The Mental Quit

For those who may think of quits only in terms of something major or dramatic (like jobs or relationships), I have a nice small mental quit I’d like to share with you. Last week, I officially quit doing something I only did once a year, but it was a significant quit nonetheless.

Let me give you some background. In 2015 I was asked to work as a volunteer physician at a music festival. I had never gone to a festival before and wasn’t sure what was involved in it. What *was* involved was a lot of camping and medical shifts that were so long and at such odd hours that it reminded me of being back in residency (for those of you who know what medical residencies are like, this is *not* something you want to be reminded of in any way).

After I finished working that festival, I vowed never to work another. However, when the same festival came around the next year, I was asked to work it again, and some perks were thrown in, so I did it. But one of the ‘perks’ also involved me having to work at a festival in Costa Rica, which took place this past week.

Now I spent most of the week reminding myself that I should be grateful: most people would love to be flown to Costa Rica and get to attend a yoga festival for free. But I kept coming back to the fact that I’m not most people, and I wasn’t loving it.

So I quit. Now you may be thinking, “How do you quit something you haven’t been asked to do again?” Well that brings me to a type of quit you may have not considered: the mental quit. In my head, I made a decision to quit doing festival medicine. I told everyone who asked “See you at the next festival?” a definitive “No, this is my last.”

Mental quitting is useful to prevent getting into situations in the future. If every time you go to the mall you wish you hadn’t, make a decision to stop going to the mall! If trying to find parking in a busy location drives you crazy, make a decision to quit driving and to start taking a rideshare service.

If you make a mental quit, it may help to share that quit with others. It may make you more likely to stick with the quit and avoid getting into unsatisfying situations in the future.

So next time you’re in a situation that you aren’t enjoying, and it’s one you can quit (as opposed to going to the DMV), then considering mentally quitting it. Because a quit entirely in your head is a useful quit nonetheless.

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