And write those down. She would have to think why she thinks she is able to achieve each step. And write this down, too. I would ask her… Read more »
Lavanya
Lavanya
3 years 3 months ago
I have a friend who did not lose her pregnancy weight even after 5 years post preganancy. She looked 7 months pregnant and would worry about losing weight. She had been to plastic surgeons and was ready for a tummy tuck. Then I told her two things and she changed her mind and started losing weight by going to a good dietician. One- “No one will tell you that long after the operation you will be dealing with unending pain. You will look good but chances are you will be in a lot of pain”. Second-” You have a lot… Read more »
Jonathan
3 years 3 months ago

I would recommend the lazy one to put on paper what he/she would like to do or be in a year from now, his/her ideal life or lifestyle.
Then hopefully a couple of these ideas will bring a spark in their half closed eyes… then Ramit you’re the best to tell the story, break down the goals, work on them bits after bits in a way to be able to see easily the progress.
Earn1K then should do the work once the spark is there 😉

Utsav
3 years 3 months ago
The first word which came to my mind when I read the Urbanbaby post was “ADHD”. Then remembering your advice of over-preparing, I clicked on the Urban Baby link to read more directly at the source. I found additional info: 1. She was praised a lot as a child, and still receives support from peers/family 2. She is 30 years old. 3. The second last comments is by a person who actually suffered from ADHD and seems to most closely identify with the person in question. That person suggests medication and therapy. Now, to answer your question of what would… Read more »
Rudiano
3 years 3 months ago
I think we often misunderstand people, trying to find shortcuts and figuring them out. I’m no doctor but I know of cases for instance where they prescribe something but it only treats the symptom, not the cause so the problem remains. Or there’s cases we think someone is lazy but it might just be that their diet (literal or mental) is so poor that they run on little fuel each day. Or there’s instances where people have “scripts”, limited beliefs that have run their life for them without them realizing these scripts are false and not serving them. They might… Read more »
Melanie Gulliver
Melanie Gulliver
3 years 3 months ago
wow what a lot of varying advice.. I’d start by asking her if SHE thinks she is a quitter.. and is that bad? Perhaps she thinks her life is OK as it is? Why should we judge others by what we think is the right way to act.. If she said yes she is a quitter and yes it is bad, then you have to again ask why does she quit? She will probably recognise the trigger in her that starts her off on quitting.. and if she doesn’t then you need to find out what it is.. I love… Read more »
Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 years 3 months ago
First of all, Ramit chill the hell out. I like you am very passionate/antagonistic when trying to encourage people. It doesn’t work for everybody. Secondly, my SPECIFIC advice is to be antagonistic with quitters, show them the carrots and the sticks of their specific situation. If they quit going to the gym you can say things like, you looked so much better when you were working out. This backhanded style compliment simultaneously is in their face and reminds them of what they can accomplish. The second way is to go Socratic method all over them. Why did you quit XYZ… Read more »
Radan
Radan
3 years 3 months ago
This is something that would need to be clarified by talking to the person, asking about here motivation behind starting AND begind quitting the said things, but judging from the very short bio the following might be a reason: When you’re young, all the way until you graduate from a university the goals are clearly defined and more importantly they have an ending point, the time when you’re done. Later, in most cases (and certainly things that have been described by the UrbanBaby OP) there is no clear ending. Maybe that could be a mental barrier to continuing. In that… Read more »
anita
anita
3 years 3 months ago
Ramit – I sometimes feel I should be mildly outraged by the way you talk to me but I find it refreshing and hilarious. I think habit is a powerful thing. I think that self worth also plays a huge part. So does self belief. However, there is a lot to be said for stopping everything, switching off every distraction (including all of the ‘first world’ problems that consume us all). Then find a place, cause, community in the world that really really needs you, where you cannot for one moment languish in boredom or choice. Stay there for 4… Read more »
Michael
3 years 3 months ago
I’m with Anita on this one. Most often, the best way to gain a new mental and philosophical perspective is to change one’s physical perspective. There are so many real problems in the world that middle-class Americans have no clue about. Spending time with people who have no idea where their next meal is coming from gives one a chance to think about how much they eat and why they feel compelled to over eat. Living with people who can put all of their worldly possessions into a shopping cart helps one realize that most of what we pile up… Read more »
Adele Barlow
Adele Barlow
3 years 3 months ago
Assuming this woman is a friend or family member and WANTS to change, I’d first of all encourage her to read “Switch” (http://heathbrothers.com/books/switch) or I’d summarise it for her until she understood that behavioural change starts with psychological change. Only she knows why she keeps self-sabotaging, so I’d encourage her to look within herself to find these answers, whether that means visiting a therapist or reading a few psychology books to increase her self-awareness. During or after that process, I’d help her to pen down a clear vision of what success looks like, a calendarised action plan, and a support… Read more »
Lukas
Lukas
3 years 3 months ago
I am this person. Not literally, but I do see a lot of myself in the desription above. Interestingly, the one thing I do not quit is going to the gym. I have been forced to do so twice, but every time I get back to it, I stay on and pull through. I’ve asked myself why this works with fitness but doesn’t in other areas of my life. One: Visible progress. In true nerd-fashion, I make a spreadsheet where I put in my body-measurements, the weights I lift(ed) and am going to lift and so on. This is incredibly… Read more »
Rob
3 years 3 months ago

I love this answer. The only things I’d tweak: I’d start by asking, “Do you seriously want my help with this?” I’d call the next day and ask to see the money. Maybe have a third party hold it to increase the social pressure. And I’d drop a few text messages during the two weeks as accountability/reminders.

Raphael Soares
Raphael Soares
3 years 3 months ago
First I would try to discover what is holding this person, try to discover if there are any fears holding this person. Or maybe it´s just a case of lack of system which prevails over the ability to focus. You´ll only be able to help if you understand the psychology behind the fact this person is a “quitter”. I would start by asking what´s his/her expectations towards all those things mentioned above (jobs, starting a blog etc). Also what keeps him/her motivated? Work your way towards understanding this person and avoid giving this person several advices and tactics to follow.… Read more »
Iffy
Iffy
3 years 3 months ago
It looks like this person does not have a strong enough “why” they’re pursuing the goals they end up quitting. They might think they do (“I need to lose weight duh!”) but really if their reasons for the goal was compelling enough they wouldn’t quit (like if they knew they would die in 3 months if they didn’t lose weight). With any goal the why is the most important aspect as it provides the juice to drive the person to see it through. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with quitting goals that no longer serve you and the person… Read more »
Christie
Christie
3 years 3 months ago
Ramit – I love your outlook on things! I would start off by asking if she actually wanted to change or if she was fine the way she is being a “quitter”. If she wanted to change and didn’t know how, I would suggest creating a roadmap, you can’t get from point A to point B without a roadmap (unless you have a smartphone with GPS). First I would suggest this person sets some hefty but attainable goals for 3 – 6 months out. Then I would have her set smaller daily goals. Serious behavior changes come from gradual incremental… Read more »
Tim
Tim
3 years 3 months ago
Make it a habit. She obviously wants to change, because she complained about quitting. The problem is for some reason she stopped. Why expend so much energy determining whether or not to do something when instead she could just automatically do it without thought. The key here is that willpower is not going to help her get through this. Been there, done that, it didn’t work. For example: * If it’s investing, setup something automatic so you don’t have to think about it. * If it is working out, always work out at the same time, place your workout clothes… Read more »
Brandon
Brandon
3 years 3 months ago
My advice to her: You have done something truly amazing! You’ve done what a lot of people WANT to do but can’t seem to figure out HOW to do. You’ve not only started your own business AND been successful at it, you’ve overcome the fear to do it. Most people can’t even get beyond their fear to even get started – you’ve started and succeeded. Don’t second guess yourself. You can finish just as stongly, if not stronger, than when you started. When you realize you’re feeling a fear that’s making you question yourself or think negative things about yourself… Read more »
Aaron Morton
3 years 3 months ago
Firstly it is quite amusing seeing how some people are reacting to your humour. You are no more going to shut down your email list than I am going to walk out my door naked with the message ‘join me’ paint on my back. This individual doesn’t have a problem generating ideas, they appear to be an ideas machine. The problem appears to be making the idea concrete and specific in order to get a clear outcome of what they would like to achieve. When an idea come to mind it tends to be abstract in nature (“ahhh I could… Read more »
Greg
Greg
3 years 3 months ago

Good job Aaron, I think this is one of the better responses.

I decided to read this section only because I think we all can say from time to time, that’s me which is why I am sure Ramit posed the question.

I would only add, if you were compelled enough to stop and write something here maybe you should also go find that person in your life, could be yourself and go help them.

Might be worth more in Karma credits…..

Maria
Maria
3 years 3 months ago

I agree with Radan ” first, listen to the person looking for clues as to what is causing the quitting.¨

Show dat someone cares

Customize your intervention then.

You must be proud on all the above writers!!!!

Sherry Langland
3 years 3 months ago

I would ask her what might be some of the things that are getting in the way of her exercise plan. We might spend some time talking about it, and then I would ask her,”What would you tell your best friend to do in this situation?”

JK
JK
3 years 3 months ago
I think it’s a game that people play–I find myself playing it too: complain, get sympathy, do nothing, complain again. The problem is not knowing how to proceed and not feeling that anything can really happen. I wouldn’t respond to the complaining. I would listen for the underlying fear and point it out to her, and help her with a plan to find and remove obstacles. Once she gets started she has to know that she will fail every now and again but that failure does not mean she is a lost case and can never succeed–it means she has… Read more »
Rick
Rick
3 years 3 months ago
In my experience, capable people who act like quitters do so out of pride, to protect their egos. They think, “I’m really capable, so I should be much farther along than I am right now, but I’m not, so I’ll quit before I make more of a fool of myself.” They can’t set aside their ego like a zen master (and really, how many people can do this?). Reverse psychology — saying something like “You’re going to quit soon, right? or “You really can’t do that anyway” — might work in the short term, but it’s fairly shallow, and it… Read more »
Rob S.
Rob S.
3 years 3 months ago
If this person is getting to a certain point where they are seeing success and then quitting, then they know “how” to make progress. So it’s probably not an issue of planning, organization or tactics. I’d look elsewhere: 1. How is the person choosing their goals, jobs, relationships, etc? Do the goals have deep roots in what the person really wants and needs in life? Or are the goals rooted more in what the person things they “should” achieve (because their parents, culture or society say so)? It could be that once the novelty of achievement wears off or once… Read more »
Brian
Brian
3 years 3 months ago
Dear Quitter: You tend to quit because you’re afraid, and being afraid is natural. After all, with success comes increased responsibility and heightened expectations to live up to, all of which will take you outside your comfort zone and set us up for some degree of pain. We humans have a tendency to avoid discomfort as part of our wiring; it’s a throwback to the days when we were nomadic tribespeople living at the mercy of nature, and any discomfort/pain threatened our survival. This ancient wiring holds many of us back, but the key to being successful is to push… Read more »
Ganesh
Ganesh
3 years 3 months ago
whenever we face a setback towards our intended goal it is a detour and will delay it but is a fantastic learning opportunity. I have had lot of learning as a trainer particularly when I screwed up a particular exercise ( These happened during the initial stages- Now I am a good trainer going towards a great trainer ). Similarly when One is facing any roadblock – understand what is not working and check what action can be changed. Sometimes we set up an exercise cycle of 1 hour every day and fail on a consistent basis. May be we… Read more »
Jenny
Jenny
3 years 3 months ago
“The heart has a question. The heart must be Satisfied. Without that Satisfaction — Which is necessarily Spiritual in Nature — there is no Real Happiness.” one of my favorite quotes by Avatar Adi Da because so much of all this is talking is vacant of the true nature of people’s experience. We as a species are clearly not simply satisfied or made happy or made peaceful or ever relieved of the anxiety of mortality by acquiring material success, doing it “right”. There is no end point, no moment where this conditional world when the mind will say “ahh, I’ve… Read more »
Hubbard
Hubbard
3 years 3 months ago

Ramit–

There seems to be a category error here. You write about what advice we should give a quitter, but unless the quitter herself thinks she has a problem, our advice will probably fall on deaf ears.

The person asking the question needs to reframe things. Is the quitter hurting the asker? Then the asker needs to rearrange his life so the quitter can’t continue causing any harm. If the quitter’s not hurting the asker, then the asker needs to start minding his own business.

Brian Speronello
Brian Speronello
3 years 3 months ago
In your example, it says she’s “making progress” but then quits. The question is, in whose mind is she making progress? Is it in the mind of the friend observing her? Or is it in her own mind? I’m going to proceed under the assumption that she is giving up because *she* doesn’t feel like she is making progress, even though her friends do. If she’s giving up, she probably doesn’t feel like she’s getting anywhere. If that’s the case, then she needs to establish where “somewhere” is with a small, attainable goal. Otherwise known as a “Quick Win.” Then… Read more »
Al
Al
3 years 3 months ago
I would encourage her to write specific implementation intention for her goals. An implementation intent is an “if-then” or “when-I will” statement. For example: “When I wake up feeling too tired to go the gym, I’ll just put my gym shoes on.” or “If I crave ice cream, I will go to the kitchen to make myself a chocolate protein shake.” It is a specific action you will take when a specific (usually inevitable) event takes place. Maybe dumb examples, but the power of implementation intentions is two-fold. Firstly, an implementation intention will force her to forecast the most difficult… Read more »
Matt
Matt
3 years 3 months ago
There are some good ideas above (put money on the line, discover the underlying issue and be an understanding friend, pattern interrupt). I won’t repeat those, but I might try them depending on the person. When she asks for help, I’d help her figure out her goal and get specific. Maybe she wants to lose weight, and we figure out she wants to lose 15 pounds by her July vacation to Maui. Great. Now the problem is making sure she keeps working in that direction–each day she needs to take a step toward better diet or exercise. So then depending… Read more »
Analmouse coward
Analmouse coward
3 years 3 months ago

I ain’t falling for that one Ramit,

I’ve been quietly reading away for a year or two now and you nearly got me to actually comment, you crafty wrangler.

too slow, too slow for this cat.

Bollocks to helping her ” Write things down…. ” you can’t be “Nice” in this situation.
Remove her from safety net of family/friends/attention etc.
Wait for her to hit rock bottom by actively laughing in her face every time you see her quit something.

bboooom… lasting results.

break her down so you can build her back up.

BooBoo
BooBoo
3 years 3 months ago

Agreed, Analmouse coward. I’ve been there. When you hit bottom, you have two choices: crawl into a hole and give up (and live a life that equates to that) or take action because you have no further excuses to avoid addressing the obvious problems in your life. Thankfully, in my case, I chose the latter. It made me strong and brave and gave me very little sympathy for those who whine and quit.

Dana
3 years 3 months ago
I would ask her if she were open to hypnosis to see if she was willing to try it to get different results. If so, I would help her find a hypnotist. This method worked with a friend of mine who wanted to quit smoking, but always failed. She had tried everything and always started smoking again. After she agreed to try, I helped her find a hypnotist who had success with smoking cessation. One visit and she has not smoked in three years, I thought it was a minor miracle because this was a person who was used to… Read more »
Max R.
Max R.
3 years 3 months ago

Dear Ramit,

I would answer in the same way as you encouraged our answers to this blog post — create a competition. This is will give the initial motivation to start the momentum. Then, establish a commitment of spending at least one hour per week on a particular activity. Finally, you encourage ramp up activities as a habit is established.

In summary, motivation to start (competition) and baby steps to keep moving.

Max R.

Jess
Jess
3 years 3 months ago
Does it really make sense to call this person a “quitter”? Is name-calling the right way to go about helping this person? I think I would genuinely ask the person (gasp! communication!) why they stopped doing a some of their projects and see if a pattern emerges. There is probably some underlying issue that’s preventing this person from moving forward, and in my experience, even the acknowledgement of that underlying issue can mean a lot of progress. Really, though, my answer is that this is not a matter for advice. This is a matter that would probably be best handled… Read more »
Zipp
Zipp
3 years 3 months ago
On how to encourage a quitter The most important thing to encouraging a quitter is to help them understand the why behind the advice. Do not confuse this for selling them on doing something. This is influence, not authority. The conversation starts with questions. Lets try to understand two things 1) why they wanted to start working out in the first place, and 2) why they would stop at the point they did. For example, If the reason they wanted to excising was to lose a few pounds to look good in a bathing suit, they may stop working out… Read more »
Charlotte Smith
3 years 3 months ago
She is getting something out of not following through. To you or I that something looks negative, yet each time she fulfills her typical pattern she’s getting that ‘something.’ To identify what this is I’d explain to her that I recognize there is a positive intention in her behavior – her psyche, emotions, spirit – something – is getting a positive reward. Ask her about one specific area: “when you started your blog, what stopped you from finishing the next post?” and just let her sit with that question. She will notice a thought, a feeling, an emotion, a vision,… Read more »
Andrew Williams
3 years 3 months ago
Seriously, she should get off her fat ass. With the obvious joke out of the way, here’s my approach: 1. Motivation. She needs to understand why she wants to change, or she won’t be committed to change. Is it to fit into that bikini? Too weak! To impress her husband/boyfriend/dog? That won’t do. It’s got to be for her – say, wanting to be in good enough shape to see her grandchildren grow up. 2. I’d have her set clear goals. “I want to lose weight” is a terrible goal. “I want to lose 20lbs” is a much better one,… Read more »
Andrea
Andrea
3 years 3 months ago

Thank you Andrew…I wondered when someone would finally post the “seriously…” comment. It’s the first thing that went through my mind 🙂 Now I can get past it and move on!

Paul
Paul
3 years 3 months ago

Better to start with a very easy goal: “I want to lose 1lb this week.”

mya
mya
3 years 3 months ago
Hi Ramit, From personal experience , 2 reasons #1 they give up on things that dont interest them. I have started many things like classes on programming , painting , sewing , personal Training at the gym and never followed up on them or quit midway. Just wasnt interested #2 I recently heard a ted talk about how when u tell Your friends about doing something , chances are u ll probably Not end up doing it because when u tell Your friends about it, they congratulate u or be happy for u and that somehow Feels like an achievement… Read more »
Sean W.
Sean W.
3 years 3 months ago
She complains, and I say… What are you afraid of? Really, what are you afraid of in winning, in finishing the race? You obviously have the drive and motivation to start exercising, blogging, new jobs or whatever else. Yet, YOU DON’T WANT to finish. Why? You don’t have to answer me right now, and you may not have the answer. Go home and have some quiet time, get a cup of coffee, tea, booze or whatever gets you thinking. Find your FEAR. Once you find it, you have to power to change and deal with it instead of going in… Read more »
Randy
Randy
3 years 3 months ago
She knows how to start, she’s got some results … she’s halfway there. Let’s take the exercise example: Here’s what I’d do. Get a picture of her pre-exercise, take a picture of her current state, leave an empty box that says “final results”. Stitch the the three images together. Post it to her Facebook/Twitter/Instagram with a comment that says “Can’t wait to see the final results!” Now it’s a game and she is publicly accountable. Her friends will be looking for that last image. She’ll also create a little more internal drive to finish what she’s started. This should get… Read more »
Kofi
Kofi
3 years 3 months ago

She has to take stock. Every time she quits at something, there are always a number of obstacles that lead to quitting. Each habit we try to acquire or lose has a number of moving parts. She must identify these parts and focus on working on one at a time. Starting from the least difficult to overcome to the most. She will be less overwhelmed as a result as well as the small wins at start will motivate her to push further.

Rhoda
Rhoda
3 years 3 months ago
Hey Ramit, Here’s what I would do. First, I would start by saying, “I’d love to help you. But I gotta tell you, you’re gonna have to dig deep to get past this issue. And if you’re not interested in doing the work, nothing I say or do is going to move you any closer to your goal.” As soon as she said, “I’m all in.” I’d give her one week to complete the following writing assignment and email it to me. “Set aside at least 1 hour to write. Think about the last thing you quit. It could be… Read more »
BooBoo
BooBoo
3 years 3 months ago

First, you have to be sure that person wants to change. Maybe she’s happy being a quitter! Just cause you don’t want her to quit, doesn’t mean she’s not happy being that way. Assuming she doesn’t want to be a quitter, ask her to conduct the five-year test in which she pretends she’s meeting herself five years from now. What does she look like? How much confidence does she project? How does she interact with people? Based on her current trajectory, does she like what’s she seeing? This can be quite a powerful exercise.

Louise Kay Uy
3 years 3 months ago
You’re right Ramit; saying stuff like “seriously,” “should,” and “get off your fat ass” isn’t a motivator to anybody trying to get things down, especially when they feel highly unmotivated/afraid of a possible (or what their minds would say, ‘inevitable’) failure. I do agree with everybody else is that the quitter person needs someone to confide or go to for support. This doesn’t mean that the friend should become a crutch that the person goes for sympathy points and does nothing. Being a quitter myself, there are some tricks and techniques that have helped me along: -writing things down/saying it… Read more »
Kim Cassidy
Kim Cassidy
3 years 3 months ago

I would say to them (and only if pushed for an answer), “I’ve thought about telling you what I KNOW will work, but I’m not. Because, I know that you will not do them. I’ve been there. I really have. You are looking for the ONE TRUE thing that will fix it all without any work on your part. And, you want a guarantee that THIS TIME things will work out. Well, it probably won’t. You won’t be working hard long enough. Good luck.”

James H.
3 years 3 months ago

I would recommend the bet-switch mechanism to them, offering up my personal anecdote of how a $50 offer helped me hit the gym and work out consistently for months straight.

If I have sufficient investment in their follow-through (e.g., they’re my spouse), I would offer to serve as an accountability partner or otherwise find one for them. Just showing up is half the battle and having an appointment one would miss (with all the social stigma attached) can turn the tide.

Yousuf Azhar
Yousuf Azhar
3 years 3 months ago
Hi UrbanBaby, Your friend probably has trouble staying motivated. To overcome a lack of motivation use systems and automation. Here is a list of motivation thieves along with tips for your friend to overcome them: 1) Low Energy -Identify those times of day when your energy is highest and plan to get work done during those times. -Identify low energy times of day and plan to do something that will recharge you (nap, read a fun book, go for a walk outside, etc.). 2) Being Overwhelmed -Break down any overwhelming tasks into “bite size” chunks. These mini-tasks should take about… Read more »
Gisella A.
Gisella A.
3 years 3 months ago
1 I’d give her a copy of this song, “A quitter never wins” by Larry Williams and Johnny Otis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-30COAmyLU8 Not sure the lyrics will convince her but the rhythm sure does gets you movin – that’s a start! 🙂 Then, as a quitter myself, I would suggest a couple of things that helped me a little bit: 2. – make a list of all the things she quit that she can remember – see if she can find something in common about what she feels/thinks/does/hear or what happens etc when she starts wishing to get out of that thing… Read more »
pat
pat
3 years 3 months ago

I think the person asking the question has issues of his/her own and is avoiding them and attempting to feel superior by focusing on that other person. It’s pretty egotistical and condescending, considering I didn’t see that the other person even asked for that person’s advice/input/whatever. Needs to mind their own business and focus on their own shortcomings and stop trying to fix people as if they are broken. The kind of change the so-called quitter may or may need (as deemed by outsiders) is internally motivated and solved. It’s their own personal journey.

Ismael
Ismael
3 years 3 months ago
Honestly I can´t talk about any technique. When I face lazyness and someone tries to “help” me I totally get mad. I think “Leave me alone!” but what I really answer with a little smile is : Thank you, I´ll try it. Pleasure works for me. If it´s about exercise I love when you get completely wet and your heart beat almost explotes. If it is about learning a new language I care about interacting with people, not focusing on grammar. What I think you can do as an “outsider” is to test what can be pleasant for your friend… Read more »
Whitney Z
Whitney Z
3 years 3 months ago
First, this person is not a “quitter.” If you approach this person like they have a huge problem, they’re going to get defensive. Second, your goal is not that they listen to your advice, it’s that they change their behavior. People hate unsolicited advice. Third, you do not have to motivate this person. They already have basic motivation. So, you need to work on getting them to re-start their habit. Behavior BEFORE motivation. Now that we established that… Do you empathize with your friend? I know I do. There are so many things I want to do and learn, and… Read more »
Ingemar Pedron
Ingemar Pedron
3 years 3 months ago

Q: How do you encourage someone who is a friend or family member who is, for lack of a better word, a “quitter”

A: “You” can’t. It is only after realizing the cumulative effects of serial quitting that the quitter may maybe get a hint.

I’ll leave you with a quote from a certain religious text: “As a dog returns to his vomit, so does a fool return to his folly.”

GregB
GregB
3 years 3 months ago
This friend is probably utilizing willpower and the excitement of a new system to power her efforts. As we know this sort of motivation doesn’t last long. The prompt from UrbanBaby implies a fairly close relationship (friend or family member, and we’re assuming they’ve come to you with this as an issue and they want help), so the easiest way would be to get her to realize she needs to focus on building good habits and follow-through. I’d start with the exercise end of things, and have her join me – just coming to the gym with me (she doesn’t… Read more »
Cara
Cara
3 years 3 months ago

I have a feeling the purpose of this is not to really solve this girl’s problems, but to teach us a lesson about ourselves and how we have “quit” things. Am I right, Ramit?

Chelle
3 years 3 months ago

Well, you could give up going to the gym again but I remember the look in your eyes when you tried on that dress and you REALLY wanted it and it just wouldn’t do up. You made a commitment to lose those 10 pounds, only you can do it – remember that dress!

Vivek
Vivek
3 years 3 months ago
It is never easy to change someone else. And if it has to be done, one has to be completely sure that they want it. If this person really wants to change and is having trouble going about it, then it would be a good idea to help. Otherwise, it is mostly a waste of time and energy. If change is what is required then one of the ways that I’ve learnt to break myself and my friends out the shell is to make the conversation about them and how the change that they seek is not really hard work,… Read more »
Elvin @ Journey To Millions
3 years 3 months ago
Hi Ramit, This is a very timely topic. The other night, my wife and I were discussing her frustrations about writing articles in our blog. She wanted to quit writing so that she can just focus on teaching, her primary job. Here’s what I told her after I patiently listened to her struggles. “I understand how you feel. I know that you’re good at the things that you do. I also know that it’s hard for you to concetrate in juggling tasks at the same time. Why don’t you give yourself a break first by resting tomorrow. Do whatever thing… Read more »
Jenn Adams
Jenn Adams
3 years 3 months ago
First I would try to understand what her personal goals are and listen to what she hopes to achieve. I would also put myself in her shoes to gain perspective of what she fears that keeps causing her to quit. Once I have a good grasp on her perspective, I would talk to her about where she will be in a year if she quits versus where she could be if she continues working on the given project. Then I would help her identify a goal for her to work toward that is SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely).… Read more »
EB
EB
3 years 3 months ago
I would ask “Why SPECIFICALLY did you quit? Be honest, even if it’s something that sounds kind of dumb.” They will answer with a long list of excuses. Then say, “Sure, but that stuff was all true when you started. What changed between when you started, and when you quit?” That should get you closer to the answer. And then you can coax them towards a solution. It’s funny how just a tiny little thing can kill what little initiative we have to get stuff done. Maybe she set goals that were too ambitious and she got discouraged when she… Read more »
Vien
Vien
3 years 3 months ago
1) To get the young man to invest I would do a matching funds. If he will put up $25 to $100 and leave it in the account until maturity, I would match the original investment or help find a matching funds IDA (Individual Development Account) program. Very few people would say no to free money. 2) For the woman who appears to be a quitter; it may be the challenge of starting a project that is intriguing, when it is established and running well it becomes boring. The solution may be helping her find new challenges in the established… Read more »
Fábio Duarte Martins
3 years 3 months ago

This one is easy: it’s a matter of excitement.

Instead of long-term gratification, this person should skip to short-term ones.

Or putting that talent to work: she’s not a quitter, she’s a starter.

nathan bogan
nathan bogan
3 years 3 months ago

I always tell others, and myself as I am traditionally a quitter…. why are you doing this? Exactly why?

Every time I want to skip a workout, stop studying, skip practice, or do anything that makes it seem ok to stop trying I tell myself:

If I do this TODAY, today what I REALLY DONT want to do, then I WILL reach my goal. If I practice TODAY then I WILL succeed and reach my goal in time.

L. Susan Drennan
3 years 3 months ago

It’s about seeing an end in mind and incremental progress. Also a purpose compelling enough. The prize may not be compelling enough to finish.
A to B, B to C, etc.
Sometimes in real life we don’t have the luxury to quit.
She must have someone who’s picking up the pieces.
Personal Responsibility Counts.

Rob
Rob
3 years 3 months ago
I presume this person has acknowledged their quitting is a problem and has asked for help… A person who is smart, capable, has good ideas and initiative is lacking only one thing: structure. This comes down to simple goal setting. I would create a format where the person clearly defines realistic, detailed goals with specific action steps and deadlines. Those specifics must be shared with friends and family so they feel accountable to people other than themselves. I would offer support when I could (an added bonus to being accountable to your family and friends is that they are, by… Read more »
Joey King
Joey King
3 years 3 months ago
For both diet/exercise and practicing a musical instrument, I have shared a gdoc spreadsheet pre-formatted as a timesheet/measurement log with tabs for myself and the person who claims they want to make progress. Then I updated my progress on my own tab, demonstrating the possibility of change/progress and sparking competition without domineering. Motivation can be enhanced with personal challenges, like racing to a goal for diet/exercise or agreeing to publish a YouTube video of playing the practiced musical instrument on a certain date. I’m not yet persuasive enough to use more direct methods. With the above, the exercise guy gave… Read more »
Dan
Dan
3 years 3 months ago
What’s important to note here is the reasoning behind the lack of effort. I would encourage this person to first do some self-analysis. To give her somewhere to start, I would provide a few potential reasons for her attitude with some easy to understand solutions. Here are three potential reasons this person may be “quitting.” – Fear. This person may be, as cliche as it sounds, “afraid of success.” If this is the case, I would advise this person to seek professional counsel since it may be indicative of deeper psychological issues and is beyond my ability to help. –… Read more »
Curt
Curt
3 years 3 months ago

I self-sabotage all the time. Advice? Smart people have that problem. We know that we are not the smartest, and believe that the smartest should “win”. What gets me off of the self-sabotage cycle is simply reminding myself: “someone is going to do that and make millions. It can be me, or simply some idiot that did not know when to quit.It will not be someone smarter than me. Finish it, and get the prize before some idiot does. “

J.
J.
3 years 3 months ago
I would wonder, privately, if this person was afraid of change. Now, assuming the person experienced the behavior as a problem and verbalized the wish to change, I would probably listen to this, and the next time this person tried something, I would hang back, be relaxedly supportive of the efforts, and talk more about “maintaining.” Something like, “Wow, you are really maintaining your exercise plan.” This isn’t about “changing” or “improving” or any of the words that can freak people out, just “maintaining,” which can sound like nothing much is going on, and then the person could just sorta… Read more »
Andrew Shankles
Andrew Shankles
3 years 3 months ago
Explain, using examples from my own experience, the value and growth that come from simply making a choice and sticking with it. Practicing perseverance and even stubbornness can lead to bigger and better opportunities. If you don’t treat your job as if it’s your dream job and throw yourself into it, you’ll never earn a shot at your dream gig. Only by making a decision (which comes from the Greek, meaning to cut away) can you realize either what you don’t want or what you do want to do- two sides of the same coin. So stick with it, at… Read more »
SES Da Great
3 years 3 months ago

I’ve found that the best way to encourage a quitter is to give encouraging words that focus on their accomplishments and strengths rather then what they have quit or left incomplete in the past. Most quitters are subconsciously trained to doubt themselves and/or fear the sacrifice neccasary to achieve, so I always make an effort to empower them while belittling the complexity of the work. I also talk about the benefits of completing the goal and how they’ll feel when they’ve achieved their goal.

Ramit, much respect to you God!

Big D
3 years 3 months ago

Sounds like the stakes are too low.

That person will never work to their potential unless there is something to lose. You could try and convince them that life is short, but they’ve probably already heard that with little effect.

If they really want to succeed, I’d have them wager something of significant value to them as the fear of losing is often a more powerful mover than the potential for gain.

Mark Eichenlaub
Mark Eichenlaub
3 years 3 months ago

Get a notebook TODAY. Start jotting down goals and add to, revise, review what it is and how you will get there daily. Keep it next to bed and work on improving your approach to life and you will be shocked what you can accomplish. Stick with it though. Quit reading and thinking about and start doing it.

Mark Eichenlaub
Mark Eichenlaub
3 years 3 months ago

My site didn’t show. It’s teachtorun.com

Her Every Cent Counts
3 years 3 months ago
I’m a quitter. But I’ve also made progress in my life. I’m textbook ADHD. Here is my advice: It’s easy to view the world in black or white terms, all or nothing. But that’s not the way progress works. You don’t just drop 3 dress sizes in two weeks. You gain weight back on the way to losing. You don’t need to be the world’s perfect friend to be a friend. Perfection is the arch enemy of progress. Come up with small, realistic goals for each area that really matters to improving your life and aim for those. Figure out… Read more »
Paul
Paul
3 years 3 months ago
I can identify with this person. Thing is, it’s not ADHD or that she’s depressed or she lacks motivation or is a loser or whatever. I mean it could be, but that’s just jumping to conclusions. Here’s what you do: step 1, find common ground. “If it was me I’d probably have the same trouble.” Step 2, tell her how I overcame that trouble. What has worked for me (whenever I’m able to see things through to the end) is keeping a narrow focus. There are tons of things I want to do, but sometimes I bite off more than… Read more »
Kim Taylor
Kim Taylor
3 years 3 months ago
I remember the story from the woman who chose to leave law school just after starting her second year. She didn’t quit law school, she left and chose to do something she actually wanted to do. It will be important to ask this young woman what she really believes about her behaviour. Does she “quit” or is it something else? She may find it helpful to differentiate between the idea of “quitting” and “deciding to do something else instead”. This partial completion appears to be a pattern she wants to change however, so there is an underlying belief that she… Read more »
James
3 years 3 months ago

Studies have shown that children who were told how smart they are or how good they are doing do not try as hard as children complemented on how hard they work. I believe this same idea can be applied to adults. I would guess that this person is being told how good they are at every thing they do and that lowers their desire to continue. I would praise them for how hard they have worked and the progress they have made due to their hard work.

Nana
Nana
3 years 3 months ago
I’ve thought about who I want to be and what this person would do and how would she think. I started changing my habits to habits that my ideal person would cultivate. I’ve started REALLY slow on everything that I’m doing (for example, my first goal was to go a whole month without skipping one shower – that’s how depressed I was at the time) and have gradually built up. I am now running to lose fat and following Tim Ferris’ slow carb plan, and my actual first step was “do not go one day without showering”. I still have… Read more »
David
3 years 3 months ago
Personally I find this one of the most challenging of situations. First, being close to someone makes it more of a challenge to avoid sympathizing(not good). Second, some of us have difficulty challenging those close to us(self included). I feel like the heart of this matter is, “quitting” anything, or everything, especially just as things seems to be going well. Somewhere under this is a self-esteem issue, and just perhaps a lack of direction issue too. Not feeling worthy of having good things and not answering that epic question, “What do I really want out of this(particular situation) or even… Read more »
Joann
Joann
3 years 3 months ago
I’ve been that quitter. And I’m happy to report, I’m doing better. (I had to earn a degree in Psych in order to get there, but that’s a different story.) I’ve learned that the motivation absolutely must come from within, but that being said, outside encouragement is appreciated in the form of someone, anyone, paying positive attention to me (the quitter) and what it is I do, the effort that I actually put forth. This is a tall order in today’s world, but I’ll venture to say: #1 Give your proverbial quitter some positive attention, an “atta-boy! way to go!… Read more »
RB
RB
3 years 3 months ago
As Utsav and others have pointed out, this is classic ADHD behavior. From personal experience, I can tell you that if that is indeed the case, getting it treated (with or without medication) is the FIRST thing to do. Only then can you start talking about other stuff. I would not have ever gotten treatment for my ADHD, and thereby made some amazing changes to my life and career, if it weren’t for a friendly colleague who discreetly suggested it. Once you know that the person is actually capable of focusing and doing what they intend to do, it’s a… Read more »
Heyward
Heyward
3 years 3 months ago

Seduce the client. Get them to give you a measurable goal.

Her [after a long conversation]: “…just want to be HAPPY, you know?!”

Me: “What was the last good summer you had?”

Her: “Summer?”

Me: “Yeah, your most memorable summer.”

Her: “Oo…when I was a camp counselor in Minnnesota.”

Me: “Oh yeah?”

Her: “Yeah. God, that was great. I was making money, I was with Brian, I was a size 6…”

Bingo.

Ryan
Ryan
3 years 3 months ago
“Smart and capable enough” in the eyes of others doesn’t mean that someone has the self-esteem or self-efficacy to follow through on their abilities or good intentions. It’s obvious that if the lack of follow-through is consistent in many areas in a person’s life, as is the case here, then the problem is deeper than HOW the person is doing things. Think about a guy who is outwardly put-together, smart, and good-looking but fails miserably with women. Telling him how to act with women won’t make up for his crushing self-doubt, unchallenged assumptions, and the self-victimization that allows him to… Read more »
Gabe
Gabe
3 years 3 months ago

Use mentors, friends, advisors, experts, or whoever you trust to motivate and push you to complete tasks. Trying to be completely self-sufficient may stroke your ego, but does little to help you get ahead or overcome the myriad of life’s challenges. Reach out for help if you are serious about moving ahead.

Steve
Steve
3 years 3 months ago

Don’t waste your time to change a loser that doesn’t want to change. Only that person can motivate themselves to change, or be forced to change when they run out of money & can’t borrow/mooch from any of their “friends” or relatives anymore. If they come to YOU for help, then you can give them your best help and guidance. Until then, put your efforts into someone or something that is worthy, usually yourself. Sorry this is harsh, but this has been my experience for many years, also the advice that others have given me, proven to be true.

Jamie
3 years 3 months ago
“What’s the worst that can happen? Look, you have made it clear to me that this job/gym/thing isn’t working for you. You’ve convinced me that you mean it. I was surprised because it was going well for you. I mean from the outside things looked REALLY GOOD for you. But you are quitting: Therefore you’ve already lost it, right? No, hear me out. You don’t have anything extra to lose so hear me out. “I’ve seen you do this before. Something is going well, then whatever it is inside your head reemerges and you back off again. I know, I… Read more »
Stephen Harbort
Stephen Harbort
3 years 3 months ago
Talking to you I see that you make fantastic progress and then do not seem to finish the job. I at times have had similar problems and it was explained to me that I have a subconscious fear of success. Sounds like BS I know. To overcome this I use the buddy system. I have a friend who is a pain, always does lists and must succeed at all costs. When I start to slow down and backflip we have a chat and he reminds be of how much better off I will feel when I finish. When I get… Read more »
Edward Snelling
Edward Snelling
3 years 3 months ago
How would I encourage a quitter? Hmmmmmmmm — good question!! I have a friend whom I have attempted to help her speak English better as well as to write better. We began with her writing to me and I would correct her spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. The problem early on was that she didn’t keep up the correspondence regularly and never responded to the specific corrections I’d suggested. Over about eight months her compositions did improve but some errors never seemed to be considered. Each time she would write to me she would apologize for not keeping the correspondence… Read more »
Rosco
Rosco
3 years 3 months ago
Rather than embark on a rant about what other’s should do, I’ll give you a brief history of how I went from being a serial quitter to being someone who hammers it out till the bitter end every time. Firstly, I changed the story I was telling myself about myself. I stopped beating myself up over things I had quit in the past, realizing that some things we undertake in life are dead ends that need to be quit in order to commence something better. Seth Godin’s The Dip helped me with this mindset. The trick is in knowing what… Read more »
Hasani
3 years 3 months ago
First it would be best to drop all ideas of what you might say to influence them, because 99 times out of 100 it’s your values and frame you’ll speak from. So instead of talking ask questions and listen. Ask questions that uncover 3 key pieces of information. 1) what is their idea of success and failure, what logic are they using to decide from (information) 2) how do they feel about success, failure, quitting, what emotions influence their decisions. (inspiration) 3) what’s most important to them, what and how do they define themselves or who do they want to… Read more »
Ed
Ed
3 years 3 months ago

Shirley, darlin’, I don’t have any earthly idea why you’d ever wanna do that exercise nonsense anyhow. You done it fer, what, a few weeks? All them experts say, “Yeah, it’ll make ya feel better, it’ll make you lose weight”…all that baloney. I say it’s a buncha crap. What’d you lose, maybe a dress size or two? Got all sweaty and stuff and fer nuthin’! You come over here and have some of this pecan pie and watch Wheel of Fortune with me. Ain’t Pat Sajak cute?

Justice~!
Justice~!
3 years 3 months ago
LJ
LJ
3 years 3 months ago

This subject is important to us all; to our children, to ourselves and friends. How do you effectively communicate, inspire and motivate? Capture the moment, show people vs. telling them…a good start. I defer to a quote from long ago attributed to Lao Tzu, “In the end we will conserve what we love…we will love only what we understand…and we will understand only what we are taught”.

ajay singh
ajay singh
3 years 3 months ago
1.) Belief, She must believe in her abilities. It is important that her immediate boss, or other important person in her life should believe in her. She should be able to trust them, that they would not judge her actions and provide unbiases advice. 2.) Habits: We become what we continuously do. So, it is important that she build good habits. She must be made to realize that all her efforts are worthwhile. As everything is measure in terms of tangible things. Sometines, It becomes difficult to measure your output. So she should somehow know that she has made a… Read more »
Gilles
Gilles
3 years 3 months ago
My advices for a quitter: – point the goals already achieved – show as exemple someone or something the quitter admire a lot – encourage the quitter even for the small steps – fix new goals This is what I will do for anyone I want to help, but that being said, there’s a very strange behavior I notice (and actually work for me): 1 – The case of parents who denigrate and insults their kids :”you’re stupid! You’re not smart enough! you will never be someone! you will never get a job, etc” it often creates a reaction that… Read more »
Z
Z
3 years 3 months ago
I am that person. The quitter. I have the quick-burn syndrome – I get very excited by new ideas and projects and lose interest and enthusiasm rapidly. So here’s what I do with myself. I don’t try to encourage myself anymore. I have given up the idea that I have to feel enthusiastic about something 100% of the time to do it effectively. What I do instead are the following. 1. Allot small intervals of time – say 10 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening to work on a project I want to quit. The only… Read more »
Richard
Richard
3 years 3 months ago
I’d ask her what she wants her life to be like and have her imagine what it would be like if she really followed through. Then I’d ask her when she feels like quitting what does she say to herself. We’d write all of those things down on a small piece of paper. Then I’d ask her to consider that all that stuff is just a bunch of thoughts and she can just put them aside when they come up and remind herself what she is committed to for her life. Then I’d have her create a structure to support… Read more »
Jeremy
Jeremy
3 years 3 months ago
Sometimes a “quitter” will convince theirself that they “don’t really want to do that” when really they just don’t want to be a burden and they feel like that’s what they’re doing because they’re not experts yet. Find a way to show them that their contributions are valued. Sometimes it’s also beneficial to make them aware of the real reason behind their decision first. Other times they may feel like in the initial learning phase that there’s “no point” because they’re just practising and what they do doesn’t get used (in the example of a new blogger who doesn’t get… Read more »
Meso
Meso
3 years 3 months ago

You wrote “Your spectacular failures have nearly convinced me shut down my email list, turn my blog into a private community of 1…”

Please do this and spare us the melowdrama. Talk about putting oneself above others. Oy! I’m off your list from here on by choice. Last words: Grow up.

Keith
Keith
3 years 3 months ago
Ramit…if people are reading your blog for years and still giving weak answers, it does not mean necessarily that they are clueless. People read your blog to help themselves. That does not mean they are qualified to advise others. They can say what has worked for them, but that does not mean they will be able to say, or even have the inclination to say, what someone else should do. One of the things you do, which I love, is you give people the thinking behind the concept. You give them the “why”, so that they can understand how to… Read more »
Julien
Julien
3 years 3 months ago
In my opinion it seems like she has problems forming habits. It’s the typical scenario where there is no system in place so the first two weeks are easy but then because she is solely relying on willpower all it takes is one little hurdle and she falls off the tracks. My advice to her would be: Think about one tiny habit you’d like to form. Makes sure it’s incredibly easy to follow. And I mean really easy. Like doing one pushup when you get out of bed, or flossing one tooth after brushing your teeth. Once you’ve done the… Read more »
Michelle
Michelle
3 years 3 months ago

Hire a personal trainer or become her personal trainer. Why do people hire personal trainers or life coaches when 99.9% of the time they can probably get the info themselves or already know what they need to do? ACCOUNTABILITY. When you are forced to account for your actions it makes if more difficult to quit. Find a buddy or hire someone that motivates you to get off your ass to do something.

CRose
CRose
3 years 3 months ago
I would have a conversation with my friend after she was seeking my advice for help. It would sound like this,”Friend, don’t make yourself wrong for not finishing things. But how does that make you feel when you don’t finish things? Do you feel empowered when your gym clothes are sitting in the back of your car untouched for a month? If not, you need to do things that do make you feel empowered(happy,productive,accomplished et al.). Start in one area, be it writing in your blog every day, or going to the gym 3 days a week, and keep your… Read more »
Jes
Jes
3 years 3 months ago
I myself have quit many things. I have insecurities and fears just like anyone.. One of the things I recently changed about myself was starting a workout program. i looked at what my obstacle was: not knowing what gym to go, where the heck to start with on exercise, etc. For me it was about finding the right person who could give me the advice. After seeing a Groupon special for a gym with the most intimidating name ever, I decided that if I could do it and if they could help me, then I might just be able to… Read more »
michelle
michelle
3 years 3 months ago
If the person has asked for help, and only if…… 1) find out if there are commonalities in the projects the person has started(ie same time of year, reason for deciding on particular idea) 2) what is the driving force behind wanting to make the change (ie self-motivated,or outside directed —you should be instead of I want) 3) how long the improvements have lasted (not necessarily important, but will make person think you are really paying attention) 4)how they have successfully changed previously, as there are things that they would have accomplished and completed in their life to date. (ie… Read more »
Amber
Amber
3 years 3 months ago

We are conditioned to think that quitting is adverse to success, but quitting well and often is one of the most important skills a person can have. Many people never succeed because they don’t quit doing things that they’re terrible at. I hope the quitter starts a blog about her quitting experiences and counsels others about when to quit and how to quit well.

sarah
sarah
11 months 23 days ago
I was looking through all the replies this topic generated and found this to be the one that would have the most impact on me. I am a quitter and i came across this blog because i wanted to stop quitting. The example given is spot on – i used to be an achiever and when i do stuff, im really good at them in the beginning. But when my motivation goes off, i’d quit. This happens to me in every activity, task or project i do. I dont know whats wrong. all i know is when the going gets… Read more »
hayden
hayden
3 years 3 months ago
Sure, you can do it. You can do just about anything, if you want it badly enough. 1. Start with a specific goal. 2. Set a date to achieve it. 3. Decide what you will do to achieve that goal. 4. Make a daily plan of action, and start immediately. 5. Write it down. 6. Read it out loud to yourself every morning and every night. See, feel, and believe yourself already in possession of your goal. It might help you to know that this 6 step formula was given by Andrew Carnegie, to Napolean Hill, who spent the next… Read more »
Raymond Huang
Raymond Huang
3 years 3 months ago

To stop a quitter from quitting, I would join the quitter with whatever activity he or she would quit. I think having someone to work alongside with and talk to is helpful. Schedule weekly or daily meetings where you can talk to the quitter and keep the quitter encouraged. Avoid showboating and ask for help if needed. If quitter seems to be having trouble, talk to the person and swap strategies and tips with them.

Mike
Mike
3 years 3 months ago

“Stop screwing over your future self!”

alternately, as I just saw on ‘Barking Up the Wrong Tree”

“Do something good for your future self!”

This is not hypothetical – I’ve discussed this with a friend and try to keep it in mind for myself and it’s helpful. It is not a complete fix for not doing the things we should, but it helps us to try to keep doing the right things.

Patrick
Patrick
3 years 3 months ago

To sorta plagiarize Merlin Mann: Adderall, a referral to a therapist, and a hug.

Patrick
Patrick
3 years 3 months ago

(under the care of a psychiatrist, etc., blah, blah, blah)

Kim
3 years 3 months ago
Firstly, let me say it is near impossible to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. Best case I think is to try and find some way to inspire the person to want to. Given that family members often have additional layers of relationship complexity, one always has to tread carefully. Nothing worse than accidentally burning a relationship, and then having to front up to the next family dinner! Without all the details, my approach would be to create some sort of joint challenge and goal that you both work together to achieve. You can certainly couch it using… Read more »
Aaron
Aaron
3 years 3 months ago
Step away. Motivation and change comes from within and our ability to effect change on others is severely limited, especially those close to us. As much as we want to give advice to others, they just won’t take it outside of very few situations. Those are: Mentor type (not personal, professional) Supervisor/Superior at work (again professional) Parents (only years later when it finally sinks in) Any time someone asks for advice, we should point them in the same direction we came from and to the same materials that lead us to our moment of self realization. It comes from within… Read more »
Amy
Amy
3 years 3 months ago

5 points I would discuss with this person in order to encourage / inspire them:

Perfection is not necessary – like investing, it’s about the long term, not short term

Willpower alone won’t cut it – have a support team

Come up with a motto – memorize it and live it

Look to the past see how far you’ve come

Be a role model to someone else – continue to stay inspired

Jacki
Jacki
3 years 3 months ago
This worked with a friendI. Too much planning made her feel defeated before she even started. Just make a date to go for a walk on a free track at a school. Play anything that gets her up and moving, like badmitten. Go for a walk through a zoo, on a beach or go on a nature hike and/or photo shoot. If she wants to complain, let her get it out of her system, then direct the conversation in a more positive direction. Make a date to do these things twice a week to start. Maybe there is a walking… Read more »
Nick
Nick
3 years 3 months ago
I would ask her for advice on the topic that she quit about. I would ask “You have experience with x…how do you get started at x?” Then I would follow her advice and keep her in the loop showing my visible progress. After a while, I may ask more tactical questions relating to her existing experience: “Hey, thanks for telling me about x…now that I’ve done x, I’m wondering about y. I’m thinking of trying a or b or c. Which one of those would you recommend?” At this point, SHE IS THE EXPERT and she may feel compelled… Read more »
Markus
Markus
3 years 3 months ago
From your material, Ramit and the things that I tried and found useful Theoretical: -Read “The Power of Habits” by Charles Duhigg (got this from the habit-changing program), first two-three chapters -“The magic of thinking big” David J. Schwartz, first chapter Practical: -Set stimulating large goals (what do you really want that could rock your world). -Set ridiculously low threshold goals on a micro-scale/daily level (e.g go 10 minutes to the gym) (e.g. using the power of habits, I started with running 6 minutes as a starter, ridicilously low, but it helped me getting into the habit of running) Optional:… Read more »
Dylan
Dylan
3 years 3 months ago

I would list the person’s past accomplishments to them. Give them encouragement & inspiration. List examples of accomplished friends similar to her. Help her recognize what caused previous shortfalls & offer suggestions on how to bridge her weaknesses.

David Vallieres
3 years 3 months ago
Her beliefs are stopping her from finishing what she starts. She believes she is a quitter so she quits. That’s who she thinks she is: A quitter. To stop her from quitting things she needs to believe she is someone who finishes what she starts. The only way to change someone’s belief system is to provide evidence that is contrary to what they believe and then get them to accept it. No one quits everything in their life. Give her evidence that there are some things she does not quit (think small steps). Examples: When she brushes her teeth does… Read more »
James
James
3 years 3 months ago
SInce this all I know about her. The following. 1) Give her something to lose or gain. Sometimes we only act when we know something is going to be taken away. 2) Have her create simple but powerful habits in her life. Using the motivation from #1 to kickstart the process. 3) Do not overwhelm her in the beginning focus on building volume not power to start. Trying to get powerful to fast can lead to burnout. So try and keep everything at it’s proper dosage. 4) Feedback is important it how we know are going in the right direction.… Read more »
Darren McKenzie
Darren McKenzie
3 years 3 months ago
People tend to do whatever allows them to get what they want in a way that confirms a belief about themselves and their world. So start by looking at the benefits of quitting. What does your friend get to have or confirm by giving up? Almost without exception, people do what they believe to work – even when its counter to logic or potential results. Keep that in mind. Building specific strategies to overcome the moments where quitting becomes an option. Approach it from 3 key angles: right thoughts, right feelings and right environment. Chip and Dan Heath reference a… Read more »
Bonnie Johnston
Bonnie Johnston
3 years 3 months ago
Ramit, I almost didn’t reply because I didn’t want to be the reason that you stop blogging. But…I think I would start by picking something that I have a problem sticking with, tell her I wanted to keep doing it but that I’ve been struggling to keep the habit going, and ask for her advice. I would probably also be prepared with some psychological study on motivation that includes tips on forming habits, and would tell her I was thinking of trying a couple of those tips, and again, ask her what she thought about those things. I’m sure that… Read more »
Patty
Patty
3 years 3 months ago
Talk with your friend about signing a contract with herself, with a goal like losing 10 pounds. Break down how to accomplish that, with backup plans. “I will go to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes. If I skip the gym, my dinner will be salad with low fat dressing, steamed broccoli and fish.” Or, for the first week, just agree to walk for 5 minutes a day – them 10 minutes a day the second week, 15 the third, etc. Just like learning to read music, break it down to the smallest component. If you mess… Read more »
Swati S
Swati S
3 years 3 months ago
I would start by asking her what goals are immediately important to her. What has she identified as goals that would improve her life or set her on the path that she wants to follow. Aim: to bring the conversation to examples relevant to her and get her thinking and engaged in that moment. Next I would ask what is holding her back. What the fear is or the stopping point ends up being in each example. I might relate it to things I have done myself and how that situation panned out for me (what did my quitting lead… Read more »
Gina
Gina
3 years 3 months ago
New York Bachelor Kills Himself After Reading Urban Baby? This really isn’t a man bites dog kind of story. However, I would discuss with the potential quitter why it is this goal is important and what’s the ultimate objective. Then, I would suggest taking the smallest step possible toward obtaining the objective and to incrementally build from that point. If possible he/she can seek out a buddy which can hold them accountable or joining a group involved in the activity. When there are setbacks, assess what the barriers were and ways to get around them and try again. Also be… Read more »
JuliaT
JuliaT
3 years 3 months ago
I liked the answers that were self-referential. I, too, have been tempted to quit just as things were *about* to turn around! I would ask the potential quitter what’s at risk if she succeeds. Something’s kicking into gear when things start going well; her inner risk manager is sabotaging the progress. And there could be all kinds of legitimate things that keep her from persevering to success, such as fear of being attractive once the weight is lost, for example; fear of losing losing friendships based on shared commiseration, fear of not fitting in with family members who are overweight,… Read more »
Andrew
Andrew
3 years 3 months ago
The solution is easy. I have used it more than once, including on myself. You make it too painful for the person to quit. For example. If you really want to change and get a goal done, write me a check for $1000 (or some appropriate amount that is just affordable but very painful). Tell everyone you are going to do this. If you achieve the goal you get the check. If you don’t I get to cash it. If you are not prepared to make the commitment you don’t really want to change. If you do you are hugely… Read more »
Vicky Lau
3 years 3 months ago

I would say “You know one of your strengths is that you’re really good at starting things. Everything you start turns to gold. Have you thought about getting someone to help you become just as good at the next phase?”

That’s simple and gets her talking to get and idea of her baseline. Gauge what would be a simple and easiest change to take a step forward and suggest that.

Emily
3 years 3 months ago
In the book Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he writes about how investing and changing Keystone habits make huge impacts in other areas of your life. (excerpt here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-duhigg/the-power-of-habit_b_1304550.html) Duhigg focused on how people who invested in these keystone habits saw other areas of their lives improve as well. For example, in a diet study, a group of people who were told to Food journal at least one day a week saw twice the weight loss as others in the study who did not journal. The discipline trait is like a muscle that needs to be worked out. I… Read more »
Cathy
Cathy
3 years 3 months ago
First, instead of judging, I would try to have empathy. I mean, we’ve all been there and I am sure we all are still resistant to change in at least one area of our lives. Lack of motivation is not usually the reason someone is resistant to change. I would use an evidenced based tool called “motivational interviewing”. Motivational Interviewing has been defined as “a collaborative, person-­‐centered form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation for change.” It’s a conversation style often used by social workers or health professionals when working with individuals facing significant barriers. Google it. In this… Read more »
Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD
3 years 3 months ago
This reminds me of a famous Mahatma Gandhi story. — A lady reached Mahatma Gandhi with her 10-year old child. She told Gandhi, “Sir, my son has a bad habit of eating a lot of sweets. I have been telling him to reduce eating sweets, but he does not listen to me. Sir, the whole nation listens to you, and you are a revered personality. I am sure my son too will heed to your advice. Please tell him not to eat too much of these sweets.” Mahatma Gandhi thought for a while and asked the lady to bring her… Read more »
Josue
Josue
3 years 3 months ago

It is your choice, but really do you beleive you have reason to complain?

When I were child my father used to said me when I cried: “I will hit you in order to give you a real reason for crying”

Nicole E
Nicole E
3 years 3 months ago
Personally, I don’t understand the “abandon quitter friend” technique I saw in several posts. Isn’t that a strategy for people who would rather “quit” friendships than try persuasion? Here is a conversation I imagine happening: Friend: Blech, I should start going to the gym. I feel soooo fat. Me: Didn’t you used to go to the gym? Friend: Yeah. But I got tired of it [insert many excuses here]. Me: Well if you went back, what would you do differently so you wouldn’t quit? Then the friend can start coming up with her own solutions. Maybe she wants to try… Read more »
Tara Imani
3 years 3 months ago
Dear Ramet, Thank you for your recent email; it was unusually pithy and made me laugh- although you’re raising serious issues. My advice to Urban Baby: I would ask her why she is not being true and committed to herself. I would recommend she journal around questions such as: when I reach my ideal weight, I’m going to ___________ ( fill in take a trip, buy a new wardrobe, or go after that job I’ve always wanted,,etc.) I would also recommendshe get a copy of the CD audio series The Psychology of Winning by Denis Waitley and challenge her to… Read more »
Zach
Zach
3 years 3 months ago
Anyone here reading the Heath brothers’ new book “Decisive”? Great interview with Derek Halpern here: http://socialtriggers.com/decisive-dan-heath/ Reading “Decisive” and some of the research about our eagerness to make decisions, when really we have too little information, has made me skeptical about this kind of “Be the expert!” thinking. This scenario is ridiculous: “She has started exercise programs–done really well, and then quit right as she was making progress..She starts out strong and then abandons ship. No one knows why.” So this person quits all the time and that’s all the information we have…yet Ramit is like “What would you do… Read more »
Chi
Chi
3 years 3 months ago
I’d invite the person over for a quick chat. Maybe some coffee or tea at a park or by the waterfront. Or somewhere where the other person would feel at ease, a nice comfortable setting. Then, I’d compliment them on how well they’ve done each time they’ve started something, but also, without interrupting them, try to find out a pattern between why they chose to stop. Like starting off with, “Oh, I really liked your ideas about this time you did this and this. How did you come up with it?” Listen without judgement, try to see things in their… Read more »
NS
NS
3 years 3 months ago
“Hi [Flaky Friend Name], “It seems you get excited at the beginning of projects and then they fall by the wayside. That must feel crappy to go to the effort and nothing good materialize after all the work you put in. Just know that it happens to the rest of us too, and if you actually want to increase the chances of a new habit or goal working out, there’s actually a better way of going about it in a systematic way. Do you want to hear how I managed to [outcome X/ benefit Y] for myself? Flaky Friend: “Sure,… Read more »
Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey

When I was teaching in a community college, a student whispered to me that some of my students will be dropping out of school because they are having difficulty with their subjects. I called a meeting and simply told them, “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” It has been my guiding motto since younger days. I would not have been what I am now if I quit school and contented myself with working in a fast food chain.

NS
NS
3 years 3 months ago

P.S. For those who didn’t notice, what I wrote above is not only a conversation between friends, but a pseudo-sales letter using copywriting techniques meant to identify with the target audience’s frustrations and ideal outcomes, remove some key barriers, and gently persuade for an action.

Jesús
Jesús
3 years 3 months ago

All of us are quitters, in fact is one of our brain specialties. Provide a motivation higher than the instinct to quit, together with the mechanism to test it works, enlarge the reward in comparison with the effort to achieve the goal.
A natural quitter.

Tore
Tore
3 years 3 months ago
Robert Cialdini wrote an excellent book on persuasion (Influence: the psychology of persuasion). And it has six strong factors at play: 1. Liking – people like those who like them 2. Reciprocity – People repay in kind 3. Social proof – people follow the lead of similar others 4. Consistency – people fulfill public written commitments 5. Authority – experts provide shortcuts to decisions 6. Scarcity – people value what’s scarce So the first thing that comes to mind is that this girl needs to be talked to by someone who can demonstrate social proof. A person who can say… Read more »
Michael Leading Horse
3 years 3 months ago
Oooh, this will be a real test of how internalized your teachings are for me. Scout’s honor-not looking or scrambling through your site for the “right” answers. 😀 Okay, first establish that she actually wants to change with a question. Most of these folk don’t and are just addicted to their drama-I can think of an acquaintance or two… Then start probing for barriers, whatever they might be. Maybe she doesn’t want to “commit” to something because that will curb her life towards something she might not want? Maybe she just loses steam like we all do? I’d also suggest… Read more »
cs
cs
3 years 3 months ago

Bingo – the key is to ask questions not to tell the person anything. The Socratic technique… People are concerned that you don’t seem to be able to follow thru with any of your projects/goals Ms X, but what would you say? Hmm, and why would that be? How do you feel when you stop doing Y? Relieved? Sad? Disappointed? Angry? and then go from there

Terry Gillespie
Terry Gillespie
3 years 3 months ago
For quitters, I suggest finding one tiny step that they can do today. Yes, I know their task is overwhelming to them, like clearing a huge paperwork jam, but one step done successfully can lead to another. I think many quitters are perfectionists and fear it won’t be done perfectly so they don’t start. For weight loss, I suggest making one behavior change per week, something easy, like using lowfat milk this week, walking a mile each day, swapping out water for soda next week, and to write down what she eats… just to be mindful of consumption. Sometimes people… Read more »
Michelle Z
Michelle Z
3 years 3 months ago

I would ask this person to envision their goals – whether weight or financial and figure out why they want them. Then work on 3 – 4 specific roadblocks to reaching that goal to have a action plan to succeed. This should also include tactics to overcome the typical barriers that are faced.

If that fails, move on, you can’t help someone that does not realize there is a problem.

Barbara
Barbara
3 years 3 months ago
We are motivated to do something to avoid pain or gain a reward. As her friend, you can ask her to tell you or write it down what does she gain by continuing to quit successful endeavors. What is her fear of succeeding? What pain will it cause? What will she gain by not quitting? If she can focus in on these answers maybe she can find the answer for herself. If she is reluctant to do so, then she needs someone besides her friend to help her. A friend can be a sounding board, but can’t act as a… Read more »
S Gupta
S Gupta
3 years 3 months ago

I find being held accountable to another person motivating. It is easy to let yourself off the hook with excuses, but if someone else is involved it’s 1) more embarrassing to fail and 2) easier to succeed with support. So perhaps this friend could offer to take a gym class with her or collaborate on the blog or help her find other people with similar goals/interests.

Stephanie
Stephanie
3 years 3 months ago
I was that person, FOR YEARS!! If she is complaining and wants help, that is half the battle won. If she can acknowledge and admit that she has these tendencies, then she can be honest with herself and say to herself that she KNOWS that she is going to get to a point where she wants to quit and can be on the “lookout” for a shift in her feelings/enthusiasm about whatever it is that she is doing and have a plan to combat that. What got me over the hump was to plan out the process, in advance, step… Read more »
Thomas
Thomas
3 years 3 months ago
Honestly, I did not read all the posts, god if I know how you read and pick out what you want from this sea of insightful and yet at times contradicting ideas. I’d invite them to have lunch with me to talk about this issue they are having in their life. I would use the experience of having lunch to tackle it because my experience has shown me experiential solutions have power than abstract verbal diarrhea. I’m paraphrasing this because it’s abstract, but I would handle things this way or another way. I would meet them outside the restaurant/cafe. Hi… Read more »
Michelle
Michelle
3 years 3 months ago
You know, I wrote this long thing and realized it was bullshit. What’s worked best for me is indirect encouragement and regular schedules. Some folks above have suggested reverse psychology, but when someone tries that with me I generally blow up then withdraw even further. I would also remind them that there is momentum in quitting but there is also momentum in continuing something healthy. I’d ask them to consider whether they are carefully and decisively quitting, or whether they are just passively giving up in the face of something scary. Some examples of indirect encouragement: 1)I really ought to… Read more »
Matthew Palfrey
3 years 3 months ago
I’ll try to answer this from the perspective of someone who has spent much of their professional life encouraging others to make positive changes to their health and fitness. Firstly, it’s important to realise that your personal perspective is not necessarily one that is right for others. Secondly, that individuals come with their own individual idiosyncrasies, personalities and reasons for doing what they do. If you don’t first figure out what they are (or at least have an appreciation of them) then it is unlikely that any lasting change will occur. As an example, in my professional life I encourage… Read more »
Gemma
Gemma
3 years 3 months ago
Sometimes, it’s better to quit than to keep going with something that ultimately isn’t good for the person involved. It’s all about what the so-called quitter really wants. If I was approached and asked for advice, I’d tell the person that now they’ve identified that there is a problem somewhere, they need to stop complaining and actually do something constructive about their problem. There’s always a solution somewhere but they must open their eyes and think for themselves instead of playing the victim. They are responsible for the choices they made, regardless of the reasons/excuses behind them. They need to… Read more »
Rae
Rae
3 years 3 months ago

I think, if I had the time, I would encourage her to team up with me or I would ask for her help just as she thinks it’s time to quit. I know that I am less likely to quit (or at least hold out a lot longer) if there’s somewhere there with me.

Tiffany
Tiffany
3 years 3 months ago

I would ask her to pick one or two things she wants to begin working on and then would have her focus on those things for the next month. I would tell her to not worry about anything else, just focus on building a routine/habit around these two things for the next month. Print out a calendar or some way to keep track and mark the calendar every day that you work on your projects. After a month, you can evaluate your progress and make adjustments, but commit to doing one or two things for a month, no more.

Cristina
Cristina
3 years 3 months ago
I would ask her about her last ‘thing’ that she quit, what is was, what was her goals, etc. Then say, “Well that sounds really interesting. I’m going to do that but instead of this X I’m going to do Y because that would be better for me.” Then I would proceed to hit it out of the ballpark all the while updating her on my successes and challenges and anything that changes during the journey. I would try to include her in the process and gradually (sneakily) start giving her more and more responsibility. If she wants to change… Read more »
Susan H.
Susan H.
3 years 3 months ago
NOTE: I’m having trouble with your assumption, Ramit, because the person posting never states that this individual has complained nor that she has asked for help. I’m a person who bores very easily and constantly needs new stimuli. While I’ve had a successful education and career (perfect grades, then perfect performance scores), I constantly explore new interests. I jump in with both feet, learn all I can, then lose interest, then stop. Before long, I jump into another interest. From the inside, it feels like “I’ve exhausted this topic.” To the outside, I’m sure it looks like I’m a quitter.… Read more »
Nicole
Nicole
3 years 3 months ago
Ramit, I can tell you what my sister would do since I have acted like the very frusterating person you describe. My sister gave me some advice just last night. It was not so much what she said to do as it was her observations of how I don’t value my past contributions in my former role as a wife and the years of dedicated motherhood. Her love and concern is sincere and she pointed me toward a possible career path that would embrace the things I value. With her as my tough love mentor I can’t continue to make… Read more »
Gui Coelho
3 years 3 months ago
Ramit, since I saw you for the first time at Creative Live I thought I have found the answer to all my problems. But your emails are increasing on my inbox because I want estou read them carefully. So I would suggest that you put some practical action so we can make things happen. I’ve been searching and my conclusion is that I’m a lazy guy who thinks he works hard. Haha the main problem is lack of energy and willing to do anything and I think the main cause is anxiety and problems with time management. I have friends… Read more »
Eric
3 years 3 months ago

You don’t persuade a person to do something they don’t want to do. Instead, you would encourage them to figure out what benefit they get from quitting. Our psyche always has a positive goal for us, even if it seems like the behavior is bad, or if it takes a long chain of behaviors to get to the benefit. Once a person understands the benefit, then they can work towards the benefit without the bad behavior.

I suggest Connirae Andrea’s book, Core Transformation, to get the details on the process.

Maja
Maja
3 years 3 months ago
Before assuming that she is a “quitter” I would try to find out whether she just loses interest in the things she starts. I can very much relate to that, because I was also labeled as quitter in some instances, when I just discovered that I don’t want to pursue that particular oath anymore. But I do sense she has a problem, a mental block that is stopping her; she is afraid of something. I would say she is afraid to be who she really is, find out what she can actually do; if you never try to go over… Read more »
James Lett III
3 years 3 months ago
Ask her why she stops turns away from ideas and regimens that are otherwise running well. You can give her all the advice in the world, but none of it will matter if you don’t learn what specific problems she’s facing and how you can help her address them. Once you know what’s in her way, show her one, MAYBE two things she can do to grab meaningful results (You’ll know what she considers a meaningful result by asking about her problems and LISTENING to her.) in a short time-frame – quick wins. She hits one or two goals, feels… Read more »
Kelly
Kelly
3 years 3 months ago

Find out why SHE wants to do those things.What’s her outcome? Gain a real understanding of why she’s quit in the past. Encourage her to brainstorm ways to achieve her true goal without incorporating the elements that got her stuck before.

scott
scott
3 years 3 months ago

first you need to understand why she’s quitting everything! Is it because she thinks progress is too slow? or the activities aren’t enjoyable? or someone in her life is discouraging her? or a lack of time to remain committed? or a lack of energy to persist? Once you know why, then you can hone in on what is going on inside her head that convinces her that quitting is the best solution.

Jean F
Jean F
3 years 3 months ago

I am certainly guilty of not following through on some areas in which I would like to improve my life. What would help me is someone who would provide positive feedback whenever I made a step in the right direction. For example, I have issues with clutter in my home. I formed a clutter clearing club with a friend who has the same problem. Whenever either of us does something to remove clutter, we report it – and then the other person gives a thumbs up and is inspired to do something themselves.

Pat
Pat
3 years 3 months ago
First listen. She may be complaining but is this a situation she really wants resolved or does she need your sympathy. If it’s sympathy, confirm you love and accept her just as she is and move on to what you enjoy as friends. If it’s about changing a pattern, listen some more. Apply the above confirmation that she’s okay as she is and help her determine where she would like to focus her energy for change. One thing only. Then ask “Would you be willing to do X (a single baby step toward the goal) for the next 21 days?… Read more »
mike mizzi
mike mizzi
3 years 3 months ago
If you love this person don’t quit on them. I see comments like “don’t get involved”….wow…that pretty much describes this current generation ( I call it the douche bag generation). Anyway….there is encouragement and empathy…..see what they see through their eyes and try to figure out a path of enlightenment….and let them know that they can at least come to you for encouragement and a game plan …to help them help themselves. I know I am talking in generalities, but that is what I can think of right now…. I am going through this with a friend who lost a… Read more »
judith a shimel
judith a shimel
3 years 3 months ago
influencing a quitter depends on the quitter’s personality. different people respond to different thing. some you can pat on the arm and inspire them with a bright idea; some you have to kick in the bum for instance … i had two staff members. both behaved as if they felt aspects of their work was demeaning. with the young man (a twenty something father with three small children who was very quiet)… i told him i read a story about a bank guard who became wealthy by using his gift of cleaning things very well and turned it into a… Read more »
Beth
Beth
3 years 3 months ago

Hm. There is something getting between this person and her goals.

1. Does she want her goal enough? Is it clear?
2. Goals are a lot like babies, aren’t they? As a “parent” to the goal, what does this person need to do to demolish obstacles and otherwise get the “baby” what it needs to thrive?

Heidi
Heidi
3 years 3 months ago
Suggest small steps (I very much like your floss 1 tooth today approach, LOVED that!) Suggest only Positive feedback. You worked out by lifting hand weights at home for 10 reps? “You’re going to be amazed by your increased strength”; “People in great shape start that way” (you’re part of a group), “You do more than I do” (comparison that makes them feel better), “it’s really going to look good on you”, “I can’t wait to see it”. “So you missed a day, it’s okay to miss one day, it’ll make you feel better when you do it again today”… Read more »
Steven Leconte
3 years 3 months ago
I have learned from reading your blog and buying some of your material that everyone has an excuse for not doing the things gs that they say that they want to do. However, if they start with manageable actions steps they can create new habits. In a situation like this I would help the person come up with a goal so small that they would feel ridiculous not to do it. It could be as simple to going for a 5 minute walk once a day. Over time I would suggest that they increase the amount of time they spend… Read more »
Sven
Sven
3 years 3 months ago
Let’s call our “quitter” friend Kim. Kim is really good at one of the toughest parts of the behavior chain -> getting started. As Ramit often writes getting over the fear of taking that first step is huge. So fear of trying new things and procrastination are not Kims problems. It appears likely that Kim’s problems are largely situational (not personal). She needs help on how to design a better path to make the behaviors she wants to perform easier. First we’d look at what triggers the “quitting” behavior. What happens just before she quits? She likely runs up against… Read more »
Jacob
Jacob
3 years 3 months ago
I would develop small and achievable goals, ones that are short enough not too lose interest but long enough to create a sense of actually doing something. These goals need to be a successive series of short term goals that may relate to something bigger than this person realizes. Just like training a dog, I know it sounds awful to compare a person to a dog but, a person wants to feel pride, acceptance, and knowing that they’ve done right by somebody. You should never expect a dog todo anything with out giving them assurance or treats that say “good… Read more »
J J Kosmac
J J Kosmac
3 years 3 months ago

I would encourage ACCOUNTABILITY by offering my mentorship. I would help her develop goals both personal and professional with benchmarks that move her forward, that keep her focused on achieving short term goals and give her a sense of accomplishment. Once the “ball” starts moving and she gains more momentum then she will gain increased confidence and success.

J
3 years 3 months ago

Help her keep track and quantify what she’s doing to show progress, and provide encouragement by “joining in” yourself.

A family member wanted to lose weight– so I put a calorie tracker app on her phone, encouraged her to log in her meals, checked in on her progress, and joined in by doing it myself*. She dropped 12 lbs in a few weeks.
(* or so she thought. I wasn’t trying to lose weight)

Don't call me Shirley
Don't call me Shirley
3 years 3 months ago

If I knew how to encourage a quitter, I would be on my private yacht in Palau feeling the salty breeze in my hair instead of reading self-help blogs and doing my shitty job for my shitty boss on a Sunday.

Sarah
Sarah
3 years 3 months ago
She hasn’t created the appropriate leverage or systems to help her take actions. For one to maintain progress towards the formation of a new goal or habit you need sufficient leverage either something very painful or pleasurable and then the right systems to ensure she will stick with it. Hiring a personal trainer which costs a lot of money would be a good example. It would be painful for her to waste the money by not going and she has already put a system (via weekly appointments in place to help her stick with it). This seems to be Ramit’s… Read more »
Deepa Daniels
Deepa Daniels
3 years 3 months ago
There is no silver bullet, but here are some things I would do. 1. Listen and give unconditional love and support. Find out what is causing the self sabotage, get to the root of the self defeating thoughts, why they have them, etc. 2. Help them to grow in self confidence. Practically, I’d find an area of their life where they are most likely to succeed, and give them all the support they need. Break down the bigger goal into many smaller goals, and tackle them one at a time. Celebrate each victory. The goal is to give them a… Read more »
Sarah Arrow
3 years 3 months ago
Okay working on the theory the person has asked for help here is my advice. 1) Go to the doctors, see if you have ADHD. Plenty of adults have it and work within their limits. Knowing if there is a medical problem or not is a good start. No medical problem: You’re just like the rest of the population – lacking in focus unless you really, truly, madly desire something. I suspect you’ve never really known what you want from life or have suppressed it for some reason or other. We have to be adults here; not everyone is going… Read more »
Heather
3 years 3 months ago
I would first ask her why she thinks she quits. We all have different things we tell ourselves about our situations and finding out her scripts surrounding that one may lead to a simple solution. One that can be implemented over time, or remove part of the block. Failing that I’d look for one thing that would help (not be ideal, just help) for her to do each day and ask her to commit to that. Make it so small and simple it seems stupid not to do it. Like Leo from Zenhabits example of committing to flossing just one… Read more »
Alex
Alex
3 years 3 months ago
This person must form habits starting with small increments. Help this person write down a specific, measurable, and realistic (small) goal that gets them closer to success. Further, have them make it public by socializing it to friends/relatives/internet—this will help change their psychology and make them accountable. Next, have this person identify all passive barriers that have held them back from forming the habit/activity they’re going for—Ramit had a good example about making sure your Gym Bag is ready and packed with fresh clothes every workout day. Help them create a system to minimize those passive barriers. Help them set… Read more »
Rachael Rice
3 years 3 months ago
Fuck goals. We’re not really chasing the goal, we’re chasing the feeling we want when we get the goal. The “goals” are often more about some external motivator (a parent’s dream, society’s expectations, etc.), rather than a core internal motivator. So it’s important to identify how your core desired feelings. Often the goal isn’t actually related to the deeper feelings we want (fitting into your skinny jeans as opposed to feeling less stress TODAY because you worked out). Then identifying doable steps that support the feelings you want to have, and making choices that support your feelings. Not the goals… Read more »
Ariadne Fay
Ariadne Fay
3 years 3 months ago

“is there something that hold you back? A fear, perhaps? You know when I was ___ I too feel ____ ” (sharing similar experience from my own that she has and telling how I can relate her, how I’ve ever been in her position so I understand if she’s taken back). Telling her this is not the end, and she has more capability than she thinks, then telling her past success in the area as a proof and to give a little push.

(p.s. this is what I usually did too in the past….^_^)

Rhonda
Rhonda
3 years 3 months ago
Sounds to me like she needs 2 things before she starts any endeavor. One, she better know why she is doing it and it better be something that actually means something to her. Whys of I want to be really rich, I want to look good naked are not enough. A why needs to get to the heart of why she is doing whatever she is pursuing and if it does not have meat she will never be able to stick to it. Second, she needs discipline. Most people think motivation is key but its not. Motivation wanes, it is… Read more »
Peter
Peter
3 years 3 months ago
I’m feeling like emotional abuse right now. What I’d do is skip all the mumbo jumbo about what to do and what not to do. This person probably can figure out that going to the gym again is the next step, or writing another blog, or getting up again. Any idiot can finally figure that out. The problem is what’s stopping her. This must be removed. There are a whole bunch of reasons why a person stops mid-sentence and runs. There’s no one reason and no magical way of solving this. This person might be sadistic, for example, when she… Read more »
Peter
Peter
3 years 3 months ago

Oh, another thing. The problem might be that she’s hanging out with toxic people. That’s a true motivation killer. It might be possible that the person posting the question is really that toxic person trying to get control of her. Might be sabotaging her success deliberately, or just being irritatingly invasive. So, one good thing to do is just to get away from them.

UlyssesUlysses
UlyssesUlysses
3 years 3 months ago

Lead by example and hope they see the results.
Other than that, I’m not going to say much here because I don’t know people who are quitters.

Liz G
Liz G
3 years 3 months ago
Love that you asked us Ramit! Finishing things or following through is something we all have problems with! I know I do. 1) Ask lots of questions – Why does she want to exercise more? Try to find out what is motivating your friend. This also might give you insight into why she does not finish things. 2) Praise what she IS doing. Praise the small incremental changes. Many people try to complete a big project and never finish. However, they can finish smaller projects which overtime could be even bigger then the big project they originally tried to finish.… Read more »
John
3 years 3 months ago

I would use small, incremental changes. Instead of goin to the gym 5 days a week for the first month, purposely limit it at first to one day a week with a journal of what they did and how they feel. This way we know when they get discouraged, and they don’t get burnt out. Thanks for writing your site. I can tell you put a ton of time and effort into it and I really appreciate the high quality content I get. Keep it classy, Ramit.

HH
HH
3 years 3 months ago

I would ask them “What do you find that keeps getting in your way?” And help them find ways they can overcome the smallest obstacle first giving them small early wins.

Tony
Tony
3 years 3 months ago

Two words: Man up.

RAMK
RAMK
3 years 3 months ago
At most times, I wouldn’t say anything. But when she hits the ‘motivation wave’, I will try to find out why she quits. Based on the reason, I will tailor my answer. In general, am advice to her will include the following: 1. Talk to people who have succeeded in the activities your friend quits. For example, she can talk with people who have lost weight, or become successful bloggers and ask them the secret to survive the difficult moments. That way she will know it from the expert how to tackle these tough situations. 2. Get professional help even… Read more »
Terry
Terry
3 years 3 months ago
We quit things because the short term “value” of quitting is better than the long term “value” we associated with whatever we are quitting. We want instant everything. So.. with that said.. I would appeal to the persons dreams/fantasies. What really makes that person go. If they had the ability to do anything tomorrow, regardless of money, kids, jobs, etc.. what would it be? To “sell” or to persuade someone means you must know what they WANT.. what they DESIRE? What they DREAM about. Once you know that; every statement you make to them ties back to their wants, desires… Read more »
Al
Al
3 years 3 months ago
She has asked for help which is a great start. It does not however, guarantee any success. Firstly, take the opportunity to discuss with her and try to find if there has been a trigger event for the repeated quitting, an early failed attempt or negative experience. Next, review her failed attempts. What has been unsuccessfully tried? What was the motivation for the attempt in the first place? Is motivation lacking in previous attempts? Encourage her try again. What is something she is passionate about and wants to do? Investigate the claim and ensure that she herself is determined and… Read more »
Anjum
Anjum
3 years 3 months ago

Key to understanding this is why she keeps quitting, especially after she sees progress. Self-doubt, perhaps, or her initial motivations are fear-based (I have to lose weight because I can be unhealthy) rather than positive/outcome/goal-based (I want to live a healthy life..). after identifying the reason for quitting frequently, we can find ways to overcome them. or try therapy if they are deep-seated issues.

Eric Landen
Eric Landen
3 years 3 months ago
Ramit- Your scenario is particularly timely for me, as just yesterday I was confronted with exactly the same situation from a family member who gave up too easily on a job opportunity. At the exact time the situation arose I didn’t respond with the advice that I felt that I needed to give because it took me by surprise, but that’s good because now I can have you and your community vet my idea on how to reply. Here’s what I thought I would say- “I know that you are discouraged by the lack of response and feedback from the… Read more »
Souraphong
Souraphong
3 years 3 months ago
There are many reasons why someone may be a “quitter”. For myself, it is a case of lack of confidence. Ever since I was a kid (about 10) I can remember when asked about something, I could not give a definite answer. I would always say “maybe it’s this or that”. This was pointed out to me by a friend of the family. Even today I some times avoid giving a definite answer to a question. I know lots of people who are very intelligent but for some reason fail to convert or apply that intelligence to having a rich… Read more »
Rosie
3 years 3 months ago

I’d go with Baby steps, focus on the small tasks. Or I’d tell her to quit, depending on my mood. That might trigger an “I’LL SHOW YOU” attitude.

Ryan
Ryan
3 years 3 months ago
I would first start trying to get this person to admit the he/she really wants to change. After all, a person cannot change another person; a person can only influence another person to change themselves. Once this happens I would suggest employing the Influence tools as outlined by Robert Cialdini in his book. If you can convice the person that they want to change, and that the pain of staying the same is GREATER than the pain of changing, I would help them to see where it is they are right now, and where it is they want to be.… Read more »
Marissa
Marissa
3 years 3 months ago
If I knew someone that’s a quitter… well, for starters, I’d be able to empathize. Although my boss thinks I have “remarkable follow-through,” I know myself how many goals I want to set & achieve, but wind up backing down on. It sucks & it’s frustrating to be “a quitter” …and I can’t imagine how much it must suck to be a quitter when everyone else knows you are one. (I’d verbally empathize, but I wouldn’t put it quite like that.) I’d probably start out by pushing the person toward B.J. Fogg’s “Tiny Habits” page. For someone in a rut,… Read more »
Mary Catherine
Mary Catherine
3 years 3 months ago
Ramit Thank you for challenging me with this potential case – The issue is that not only do I have a friend who has struggled with this issue – starting out strong only to throw in the towel – I myself have found myself in similar circumstances. For my friend – I recommended that we both describe what is her reality. Really get into the seriousness of what it is that is who she is and then discuss the “Why” of whatever the endeavor is that either she or myself want to accomplish. Getting to the core of the “why”… Read more »
MS
3 years 3 months ago
Obviously, “more willpower” isn’t the answer. At a high level, this kind of change requires making the Right thing the Easy thing or making the Wrong thing too painful to do. In this case I would go with the second approach. We’re assuming the person is willing and looking for help. I would set up penalties for not following up on whatever behavior and have a credible third party carry them out. All this would be spelled out on the front end. As far as the penalties go, they would likely match the goal. If it’s fitness, have an embarrassing… Read more »
Karen
Karen
3 years 3 months ago

1. I would look for her invisible scripts — Why does she start so many things and then find reasons to quit? Why does she think she should quit? What does she think might happen if she doesn’t quit?

2. I would then ask her what she would tell a friend in the same situation.

Kelly
Kelly
3 years 3 months ago

Such a difficult “mental barrier” to overcome yourself, let alone a friend. I think you first have to encourage them to take really small steps – as to not burn out, be overwhelmed, etc. The steps need to fit into their lives, their routines – so they don’t stick out of the norm, they get habituated into it. Coupled with that, you have to encourage thinking long-term. It is a life-change rather than a “diet”. It is committing to lifelong, overall wellness rather than getting a six-pack by next week.

Cholle
3 years 3 months ago
UrbanBaby needs to read this sweet IWT blog. 🙂 Ramit, how often do you get involved in the conversations you find during your research of the human psyche in action? If UrbanBaby came to me and told me that she really wanted my help I would have to start by telling her that I would, but that my investment is going to be minimal, she’s going to have to make her own goals a priority. I would engage her in a conversation to try to uncover her “hidden scripts” driving her decisions to begin, excel at, and then quit projects.… Read more »
Bryan
3 years 3 months ago
People like this seem to have spread themselves too thin. They try to do so many things and be everything to everyone that they lose site of what actually moves them. Where is their passion? I try shit all the time then I realize it was not all its croaked up to be ani wasn’t passionate about it. Perhaps I fell for the marketing hoopla, maybe I was railroaded into thinking it would be awesome, or in all likely hood I just just got lazy. I could only say to anyone asking for help that if it is truly something… Read more »
Matt
Matt
3 years 3 months ago
Advise the quitter to regard the behavior as normal. The quitter may be dedicated to finding something personally appealing and is testing the waters pragmatically. If she hones this into a system instead of randomly starting and quitting new projects and jobs, she may find a way to turn her willingness to change into an advantage. A neat way to do this is to advise the quitter to do more research /before/ she starts a new project. This way, she can decide early on whether she’ll stick to the process or not. To accomplish that goal, if simple advice doesn’t… Read more »
Mala
Mala
3 years 3 months ago
This person can do it, so focus on what they have already done, or are already doing, maybe they are walking to the bus, start little and build, and then help them to learn to trust themselves. Start with a simple daily practice that they must commit to everyday. Make it small but make it compulsory, something like 10 sit ups and 5 minutes of meditation every day. Eventually they will be able to trust themselves because they can see through their past actions of doing it everyday and they will slowly commit to more and more. This is what… Read more »
suzanne
3 years 3 months ago
I would ask her what she wants to achieve from trying out all the different activities. Both she and the people around her might assume that jumping from activity to activity are signs of a “quitter” but what if she is just figuring out what works for her? It may be presumptious but I would give her the credit of trying these things out and find out whether it pushes the right buttons, we must remember she had the choice of not trying anything at all. If not, move on to the next activity of interest and rinse and repeat.… Read more »
Farbod
Farbod
3 years 3 months ago

People NEED to be SHOWN actual results. QUANTIFY her/his progression, SHOW them that they are on the right path and ENCOURAGE them. Some people need outside motivational factor like a bet (20$ each time you don’t come to work out with me) or (200$ if you stay at your job for over 6 months)

Bruce
Bruce
3 years 3 months ago
I know Ramit is going to hate this one. But I would take that person that I love them. That I care about them, and that I’m there for them. I would try to empathize with them, sharing examples of when I wanted to give up sometimes, or times when I started something but never finished… Then I would gently tell them to not give up. Never give up. Keep trying. Keep picking yourself off the ground and try once more… The reason I would do this is because it’s the only thing that’s kept me going, and has help… Read more »
Keith
3 years 3 months ago
Sounds like the person isn’t realizing the outcomes that they expect as quickly as they’d hoped. Identify the small wins that they’ve achieved and then extrapolate those wins out for them to show them what the future might look like. When managing sales teams a yearly target can seem ominous and actually de-motives the individual, but when you identify the daily target and show what that will look like after 6 months or a year and suddenly they can relate. In this person’s case they may “see” the 5 year goal as the “win”, but not recognize that short term… Read more »
Camilla
3 years 3 months ago
What NOT to do: Don’t waste your time trying to figure out WHY she’s a quitter, regressing back into her childhood to find that one time someone made a comment that’s haunted her for the rest of her life etc. etc……Please. People think that finding the source of their ineffective attitudes will solve the problem – “if I only knew WHY I ate so much cake and watched so much TV, I’d be able to stop doing it”. No you wouldn’t. Take the focus away from the problem and become solution oriented – which leads me to – SPECIFIC ADVICE:… Read more »
Wen Nee
3 years 3 months ago
i’ll probably ask the person what she was feeling and thinking when she started on her projects. why did she start them in the first place? then i’ll ask her what she was feeling and thinking when she decided to stop her project. and if she’s open enough i’ll probably say something along the lines of “i noticed that you’ve done blahblahblah, and then quit when you start making progress, did you notice the same thing?” maybe it’s fear that’s stopping her. fear of failure. fear of success? if so then we can address her fears/ whatever reason she has… Read more »
dongiello
dongiello
3 years 3 months ago
We all seek experiences of being alive. The things she did and quit, were those experiences. Quitting them means they halt being experiences of being alive, to her. It’s the result of a combination of habit and lack of self esteem. Nearly always, that lack of self esteem stems from a situation where one is full of dreams and actually takes a lot of entrepreneurial actions, but is halted by the peer group, either by being discouraged or outright thrown down. Hence, the experience of being alive she was seeking, the dreams, do not feel reality anymore. It was a… Read more »
Brainst0rms
Brainst0rms
3 years 3 months ago
If advising the letter writer: KNOCK the little rah rahs OFF. You will drive her into quitting her improvement efforts. You are treating her like a 5 yr old but she is an adult and too well mannered to slap you silly. Assuming the person with finishing problems for my advice. I would assess what the person really wants and their style. Do they really want this change? Or are they doing it for someone else or have been nagged into it? If for someone else, cut bait and find something else that they want. Has the challenge gone away?… Read more »
Sheila
Sheila
3 years 3 months ago

Perhaps exploring why she wants to change, why she started the exercise program, blog etc in the first place, what are the benefits and costs of not seeing it through but most importantly what would life be like for her if she did see it through? How would she feel better?

gaboez
gaboez
3 years 3 months ago

i will tell her quit is fine
everybody is quitter
and probably i’ll tell her quit more often
if she start to blog,
I will tell for a week start to make quick & dirty draft just for 2 minutes
and then quit get rest and have some fun.
Next week write for 5 minutes

Eleni
Eleni
3 years 3 months ago

Show that you are disappointed.
There is nothing that makes people feel more guilty/realise their mistakes than feeling they have disappointed someone.

Then explain the benefits of NOT quitting and all the rest.

Dorie
3 years 3 months ago
I would try to find out what things in her life did she not quit because I really doubt she has quit everything. Then the question becomes why didn’t she quit those things. Was there something different about her approach to the activity? Was she more passionate about it or was it a more structured program? Is that something that she can recreate in the thing she wants to succeed in now? I would also advise her to only take on one thing at a time if she is trying to break this pattern. She needs to pick one big… Read more »
Trevor B
Trevor B
3 years 3 months ago
This person already knows she has a problem finishing, so telling her to stop quitting will not work. Instead, look for bright spots where she has succeeded in finishing and then use specific questions investigate what was different those times. With this info, help her craft scripts and actions she can utilize to overcome the real reason she is quitting. (Essentially using a lay persons version of solutions-based therapy) Specific questions to ask her: Question 1: “Tell me about a time when you finished a project without quitting?” Question 2: Follow up with, “What do you think was different about… Read more »
Philip B
Philip B
3 years 3 months ago
So much talk! So many offers to talk! When my car breaks, for example, and I ask for help, there are those who offer to talk, and those that grab their tools. Its those who are actually willing to move their hands and feet, not just their mouths, who are providing help. Advice is not help. Take the woman to the gym. Make a schedule to work out together. Or if you’re not prepared to offer real help, just say so. Recommend she find someone who is. After a period of working together, the woman will have practiced the appropriate… Read more »
Malia
Malia
3 years 3 months ago
“I notice you continue to talk about investing but you seem intimidated to start…what’s up with that?” “So you feel as though investing is challenging and only for a select group of people? Hm. I wonder what makes you say that?” Drill down, so to speak with questions to try and determine what the person’s barriers are. Honestly, it matters very little WHY they are a quitter. Good for context, but once you know why, then what? Get an action plan going. “I wonder if we brainstormed together on a way for you to get your feet wet with investing,… Read more »
Michal
3 years 3 months ago

I would buy him Seth Godin’s The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick).

Eva
Eva
3 years 3 months ago
She sounds like me – ADHD. I would acknowledge her realisation that she needs to change and then point out the things she does well. Since she is successful at starting projects, relationships, etc, I’d find out about her strategic goals, knowing she probably doesn’t have any. Since she’s a great starter, she needs to add new components to her “projects”, the things she changes often, so it will seem to her she is starting again or engaged in a project that can have a successful outcome. She seems to need the stimulation of starting something new, so she needs… Read more »
Daniel
Daniel
3 years 3 months ago

Working with this person to find some measurable indications of her successes would be valuable. Everyone gets disheartened when they’re working hard and not seeing the outcomes. Focusing on the great things she’s already achieved, prior to quitting, is how I would start.

Austin Mullins
Austin Mullins
3 years 3 months ago

They absolutely must set stakes. Let’s be honest, the feeling of being truly inspired isn’t going to be there all the time, so we have to make stakes to keep ourselves from becoming victims of our own psychology. For instance, when Ramit was working on gaining weight, he simply made a fake wiki page, then proceeded to talk shit, a lot. This was a motivating factor because now he faced negative social implications, instead of just disappointing himself, if he failed.

Malik
Malik
3 years 3 months ago
Here is my approach to helping a “quitter” First of all no one is a complete “loser” or “quitter” in everything. We all are guilty of quitting on one thing or another, but everyone has accomplishments as well. So my first piece of advice would be to make a list of accomplishments. These could be big or small like finishing school or calling a friend every Sunday. Looking back the so called quitter will realize that how much she has achieved and will help build self confidence. Second step would be to look at these accomplishments and figure out what… Read more »
Mike Brown
3 years 3 months ago
Assuming that she has complained and has come to me for help: 1. I’d tell her is to first get the mindset that she CAN achieve what she wants, but to divorce herself from seeing immediate results. You can only control your behavior (within certain boundaries), but you cannot control your results. However, you can use the results you get as feedback to make adjustments to your behavior. 2. Advise her that she is not broken because she can’t achieve this or that. Drop the label of “quitter.” It’s not a matter of willpower or discipline. It’s instead a matter… Read more »
Christen
Christen
3 years 3 months ago

She’s getting something out of being a quitter. Is it attention? Is it self pity? What is the payoff for this behavior? Her reward would dictate the advice I would give her specifically. I think the fact that this person has someone else on message boards trying to help her says a lot – the “quitter” really has people working for her instead of her doing her own work!

Annabel
Annabel
3 years 3 months ago
Well, I think I’d start by asking her if she thinks it’s an issue. Maybe she likes learning and doesn’t see it as a failure more like an opportunity to explore what she likes and takes her learning and applies them to other areas. It doesn’t really matter whether you consider her life successful it matters if she does. Then, if she said she thought it was an issue I’d ask if she wanted my help in finding out what her reasons for losing interest or motivation. I’d explore with her the criteria she applies in deciding what to do,… Read more »
Peter Himmelreich
3 years 3 months ago
I. Identify any underlying issues that can repeatedly sabotage even the most serious efforts: -mental health or self-worth issues (refer to counselor) -addiction -poor sleep -toxic environment (living with a bully/abusive relationship) II. Triage–Determine, out of all the possible long-term and short-term goals, what are the 1-2 most important changes which give you the most bang-for-the-buck in their lives now–including understanding what a good life is to their specific personality. (Usually this would start with exercise, self-worth, money, social/relationships, job.) III. Lead them into habituating those 1-2 key behavior changes into their life, through: 1. Coach and step-by-step walk them… Read more »
Ashok
Ashok
3 years 3 months ago
Its typical for someone who is trying to develop a self improvement habit to wonder whether it’s worth the effort and/ or eventually quit when the juice doesn’t seem worth the squeeze. Here are some techniques I use to trick myself for riding out the dip. Baby steps – break the task down into micro steps and achieve quick wins. Measure – you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Trick yourself – your brain is less rational that you’d like. Find techniques to trick it from self sabotage. Act – start now. Don’t wait for the new software or sneakers… Read more »
Lori B
Lori B
3 years 3 months ago

I’d start by finding out first of all what the persons core interests are. Clearly you’re asking them to fill a life of something they’d rather not do. Find out what they enjoy doing and try to find employment and hobbies around that. Happiness is quite important when it comes to holding down a job. Too many people out there doing what they hate just because they have to.
Just my .02

Erin
Erin
3 years 3 months ago
Since you said the person is asking for help/input, I would get them talking about it…what they have done; what they have done well; when they stopped; what was going on at that time; what kept them from restarting right away, etc. People not only have a fear of failure, but they often have a fear of flying! Once I felt comfortable with the information about the situation(s), I would help them regain that position and commit to something different this time, that could either stop them from derailing themselves or allow for course correction. I would have to be… Read more »
Peter
3 years 3 months ago
If they’re really a quitter, I should move on and find somebody I can really help! Tony Robbins once said that to motivate you need to change someones perception and show them the instant pain removal and the longer term pleasure improvement. So I would try and find their HOT SPOT. I think most people are just lost and confused, and that’s why most they don’t achieve anything. If I can show that person that it is worth changing, I believe they will find the way to change on their own. And that’s probably the best use of the 4… Read more »
Richard Doi
Richard Doi
3 years 3 months ago
Well, affirm what the man already has. Suggest change in a positive way. Instead of saying, “don’t be doing this” or “you shouldn’t be doing that,” try, “try it doing this way instead.” Consider what the man is already doing. It could be a low-end job at a restaurant, and I would affirm that as an achievement. I would suggest as a next step that he could invest in something, let the money be flowing in, passively. I am not an economics expect, but I think affirmation and positive suggestions are key things to consider in persuading someone to do… Read more »
Paul
Paul
3 years 3 months ago
I am this quitter. I do it for attention. Ramit, I know you don’t want the B-team trolling your site. I’m not trolling. Allow me to explain. I am a whiner. I have a new complaint every day. I can come up with excuses for everything. I want to change. I really do! I try to change. I bite my tongue and when I surprise myself by holding back, I tell myself, “YES! Good job. Do that every time.” But then I don’t. I don’t have the follow through. My life is good enough. (* a lie) I don’t need… Read more »
Paul
Paul
3 years 3 months ago

Having read all of the comments, and feeling smugly superior for trying out nearly every recommendation at some quitting point in my past, the following still resonate:

* Picture your future 6 months from now. What is the range of possibility if you quit, and if you don’t quit?

* Avoid toxic people. (ironic)

Dupe
Dupe
3 years 3 months ago
I know you! You send me 50 texts a day, some extremely long. You fill my email and voicemail bemoaning your worthless life and how nobody cares about you, even though a number of us have jumped through hoops to help and console you and to ensure you of your value. I have now turned off the chat on my Facebook since every time I went on for a quick look, you showed up wanting to chitchat about some new or continuing crisis or conflict and I never got to do what I wanted to do. I feel drained and… Read more »
Abhijit
Abhijit
3 years 3 months ago
The short answer – gamify her “program”. The slightly longer answer – We see that “she starts strong”. So this person has not problems getting started, eventually quits because her behaviour is not sustainable. Why isn’t it sustainable? Well, she might be taking on too much or she is getting bored with her routine or she is not able to sustain her motivation. I’d tell her to write down three things (low scale incentives ) that she really loves – her favourite cupcake, tv show, whatever – and a mid scale disincentive – perhaps at the start of her “program”,… Read more »
ravi
ravi
3 years 3 months ago

ask them if they quit b/c they don’t want to find out if they will fail after trying. if that’s the root cause of the problem then it’s not laziness but just plain fear if facing disappointment. after that’s been established then we can discuss how disappointment or failure is not that big of a deal – everyone fails at something at some point and they continue on afterwards

Andre
Andre
3 years 3 months ago

Carrot and stick.

Carrot => What/who/where you will be if you persist with activity. Successful/happy person, entrepreneur, in shape etc.

Stick => What/who/where you will be if you don’t persist with activity.
Stuck in same daily pattern, wage slave, fat slob.

Still not sure if one should use a 50-50 ratio 😀

I do think we tend to be too sensitive when trying to help other people (and our self…). Sometimes you have to jump-start people into action or else they won’t ever get going.

Cliff Samuels Jr.
Cliff Samuels Jr.
3 years 3 months ago
I would have her select something that she wants to do like exercising. I would have her go to the gym for and pick a machine or exercise she likes and have her do it for only 5 minutes. Once she has done this for 3 days in a row, I would tell her go go celebrate her victory in deceiving her goal of exercising. The next week she repeats this task but for 10 minutes for 3 days in row. And again she rewards herself for a job well done when this task is completed. We use small victories… Read more »
jen
3 years 3 months ago

Are the goals her own goals? Or is it a case of:
Concerned Person: “You should x” (repeat many times)
“Quitter”: OK OK OK (does x for a while) Now I’ve proved I can do x, but I don’t really want to. (stops doing x)

So my advice to Concerned Person would be, encourage “Q” to find her own goals, even if you (CP) don’t like them or didn’t think of them first.

Marc
Marc
3 years 3 months ago

Instruct this person to read “The Dip.” Some of the examples should really resonate with someone in that situation.

quintopia
3 years 3 months ago

1) Get her to commit by writing out a check for, say, 3-4 months salary to a person/organization/political party that she utterly despises.
2) Get her to set quantitative weekly goals (“go to the gym for five total hours”, “write 3000 words on blog”)
3) Monitor her closely to make sure she is making her goals.
4) If she quits (or quits earlier than planned at the initial commitment), or does not meet her goal for two consecutive weeks, mail the check.

Rosa
3 years 3 months ago
In my experience, there are a few reasons that people quit and they all relate to the feeling of failure (But, not necessarily an actual failure). And, for each there is a fairly simple way to encourage them. 1) Misunderstanding or the Mystery Factor (ie. Failure to understand content, instructions, etc.) When a person comes across something they don’t understand, they tend to skip over it and try to forge ahead. Unfortunately, the human mind is a wonderful problem-solving machine and hangs onto the unknown in an attempt to understand and fix the mystery of what they don’t know. That… Read more »
Paul
Paul
3 years 3 months ago

So I just spent the past 2 hours soul searching and came to the conclusion that my government job is killing my ambition and dampening my defintion of success.

Too much stability in being mediocre, and negative incentive for innovation.

Sylvain
Sylvain
3 years 3 months ago
Failure is a way of learning but she does not fail, she quits but she was on the good way. There is no reason underlined on the text or the “help message”. Her acquaintances seem to be more bothered than her at first but she asked for help. She quits and used to quit… to escape from her own success. It makes me feel she thinks too much, lacking of confidence, in the same time caring very much about other people feelings about her. 1 – Will I finally do it ? 2 – Will I be better than the… Read more »
Dilys
Dilys
3 years 2 months ago

That’s a lovely answer – you’re a very insightful person.

Mary Lynn
Mary Lynn
3 years 3 months ago
1) Unless a person is asking for your advice, don’t give it. So I wouldn’t say anything to this person. Also, if she’s a serial “quitter” and a constant whiner I’d want to minimize my contact with her. Life is too short to hang out with people who aren’t positive. 2) Realize that there are lots of people in this world who just want to vent and have someone listen to them. They want to be heard – they don’t want to change. 3) Anyone who wants to change needs to replace one habit with another. One way of doing… Read more »
Marie
Marie
3 years 3 months ago

Hmmm, assuming I’m an intimate friend with this person and they’ve honestly asked for help, I would ask them, “what exactly are you afraid of?” and branch off from there with challenges for overcoming those fears. People who quit are obviously afraid of something; most often, it’s simply the fear of failure.

Angela
3 years 3 months ago
First, I’d do some investigating so I can help her from where she’s at, not where I’m coming from. There’s something behind all that self sabotage that no one is seeing on the surface. So I’d find out…What does she like about blogging? Why does she want to make new friends? Where is her head (and heart) at when she gets motivated to start a new project? And what is happening (internally and externally) in the moments she decides to jump ship? For the purpose of this response, I’ll assume that she gets overwhelmed and discouraged somewhere along the line,… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
3 years 3 months ago
First, I would congratulate her on asking for help instead of offering yet another seemingly endless chat about how horrible life and everyone in it is to her. Then I would tell her to be prepared for my honest opinion. I wouldn’t berate the person, but some people have an uncanny knack for only seeing what everyone else is doing wrong and need to see their own missteps more clearly. Then I ask what she really wants to accomplish. “Losing weight” or “starting a business” or “get another degree” is usually only part of the real goal. And sometimes people… Read more »
Shanae Simmons
Shanae Simmons
3 years 3 months ago
OMG: this is me…. I have always been told I can do whatever I dream of. I am a Million Dollar Idea Girl. Every morning I wake up with a new idea, a new innovation, a new career path. I am queen of the novices. Though not perfect, I generally perform highly at most everything I do for having no prior experience. In this year, I quit hypnotherapy school, I am in the midst of quitting a women’s retreat, I start banjo lessons, which I am already going to renegotiate, swim lessons, tennis, voice lessons (before it started), and job… Read more »
Paul
Paul
3 years 3 months ago

… you don’t write code by meeting programmers.

Ericka
Ericka
3 years 3 months ago

A quitter is usually someone who is afraid of their own success. Right before they reach the breakeven point, they quit. I would suggest to a quitter that instead of aiming for the big goal or looking at the big picture, to create small goals, take baby steps, and enjoy accomplishing small victories. Sooner or later when you look down the road, you’ll realize that you made it to the top!

Christina
3 years 3 months ago
If you are continually not following through, you need to change your approach. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. 1) Be honest about the time and energy you are willing to put into the project, whatever it is. Write this down in a tangible way. For instance- I am willing to commit to working out 30 minutes a day four days a week. Or- I am willing to allot 45 minutes in the evening after work Mondays and Wednesdays for planning my investment future. 2) Next, make a detailed plan. This may… Read more »
Catherine Harrington
Catherine Harrington
3 years 3 months ago
I believe the pattern comes from lack of self confidence and conviction. Simply saying, “stick with it” isn’t going to work on this person until they get to the root of the problem. I’d say some counseling would be in order to find out what is holding them back. Work through the underlying issues, so that on the other side they will recognize the successes they achieve. Maybe being able to pat ones self on the back for a job well done will heep them “at it” long enough to to enjoy the real riches in the long run.
Rich
Rich
3 years 3 months ago
People quit for different reasons, but a common one I see (and do) is taking on too much at once. The person described makes a good start, and then quits right when an outside observer sees that they are making progress, which can be a sign of doing too much at once and then running out of steam. Willpower is a finite resource, and every new habit consumes some willpower to sustain until it is routine. Adding several new habits together makes it more likely that you will fail at all of them, than if one habit were added at… Read more »
george
george
3 years 3 months ago

if you don’t try how can you know if you can’t

Straight Up Talk Education
3 years 3 months ago
Hi Ramit, Great exercise. It sounds like a person who keeps starting and quitting at a variety of tasks has a core issue to deal with. Maybe it’s lack of support. Maybe it’s fear of failure, of success, of change. The reasons why are infinite. And they are different for each person. So, the best thing to do is to start out by asking questions about what s/he wants to do and why. But you often have to dig deeper to get to the real emotional trigger that is driving the desire to make the change or preventing him or… Read more »
Gail
Gail
3 years 3 months ago
I would talk to the person about taking baby steps. Start with a little tiny goal of doing one small thing a day or a week. I would recommend attaching the new habit to a routine they already do. For instance, if they drink coffee every morning, then right after the coffee they jog in place for 30 seconds. After they do it, they say something out loud , like “Yes, good for me!” Or whatever floats their boat. Maybe they could make themselves accountable to someone else. Or they could do like Ramit did and pay for a gym.… Read more »
Josh
Josh
3 years 3 months ago

Well it sounds like the person does not have a problem starting out but in carrying through. So the part where I would come in would be when they are thinking about quitting. Brute force will not work. I would try to find out why they want to quit. I don’t think I could convince them to stay or follow through…at least not for the long haul. I would try to get them to arrive at the answer themselves. That way they would be self motivated.

Yadgyu
Yadgyu
3 years 3 months ago

The best to deal with a quitter is to quit being friends with them.

I once told a “friend” that wanted to drop out of college that I could no longer be his friend if he dropped out. Eventually he dropped out and I stopped talking to him.

The great thing about giving up on people that quit is that you end up hanging around people that are not quitters. Winners want to hang with winners. Quitters want to hang around whiners.

Gordy
Gordy
3 years 3 months ago
Assuming she has complained and wants help, I would first try to help her find the root of the problem. Maybe she just gets bored and all she needs to do is shake up her successful routines a little (like maybe trying some new exercises if she’s trying to lose weight) instead of quitting. Maybe she just needs something to re-motivate her after the initial passion wears off. Maybe she needs to quit, but more frequently and on a regular basis because she gets sick of what she’s doing and needs an occasional vacation. I am not good at giving… Read more »
Nicole
Nicole
3 years 3 months ago
Is the person frustrated, bored, or something else? For the first two, here’s an approach that might work–get her talking and excited about how she got started, what worked, what didn’t, and then ask ‘What’s next?’ From the description, she sounds like a motivated person–at least at first, so some effort had to go into clearing the initial hurdles. Frustration and boredom occur when a person gets stuck in a pattern. To get out of the pattern, it sounds like she quits–drastic but effective. Focusing on that initial challenge/excitement can help regain perspective on what she is doing and then… Read more »
kevm3
kevm3
3 years 3 months ago
The key is to stop trying to force someone else to “progress” and be at a level that you personally think they should be at. Never attempt to live vicariously through another, but rather encourage them to take whatever steps are necessary for them to become fully responsible for their own life. People change when they get the DESIRE to change. A lot of times when people start something and quit, they find they might have enjoyed the activity at first, but it was ultimately something that didn’t captivate them enough over the long-term to stick with it. A lot… Read more »
Roop
Roop
3 years 3 months ago
If you know she is about to quit, you can do two things. If she is about to quit a class, or something you can participate in, start taking the class with her. After all this is family we are talking about. This will hopefully strengthen your relationship with her and you can even figure out why she quits. Two, persuade her to do the activity less frequently, but keep it up. Like Ramit’s posts, you have to start somewhere. Also, make sure she has someone she can just talk to, not someone that talks down to her and nags… Read more »
JustSmile6
3 years 3 months ago
Before talking to the person of interest I would have to think about why the person might be a quitter. I my opinion there are multiple reasons for a person to be a quitter. So if I really want to help this person which in this case I would because it’s a beloved person I need to get a clue why she doesn’t get things done. 1) One reason could be a lack of confidence. The person starts something enthusiastic but then quits after some time because she feels to weak, or not skilled enough to go till the end.… Read more »
Marjorie
Marjorie
3 years 3 months ago
I WOULD TRY TO GET HER TO GO THOROUGH THE STEPS AS THOUGH SHE WERE TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT SHE WANTED TO DO TO EARN EXTRA MONEY. WHAT DOES SHE REALLY WANT AND WHAT ARE HER FEARS. I WOULD TRY TO GET HER TO FIGURE OUT THAT THERE IS SOMETHING THAT WON’T LET HER SUCCEED AND THAT SHE REALLY NEEDS PROFESSIONAL HELP TO GET IT STRAIGHTENED OUT. SHE MAY ONLY WANT TO VENT AND NOT LISTEN AND SOMETIMES THAT IS ALL GOOD FRIENDS CAN DO. WE MAY WANT HER TO CHANGE BUT SHE HAS TO WANT TO AND ALL… Read more »
dante
dante
3 years 3 months ago

“follow my advice and fire your fucking ass, because a loser is a loser”

its nobody elses job to persuade someone else not to quit or live to their potential. all you can do is inspire by meeting your own goals.

Rob
Rob
3 years 3 months ago
Assuming that I considered the relationship to be worth the amount of effort required, I’d try a few approaches, but first I’d set some clear expectations up front. For example, “I can help you only to the extent that you commit to the process. I can help you only the extent you act on the plans we develop together.” To start, I’d help him work through figuring out what’s actually important to him. There are a bunch of tools for this, but having a written list of priorities listed by importance will help when we start to work through deciding… Read more »
Lisa Hoffman
Lisa Hoffman
3 years 3 months ago

Quitters loose sight of their goal. The goal seems so far away, it’s impossible to reach in this lifetime. Because they have always quit, they have never experienced the satisfaction of attaining the goal. Persuasion for this individual needs to be at regular intervals to remind them to set small goals on the way – one day at a time, remind them of the feeling of success, the benefit of success, encourage them to overcome the daily obstacles to their goal. They need to see, feel and taste what their success will be like, how their life could change.

Jim
Jim
3 years 3 months ago
This is a challenge! The first thing I would do is to treat the person to lunch / coffee / beer with the suggestion that I need their help. I would sincerely ask them for help with another friend, cousin or nephew, preferably of the opposite gender, that I see having similar issues. I would say “what do you think I should say to them” and would seriously hope that she would say “he should seriously get off his fat ass,” at this point I would have some idea what her self talk is. I would point out that that… Read more »
Alan
Alan
3 years 3 months ago
I would reply with this: “Well, you’ve started off strong on X, Y, and Z and manage to do it for a little while before you stopped. On the days it was easy to do, what did you notice that made it easier? On the days it was difficult to do, what made it tough? On the day you quit, what made it impossible to go that day? How can you avoid the the things that made it difficult or impossible and change your environment to include more things that make the habit easier to do? Also, for now, don’t… Read more »
Kim S.
Kim S.
3 years 3 months ago
1-ask them what DID work for them [in a specific situation]. I would get them to focus on what IS working in situations, and why, and how to re-create that success. (The underlying intention is to overcome the paralysis they are seemingly facing.) 2-use shaming (sounds harsh–isn’t) and social proof to get them to change small parts of what they are doing wrong AS SOON AS THEY DO IT, ideally…of course subtly this would be introduced to them. Maybe I am a mean friend? 3-guide them on changing just ONE SMALL THING when they go after something (instead of everything… Read more »
Casey
Casey
3 years 3 months ago
First question you must ask yourself. Do I have the experience to properly advise this person on how to make significant and lasting change on any area of life they are trying to change? If not, who do you know that does and could be a resource to this person? If you do have the experience, then try to figure out what is going on with this person and give them some advice. Okay, 2 Items I want to point out from Ramit’s post that several of the commenters seem to have missed. 1. Assume she has complained and wants… Read more »
HopeinAsia
HopeinAsia
3 years 3 months ago
Unless “Susan’ is asking for advice, I would keep quiet. Then, I’d make sure that she really wants my advice…by saying something like, “Susan, do you really mean it?” Then with enthusiasm and with words that convey I believe in her, I’d either set up some uninterrupted time to talk OR if the challenge is not a monster in a box (ie., do I divorce my husband) I’d suggest we tackle the issue together on the spot. There is something about other people getting excited about an issue and breathing some fresh perspective and positive feeling into the challenge. The… Read more »
Eric
Eric
3 years 3 months ago
My experience is that 1) we try to do too much to early and run out of gas, and 2) we set unreasonable expectations out the gate, fall short, get discouraged, and give up. Worse, often we don’t even set goals. After a few weeks of progress, we just “feel” like we should have accomplished more, get discouraged, and give up. What I have learned is that 1) you have to document where you are when you begin. Be as explicit as possible, including the date and the specific things that make you unhappy. 2) you have to set long-term… Read more »
Kimberly B.
Kimberly B.
3 years 3 months ago

I would ask what they why they started in the 1st place and if they felt that is still important. If yes then encourage them to set mini goals that lead to the main purpose, so they can see progress.If no, tell to find something that is work all the time and effort wasted on doing something they never cared about.

Emilee
3 years 3 months ago
For the purposes of our responses, we are to assume that the person (let’s call her “Miss X”) has “complained” and “wants help.” If this is really true, then the “encouragement” sought by the Urbanbaby query is plausible. However, before answering I want to point out that most “complainers” don’t really want help, they want someone to complain to (and commiserate with). If that is the case here, there is no amount of “advice” that will help unless the person giving the advice has a major amount of influence on Miss X. Having said the above, this is what I… Read more »
Nicolas
Nicolas
3 years 3 months ago

Hi,

I generally only ask question.
I ask these type of question :
-Why she wanted to do that ?
-Why she stoped (can be feelings, difficulties…) ?
-What made her quit ?
-Does she still want the thing that made her to do that (i try to go deep)?
-Is there better things to do that respond to her “why” ?
-If yes : How to do it to fit her agenda/energy/constraints/…
-If no : What can she adapt to prevent the thing that made her quit.

Sometimes i throw examples of solution to make he react.

Enjoy,
Nicolas,

Michelle
Michelle
3 years 3 months ago
Why are they a quitter? Do they not see value in what they are doing, get distracted by newer “shinier” things, or do they get overwhelmed in big situations, as examples? Talk to them. Find out if it’s a problem they see and want to fix. If it’s not, then any action you take is likely to be wasted. COMMUNICATION is the name of the game. Then ask if they want help. If they don’t, again, your efforts are in vain. If they want help, ask how you can help. If you want to offer advice, but they need a… Read more »
Stephanie T
Stephanie T
3 years 3 months ago

I’d start by asking what they’ve already tried, AND ask questions such as “why do you want this?” “how long did you stick to it?” “what all did you try to change at one time?”

I would also share my own experiences–failures and successes, since heaven knows, I’ve had both.

I would end with some SMALL action item, and–if they want–a time that I’ll call them to see if they did anything.

Accountability can be a great motivator.

Pam MacCollum
3 years 3 months ago
Hi Friend. I know meeting a goal you aren’t ready to meet is a daunting task. From my perspective I’ve watched you put your mind to something, make marked progress and then for reasons I’m not aware of, you’ve abandoned the goal. I have learned and through my own experiences come to truly understand Andrew Carnegie when he said, “Anything worth having in life is worth working for.” Your goals are difficult to attain. It appears to me that the reason you have yet to attain them is because you may find yourself unworthy of the goal. So, I’m not… Read more »
Dave . . .
3 years 3 months ago
What works for my son–who is 6 (and for me, at 30-something)–is 1) externally rewarding tiny daily success (I.e. a sticker on the calendar for every day he comes home from school having “stayed on green” all day), 2) frequently pointing out to him the ever-growing string of successes until 3) the tiny success has become a habit. The positive habit, over time, brings us to the goal almost effortlessly. I know it sounds hokey, but the same method has worked for me in cutting out nighttime snacks, making time for meditation and working on personally rewarding (if wildly unprofitable)… Read more »
Ryan
Ryan
3 years 3 months ago
Ramit you already know the answer to the questions you are asking but I guess this is a nice way to make me feel like I am part of the process of coming up with the answers. Yes tiny steps and carrots and sticks are all good but in reality every person is unique and while some of the motivation tactics work with most for a while, they won’t work for all since everyone has something slightly different that will truly motivate them in the long run. So you might find an opinion that majority will share but it won’t… Read more »
Matthew McNulty
Matthew McNulty
3 years 3 months ago

I would encourage them to visualize their future self. Say for example, imagining themselves 10 years in the future with a successful blog, a sizeable nest egg etc.

mike
mike
3 years 3 months ago
Obviously, this girl has fear and anxiety and issues that run deep. quitter is not the right adjective of her character, however it is what has manifested. I coach people like her all the time. And the way I handle it is to start to talk about the subject at hand. In this instance, I’d ask about the exercise program and how it was going. When she said she stopped doing it, I’d ask why? Is there a medical reason? By asking open ended questions and not making accusations, the girl will come to figure out her own behavior and… Read more »
Mukta
3 years 3 months ago
Firstly , there must be SOMETHING the person likes/loves/really appreciates. Secondly, using positive reinforcement… simply encourage the person and reward them for their efforts/progress. The more progress, the more rewards whatever it is the person likes. Concurrently, use comparison techniques and enlighten the person that his/her life isn’t the worst in the world. Illustrate with real life examples- starving kids, human traffic victims et. al. This way, the person becomes motivated and encouraged at the same time, and does more to generate the positive feelings gleaned from positive feedback which would help the person’s self actualisation, self esteem and basic… Read more »
Jimsey
3 years 3 months ago

I would sit down with her and discuss her values – what’s important to her? Then I would show her how to line up her actions with her values for consistency and improvement.

Mary Floyd
Mary Floyd
3 years 3 months ago

OMG! You gave us the answer: Change the xy coordinates to x prime and y prime… In other words, move on.

Brad McKay
Brad McKay
3 years 3 months ago

the quitter in your story seems to lack having a concrete, reachable goal. She should write it down, post it up at eye level where she can see it daily, and say an affirmation to herself when she sees it.

Catalina
3 years 2 months ago
I was one of these people, I have started a billion things but rarely followed through with any. No, I don’t have ADHD (although I’m sure many people thought I did… but I don’t and I have the paper work to prove it), I did not have something contagious, I wasn’t scared or frustrated and I wasn’t afraid to fail. I can’t talk about psychology but I can talk about my own experience. So, My experience – I would see things and get super excited about them and then go head first into them. Cake decorating, Awesome! I love cake!… Read more »
Dilys
Dilys
3 years 2 months ago
1. I would ask her to write no more than one page each on the last 3 occasions when she was doing well with something but then quite. I would ask her to write a very detailed account of her though processes at the point when she decided that she could not continue. . I would then ask her to compare the 3 accounts and see if she could see a pattern emerging, and to consider what different thoughts or what different reactions she could have in the future if the same situation arose again. I might also suggest she… Read more »
Betty
Betty
3 years 2 months ago
I am a “quitter.” I come up with ideas, take them so far, and then drop them. Sometimes the ideas are smashing successes, sometimes they are not so hot; I’ve never had one completely fail. I find that I just get bored and want to move on to something new. What works best for me is project work – things that have a clear beginning and end. This goes for exercise as much as job goals. If I’m doing an eight-week exercise program, I don’t miss a session. When I had annual fitness goals for my job, I’d make them.… Read more »
AB
AB
3 years 2 months ago
Well, I don’t know if this approach works for everybody, but I’m SURROUNDED by quitters, and here’s how I’ve been successfully dealing with them (when they ask for advice, of course. Otherwise, they are on their own): “Please choose one thing, anything, and do it to the best of your ability, until you are ready to quit and start other things.” In my experience, quitters are people with lots of ideas, so they start off in many directions at the same time, and obviously then don’t have the bandwidth to pursue all of them, so they keep starting and stopping… Read more »
Mil T
Mil T
3 years 2 months ago

I will tell them first that there is nothing wrong to take things at their own pace. Then I will tell them that by quitting they waste precious resources they have already invested. Then I will advise them to pick three things from their list and concentrate on bringing them to end.

Lauren
Lauren
3 years 2 months ago
The assumption here is that “I”, the concerned family member, am NOT a quitter. I can actually relate to this because I have a younger sibling who has this tendency. My experience is that part of their problem is immaturity but I also know that at some point they will start to turn the corner, as I did a few years ago. My tactic would be to spend as much time with the “quitter” family member as possible. Beyond spending as much time with the “quitter” as possible I would try to have them spend time with my friends and… Read more »
Akshay Nanavati
3 years 2 months ago
First thing I would do is ask her what she is getting out of keeping things the way they are. Everything we do, we do for a reason and we always get something out of it. Most often in a case like this, she gets to be safe by not reaching the heights of success, so there is a fear that keeps her rooted in mediocrity. I would ask what is the fear? In this case, perhaps she has a belief that success equals hard work, misery, judgement by other people, it could be a lot of things. I would… Read more »
Harper Rah
3 years 2 months ago
What if the client is hostile to being motivated by aversion. You just fucked up a great elicitation of her goals with batch processing her. YOU HAVE TO ASK WHAT SHE REALLY WANTS AND HOW SHE WANTS TO GET THERE at her unconsc level, or explicitly, MENTALLY TO YOURSELF NOT TO HER!! Life cycle, your role re her, how she is motivationally prepared for this endeavor upcoming, these all change- no formulae cover the tiny details that burn the coals clean. Watch the Karate Kid with her. We act like we know all about each other but we dont listen… Read more »
Amanda
3 years 2 months ago
I would first go through the things she has started on during the last month and what happened after she started, to point out to her what she’s doing and what mistakes she’s making. Then I would analyze what succesfull people have done/would do in a similar situation. Then I would pick out one thing that she can easily change and suggest she does that differently from now on. Later, if she has succesfully changed that thing and has noticed the positive change in her life, I would pick out another thing and suggest she does that differently from now… Read more »
Samantha
Samantha
3 years 2 months ago

I’d want to understand why this person continually quits, what the underlying reason is…the invisible scripts. I would challenge this person to keep up with one task and conquer the invisible scripts or fears that this person is facing. Often, with each fear you face, the next one doesn’t see so big. Hopefully this person would be smart enough to make the relationship between this one challenge and the next.

Megan
Megan
3 years 2 months ago
I have known people who do things like this, and I suspect it comes from fear. On one hand, some people fear success – they’re not sure how to live with the pressure of being a successful person, not sure they can keep it up. Or they’re afraid they’ll fail – if this person quits all the time, they can say they didn’t get fit because they decided to stop going to the gym, not because on some level they JUST COULDN’T DO IT. Finally, this person could be getting something from the attention their friends and family pay them… Read more »
Angela
Angela
3 years 2 months ago
Sounds like she’s running up against some invisible script.She’s got a ton of ideas, and is going on energetically – so why the quitting? Possible fear of success? Or the realization that she started out so strong with so much energy… that she thinks she would have to keep that level up indefinitely? The concerned friend/ family member could sit down with her and have a kind, but frank discussion. What *exactly* was going through the young woman’s mind, when she decided to quit each project? Does some pattern emerge? Why does she think this way? If Concerned is able… Read more »
tom
tom
3 years 2 months ago
Simple. she was wanting to lose weight I would first enchant her with what could happen “In 12 weeks be 20lbs lighter with my system, trust me you will lose it” she agrees I tell her I need her twitter and facebook password so she doesn’t get distracted. Then I tell her we need to take the “before” picture so when we are done she can see how much fat she has blasted off. Naturally it will be in a swimsuit. After all of that I lay down the law… Look, you have 12 weeks to lose 20lbs or I… Read more »
Helena Gouros
Helena Gouros
3 years 2 months ago

There is a core belief or emotional block that keeps the same pattern arising for this person. I would observe from a distance and then if I felt compelled or licensed to, I would have a heart to heart with them and direct them to some tools and books that may be helpful if they were open to it. At the end of the day there is my business, your business and god’s business. So who cares if that person is a quitter that’s there stuff for now. It’s serving them some how for now.

Chris Brown
Chris Brown
3 years 2 months ago

I would help my friend identify his/her “invisible scripts” that cause the repeated behavior. I’m not sure how to change those, I’m having trouble doing that myself.

Tom Krause
9 months 9 days ago
I once coached an eighth grade girls basketball team. One of my better players had a bad habit of covering her mistakes by asking a question as if she didn’t understand her assignment. If she was to throw the ball in bounds but forgot, she would immediately turn to me and ask a question. If she missed blocking the player she was guarding, she would ask a question. If she missed her assignment on offense she would ask a question. Every time she made a mistake, she covered up her responsibility by asking a question. Finally, one day at practice… Read more »
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