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Sometimes Quitting is Good for You

We’ve all heard it. Don’t throw in the towel! Winners never quit! Don’t stop until you’ve achieved your goal!

But why?

Why are we conditioned to think that giving up is the worst thing we can do? Because, realistically, quitting something is often the absolute best thing for us.

This past fall, one of our kids started his third year of playing basketball. He’d always enjoyed playing in the past and had been looking forward to this season. The excitement didn’t last very long. When he was younger, it was all about having fun. But being older meant longer, tougher, and more frequent practices. It also meant staying up later to finish homework and very little free time on the weekends. His stress and anxiety were palpable. He was always angry and sad, and he wasn’t having any fun.

It was very early in the season and there hadn’t been any games yet, so my husband and I suggested quitting the team. You’d have thought we asked him to eat a bug. “Quit?!? I can’t quit! Do you know how mad they’ll be if I quit? I’ll never hear the end of it! They’ll hate me!” So, we asked him to just think about it and make a pros and cons list.

About a week later, he showed us a whole list of reasons for staying on the team and had only written down one reason to quit: “It makes me unhappy.” That reason was everything to his dad and me.

There are so many things in our lives that we must do; things we definitely cannot quit. Seventh grade basketball is not one of those things.

Think of the stressors in your life. Probably most of those are caused by things you can’t quit and situations of which you have no control. However, I bet there are a few things in your life that you could give up. Maybe it’s that extra committee you joined, the New Year’s resolution that’s bringing you no joy, or maybe it’s a grudge that’s been weighing you down. It’s okay to let go. It’s even okay to be proud of letting it go! “Throwing in the towel” isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of knowing our limitations and protecting ourselves. There’s no shame in that!

I encourage you to find the “seventh grade basketball” in your life and give it up. I think you’ll find that oftentimes quitters end up winning.

Molly Woodman

Molly Woodman is one of the Outreach Coordinators at The Kim Foundation. Born and raised in Omaha, she earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from UNO. Molly spent fourteen years as the Director of Admissions and Recruitment at an area private high school. Her passion for public speaking and mental health advocacy led her to The Kim Foundation in August of 2022. Molly manages the foundation’s social media accounts, sits on the steering committee for the Metro Area Suicide Prevention Coalition, and provides mental health awareness and suicide prevention education to the community through the Voice for Hope and Healing presentations.