It’s Time to Quit

What are you planning for 2018? Any potential resolutions floating around in your head? Any new goals you want to tackle? Between Thanksgiving and New Years, I plan out my next year. I look at my mentoring questions, my 2017 goals, review all the things I’ve learned and ways I’ve grown. Then I look out at my old 3,5,10 year goals. I put everything on the table, reshuffle the deck and I get prepared…… to quit.

2018 goals

This week is quitting time. Every year. I quit old dreams, old habits, old thoughts, old routines, old projects or hobbies. I quit relationships that no longer fit. Savings rates that aren’t meeting my goals. I quite a few things I love. Good things.

If you have done my mentoring questions (on the blog or those in my course), you probably have a short list of what really matters. What you really want life to look like. Things closely tied to your values, passion, and purpose.

But here’s the rub:

100% of your time is allotted.

100% of your money spent or invested.

100% of your energy spoken for.

What do you want to see in 2018?

Deeper, more meaningful friendships? A stronger marriage? A healthier body? A thriving creative outlet? A new source of income? A significant raise? Full nights sleep? More impact in the areas you serve?

Every single one of those will take 1. Time 2. Money and 3. Energy.

Ever wonder why your goals fail? How can new things thrive if we give them no time, money or energy? I get asked a LOT how I do all that I do.

Here is a short list of what I don’t do (so that I have time, money, and energy for what I do prioritize)

  • Drive a decent second car
  • Pick up toys (minimalism, baby!)
  • Own many outfits or wear much color
  • Water my front yard
  • Throw over the top birthday parties
  • Wipe down my counters/stove every day
  • Organize a bunch of stuff (minimalism, again)
  • Let my kids do a ton of activities while they are young
  • Bath my kids every day (Yup, weird, right?)
  • Wear make up and do my hair every day
  • Can my garden harvest
  • Let me kids stay up late at night
  • Own a phone capable of texting, taking pictures or anything other than making a call

So that I can….

  • Grow my friendships (call, visit)
  • Weekly coffee dates with my husband
  • Write
  • Attend conferences/retreats, hire mentors, be part of masterminds
  • Buy and read books
  • Work with a personal trainer, gym membership, eat real food
  • Vist family and friends
  • Travel with my kids
  • Take classes
  • Weekly adventures
  • Give money away

Maybe it’s quitting time. Maybe it’s time to take some things off your plate that require time/money/energy.

Then maybe it’s time to add.

I find that people fall into two camps. Those great at subtracting and those who excel at adding.

The most successful, happy, thriving people I know have mastered the balancing act. They don’t fear giving things up and they aren’t fearful of investing their time/money/energy into high leverage activities in areas that matter.

I get the fear. I grew up in a situation where “self-development doesn’t pay the bills” and the goal of life wasn’t thriving, leverage, abundance and compounding effect. It was: keep food on the table, pay the bills, keep the water on.

But friends, once we master: keep food on the table, pay the bills, keep the water on. Then we need to switch gears. We need to start building a life we are thrilled to be living. Not because it’s fancy or wasteful. But it’s on point. It’s exactly what matters to us. It’s a place where we are growing, flourishing, and doing exactly what we feel we were created to do. It’s important, meaningful, delightful and exciting.

Let’s loop back around to quitting.

I considered quitting THIS. Writing, speaking, mentoring, and all the other things I was mulling over for 2018. Because come quitting time, nothing is safe. Everything is weighed again. (I still would have run the Mini-Retirements Mastered course because others had committed, so I was committed to that.)

I applied for a job I would love. Something right in my skill set. Something fun, challenging and meaningful.

I asked a few of my email subscribers about all the things that were on the table: all the messy, honest, perhaps too vulnerable truth of what I was weighing. (Mentoring isn’t easy, and I deeply appreciate those who did the work of speaking into my life on this.)

Oh, did I mention the job had great pay, benefits, and was work remote?

Here is what one of my subscribers said, in perhaps the most counterintuitive and yet “absolutely resonated true with me” comment.

“It was incredibly perceptive of you to recognize the job could be a way to protect yourself from the scariness of some of the other wonderful and fulfilling but HARD and SCARY other options. You have so much to give the world. A job is for retirement. ;)”

Say WHAT?!? A job is for retirement. I almost fell out of my seat. Can I just unpack that for a hot second? Here’s what I think she meant by that. Translation reads: The boring, safe, predictable route is for when you’re about ready to die anyway. While you have blood pumping through your veins, and passion in your heart, run the race. Chase down the “wonderful, fulfilling, hard, scary” things. Because you have more to give. It’s not quitting time yet! 

So can I encourage you in this? It’s time to quit something. Free up a bit of time, energy, and money. Steal it back from stuff that isn’t your most important. And invest it. Pour it into the “wonderful, fulfilling, hard and scary” things.

I don’t care if you can only steal back one hour a week and $100 or if you have 10 hours a week and $1500.

It’s quitting time.

Because 2018 is going to be our year. The year we take ground on what matters. We might take it inch by inch, but we’ll take it.

Review the mentoring questions:

Be, Have, Do

Ideal Day, Week, Year

Feel Rich

Reshuffle the deck and get ready to quit a few things.


PS As a New Years gift to my subscribers, I’m going to be sending out my “Conversation Life Planning Sheets”. These are a simple one-page list of conversation questions you can take out to dinner or on a long walk with a spouse, friend or sister. They will help you talk through three different mentoring questions.

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49 thoughts on “It’s Time to Quit

  1. I LOVE this! It’s so timely for my own life, but it’s also brave of you to run counter to the running ethos of this FI community and come full circle with traditional employment again.

    Life isn’t linear, nor is anything intended to last forever. The beauty of FI is choice. That’s it. I’m inspired to see you chose what lights you up.

    I hope you get the job!!!

    • Nothing is forever, that is for sure! Although, even though I applied for what is a very cool job, I think it’s a hard no right now. There are a few things that are so blasting exciting that I want to tackle in 2018. Things I want to grow into and give them a chance. There is some stuff I just haven’t tried yet, things I haven’t built yet and a new focus I want to lean into.

      Normally when I plan my year, I plot out each quarter. This year, I’m actually only going to plan Q1 and Q2. Then I’m going to reshuffle the deck again midyear and see what rises to the top.

  2. I’ve never been great at planning a whole year out. Things change too much, I change too much, life happens. I plan on some yearlong goals, like save $XX per month or hit $XX in savings/investment, or be more present – like for real damnit, be more present! I slip out of being present way too easily. It makes me wonder if i’m going senile or have early onset dementia sometimes, its just so easy to drift out of the present into wherever my head takes me.

    I’m an excellent subtractor, but not so great at adding things in. Well, i add lots in and then it’s too much and then it all goes pear shaped and I subtract it all out to get back to happy/normal/sustainable life mode. 🙂

    At least you’re set up so you can choose to work or not work, focus on passion or “get a job” or keep doing what’s scary, unpredictable, and freaking awesome at the same time. Lot of bravery in setting yourself up with choices and trying out the scary ones.

    Good luck!

    • So I talk to a lot of people. All the time. And here is the really weird thing. Getting to a spot where they have more choices isn’t the hard part. I know that sounds lame. But it’s true. It’s making the scary choices that trip people up. Upping a 401k contribution is almost easy compared to stepping away from a job, taking a class, hiring a mentor, going to a conference, writing something honest, branching out, starting a business.

      Adam spent 10 years in the military and I’ve seen more early retirements “fail” than I have ever seen go well. We like to think, “if I figure out the money stuff, the rest will be easy.” But it’s not easy. Ever.

  3. I like this “when it’s quitting time, nothing is safe”. That’s a great perspective to have. There are certain hobbies or things that I’ve been doing so long that at this point I’m not so sure I’m getting the same value out of them. Perhaps I need to do an inventory and see what can be chopped, at least an an experiment.

    Great post!

    • We have totally done that as a 1-year pause. Like owning ducks. I love them SO much. They are my fav! But not this year. 100% YES in the future. But not now. I bought back 30 minutes a day when we gave them away.

  4. Each year in our lives should see growth in some way. It doesn’t matter if it means quitting a job, starting a new job, giving up on old friends, making new friends. Growth requires change. Staying the same is boring and who wants that!

  5. I love this post so much! I’ve always been good at quitting things that stop serving me. I have a lot of projects I’m working on but I noticed that I didn’t have the energy or vitality necessary to thrive with them. So I started playing really close attention to what was happening in my perspective and energy levels throughout the day and I noticed that the cleanliness of my environment (house) was derailing me by making me feel like it was an insurmountable repeating task. So I’m quitting cleaning and hiring a housekeeping team to come once a week to keep my environment clean. That way I can focus on my family, cooking and money making passion projects. They’ve come once and it was a big game changer. It felt good to be able to quit that responsibility. I can already see the shift in time and energy throughout the day.

    • That is very perceptive. I have seriously considered getting a housekeeper again many times. Maybe in 2018! It not only takes time away from more important tasks, but it steals my energy. And when it’s not done, it’s a huge distraction for me beings I’m working at home most days.

  6. Great post! I have quit allowing appointments scatter my morning calendar. I was going to the Chiropractor twice a week at random times. It really threw off my days. Now, I say I’m not available until after 11am. This way we get the girls to school, Chris and I have a coffee date from 8-9am and then I’m off to the gym. If I don’t make working out a part of my morning, it doesn’t happen. And I really want to get back into a good exercise routine!

    • Oh, I time block everything! I’ll make an exception, but it is the exception, not the rule. There are so many moving pieces with kids, that my focused time gets broken into a 100 tiny pieces.

  7. “A Job Is For Retirement” – Wow, what a great concept. Jillian, I am totally impressed by your annual process. I do nothing nearly as formal, but you’re motivating me to give it a try. Great post, as always! Can’t wait to hear what you decided to Do & Quit in 2018!

    • I’m really excited about 2018 too! I had planned this mini-retirement to be a chance to double down, but it’s taken us places I never expected. So it will be fun to see what other unexpected things lie ahead. =)

  8. Wow, this one got me, Jillian. I often struggle with this… I really enjoy my job and the work. But I also enjoy the “security blanket” that comes from a well paying job with benefits and flexibility. Right now, it still makes a lot of sense for me to keep going, but this post made me pause.

    And I knew I liked you for a reason at FinCon 😉 I also do not bathe my son daily, wipe counters daily, wear makeup/do my hair, or throw crazy b-days… and I’m happier for it!

    Thank you for the thought provoking post. I find your writing truly inspiring and your posts always make me dig deep. Merry Christmas and here’s to lots of snow in Montana!

    • I like you too lady! =) For the record, I’ve never pulled that one-liner on anyone else!!! 😉 I would say quit what you can quit. It’s not all or nothing. I might be the craziest PF blogger here, but maybe it’s simply scaling back a savings rate to make space for something else even better. If you had 4 days and $1500 to do/build/create/image/experience something, what would it be? We pull back the mediocre inch by inch.

  9. I recently realized my best, most creative time is in the morning right after my daughter leaves for school. Yet for some reason, I always found myself doing the NEVER ENDING house work during that time. I just recently realized I need to quit giving that stuff priority. Because really, within reason, no one will remember if there were dust bunnies or not in 20 years. That is not my life’s work. I’m going to quit using high value time for low value activities.
    Ruthless prioritization in 2018!

    • That is not my life’s work. YES! Give your life’s work your first and best. Leftovers get leftovers. You should see my laundry pile! When life is awesome and I’m racing and creating and celebrating and building and experiencing…my laundry is a BIG mess. I wish it were always a mess. =)

    • Be brutal on that quit list! I think of it as wagering a bet. How “all in” am I willing to go? Will I only give up easy, simple things. Or will I push the chips in with both hands. My quit list is a direct reflection of my commitment. =)

    • Leave it to my awesome readers to come up with that gem! But how true. When life is full of passion, excitement, challenge, and growth, well that is life. I like rest and catching my breath. But if that is all life is, it’s about time to check out.

  10. I always get excited for planning for a new year, but I am much more likely to add than subtract. I’m still working on the idea that quitting does not equal failing. I used to force myself to finish a book even if I wasn’t enjoying it and I’ve finally let go of that habit. Baby steps!

    • Yes, baby steps. I almost never use the word failure anymore. I’m just testing everything. I’m trying things out. I’m experimenting and trying to learn something. And I’ll pivot. 100 times. Like my dog trying to find the right pillow to sleep on. =)

  11. You must know, Jillian, that this post stopped me in my tracks. I read it last week and wanted to comment, your insight was so perception-changing. But your words got my brain churning so hard that I found that I couldn’t respond immediately. I needed to think — really think.

    “The boring, safe, predictable route is for when you’re about ready to die anyway” — that got me. I walk that route. I’ve walked it for nearly a decade. My feet were put on that path once I was saddled with decidedly not-glamorous health issues that can only be mitigated, not cured (save by a miracle). Already painfully goal-oriented, I became hyper-responsible in the face of my illness and have had to maintain that unforgiving, line-walking mentality. I’ve paid off my student loans, put my husband through college debt-free (with some help from the magical G.I. Bill), and am well on my way to paying off our mortgage early — all on a single income that makes people wonder how we manage as well as we do.

    But at this point I’m not sure whether I’m just being responsible or honestly living like I’m about to die.

    I want to quit fear in 2018. I want to really live. But in my case, what does “really living” look like? I’ve been so responsible, so focused on surviving that I haven’t had much mental/emotional room for dreams — especially dreams that could be derailed by an illness relapse or flareup. Like, even if I had the freedom to quit my job and not worry about insurance… I don’t really know what I would do.

    “[G]rowing, flourishing, and doing exactly what [I] feel [I was] created to do” would be fantastic, though.

    When you are shackled to the 8-to-5(-and-usually-later), how do you dream? How do you make space for what you know is important (e.g., family, faith, friends, fitness) when you have a duty to the employer that helps you keep food in the fridge and the insurance that keeps you from going under financially when you’re in the ER twice in as many weeks? How do you balance that?

    I haven’t come up with any concrete answers yet. But I do have to thank you for your words and thoughts and for sharing them. I’ll be thinking on this for quite a while. <3

    • Feel free to shot me an email so we can chat more offline. But having spent a lot of time in that space, here is what I suggest. Steal back anything you can and start right where you are. Maybe it’s 4 hours on a Sunday. Maybe it’s giving up tv or Facebook for new books. Maybe it’s trading eating out for one or two months to take a class or course. You don’t need to jump into the deep end to make progress, you just need to start. Much love!

  12. When I saw the headline that says Ït’s time to quit”. My mind was fixed on reading about things like story of quitting a job. But your approach was totally different. I like the way you approached the topic. What a nice article.

  13. Great post!

    I am definitely guilty of hanging on to things that I should’ve let go long ago. I am most guilty of holding on to friendships that just don’t need to be in my life anymore. Nobody’s fault, it’s just a waste of resourceful time and energy trying to keep a relationship alive that simply isn’t their anymore!

    I will definitely be taking this advice into 2018!

    • It’s SO hard for me to move on. My there is only so much space in my life, and some relationships are just white noise. It’s not really working for either person. I always start with fb. My general rule is: If I am traveling through town and have an extra hour, would I stop and meet this person for coffee? If the answer is no, we aren’t really friends. So I unfriend them. It keeps a curated list of people I really do want in my life. Then real life becomes an extension of that.

  14. Great post. Last year we quit home ownership of a too large, older house. We downsized about 1/3 of our belongings and paid off remaining debt, mostly student loans. Months later and it still feels great. Hoping this year I’ll be able to quit my job to start working on the things I want to do.

  15. Thank you so much for this post. The last 3 months of 2017 my wife and I really struggled with the fact we were spending more time doing things we didn’t really want to do and never had time to do the things we want to do.

    We’re starting our 2018 making our 2 lists like you have above so we can stop doing things that don’t really matter to us, so we can start doing the things that truly make us happiness.

    This is just the post we needed.