It’s Not “Quitter’s Day”, It’s “Wavering Day”

Quitter’s Day has never been mentioned to me before until this year. The Strava App and the Shine app have both created commentary on this particular day of the year, January 17.

Quitter’s Day is supposed to be the day that 80% of people who’ve made resolutions or goals for the new year decide that they no longer wish to accomplish those goals for various reasons. The reasons can be various and most of them are BS. The 80% fact that people quit on a new goal, habit or diet is not just pertinent to January 17.

Why make a goal or a resolution? Why make it at the beginning of the year? Obviously, there was a reason why the goal was made. The reason had to be one that was so great, that an actual plan was laid out, maybe verbalized to family and friends and it was given great effort… for the first two weeks. The reason why is contextual to the circumstances surrounding the goal in the first place. Insidiously, the goal somehow becomes less important. Values change or become lost in the reactive way that life is lived.

Before I opened my Shine App today and learned about “Quitter’s Day”, I began making preparations to get back to working on my goal. You see, I gave up on my goal last week. My quitters day was January 10. I reacted to a life circumstance; contradictory to my commonly proactive state of mind.

January 10 was significant to me because I received a call from my neurosurgeon with the results from the recent MRI that I had done. The news was not good and that threw me into a downward spiral of anxiety.

The news: the discs in my neck are bulging and there are bone spurs that are narrowing the space between my spinal cord and vertebrae. The word “severe” was used several times along with the word “surgery” and “tests”. There may have been some pleading and denial on my part.

I already knew that something was going on because I began to feel nerve pain shooting down my arms a few months ago. This feeling is familiar because I’ve had the feelings before which resulted in a cervical spinal fusion with a discectomy. Basically, they took out the disc that was damaged in my neck and replaced it with a cadaver bone, then screwed a titanium plate to the adjoining vertebrae. The cadaver bone would adhere to the adjoining vertebrae. The surgery was scary, the aftermath was scary and the circumstances the 6 months leading up to the surgery were horrific. This is the reason for the downward spiral of anxiety.

After the call, I began projecting my fears and feelings from the past into the present. I also began worrying about what would happen after the surgery.

You see, the goals that I embarked upon on January 1st had just been thrown out the window. Or had they? Without projection and a bit of catastrophizing, my current reality is unlike the previous circumstances. I’m safe, I’m loved and I am more capable because of these things.

Yes, the pain is scary. Yes, the gradual reduction of dexterity in my hands is quite untimely…and scary.

My goals for the year rest upon my hands, literally. I have a goal to create up to two paintings a week. That is a lofty goal and perhaps unrealistic but it should keep me focused. I also have a goal of posting useful content two times a week here on The Wellbeing Connection. Again, a lofty goal considering that my hands should be busy painting. I’m also supposed to meditate every day and do some kind of yoga at least 3 times a week. I did not create a cycling goal yet for this year, and I certainly should have. But now, I’m truly afraid to do that because I don’t know what this year will look like now.

All of the goals that I created are first and foremost for my mental health. Meditating, yoga, bicycling, creating art and writing are some of the best ways that I can help myself. Secondarily, my art creates a small income. Yoga and bicycling create a better, healthier body.  January 10 was the day that I began to see all of those endeavors slide out of reach. In fact, writing twice a week slid out of reach the moment that the days were shorter back in December. When the short days hit, creativity plummeted and the article that I was working on felt incredibly overwhelming.

The timing is also bad because I typically relocate once a year, to live in balmy Florida. I flee the cold and dark to bask in the warmth and extra hour sunlight. I get to enjoy family life as well. If I must have any kind of surgery, my trip south will be canceled or postponed. In normal circumstances, this might not be a big deal. But, just like the list of goals above, the family, warmth, and sunlight are best for my mental health. I am given the rare opportunity to relocate and I am more than happy to abide.

Quitter’s day began a week early for me. I almost immediately began to think that I was not capable of creating art or type out articles. I already began feeling that my recovery was hard and the pain was increased tenfold.

But, when I stop thinking ahead or behind and take a deep breath, sit in the present moment I can I take stock of my current surroundings. I am inclined to proclaim that I can still use my hands, even if the pain is there and the dexterity is waning. It does take extra effort to type, a little more time to make my fingers fly across the keys without missing a letter in the process. I can still do it, and that’s a good thing! I am about to start a new painting project and I am unsure of what it will be like. I haven’t painted for a few years. I’ve left all of my creativity to colored pencils because they are less messy and I can erase a lot of my mistakes. But, I have a deep urge to paint. It’s probably a calling and again, I have a rare opportunity to do the things that I love full time. Therefore, I’m going to enter into it with an open mind and perhaps embrace a more abstract approach.

Quitter’s day is for those who are not ready to really make a change in their life. However, Quitter’s day is not absolute. We can have a “False Quitter’s Day” or a “Wavering Day” but let’s not quit all together. Unless quitting was your goal, then go ahead and make Quitter’s Day the absolute day that you quit.

Tobi D.

Have you had any goals for this year? In 2018 I created necklaces that could help to keep you inspired throughout the year! Check it out! Of course, this Zazzle store is an advertisement and helps to support this site and my goals.

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