Why I Almost Quit, And What Saved The Day

don't get stuckA few months back I was down on myself for not making much progress towards my biggest goal. Every day I woke up and dreamed about what success would feel like. I worked hard too, so you can’t just play the “dreamer” card on me.

I just wasn’t moving forward.

Even though I’d been using the quarterback method for a while to help me get things done I was struggling to find results. It didn’t feel good.

I’ve been stuck here before, and this is the part where the questions start flooding in:

  • Am I really cut out for this?
  • Am I wasting my time?
  • Shouldn’t I be farther along by now?

Is it time to give up?

When those scary questions start to show up, you’ve got to act fast before they destroy your dream.

Luckily I had a secret weapon.

My secret weapon against being stuck

I’d been using the quarterback method for a while at this point to help me achieve my goals. If you’re not familiar with the quarterback method you can learn more about it here.

In short though, I kept a notebook where I intentionally planned out the three most important tasks each day.

There’s one important difference between this method and a regular to-do list. Using this method I write down a new list every single day. So each morning I’m putting pen to paper to write a new list.

When things go well, I check them off as usual. When things don’t, I don’t check them off.

And at the end of the day I put a line through the whole thing. Tomorrow I’ll start over with a new list.

The mystery solved

I’d been feeling down on myself for a couple weeks at this point. One night I was laying in bed thumbing through the notebook I use for the quarterback method. I didn’t have anything specific I was looking for, I was just killing time I guess.

I found something interesting though. Page after page after page with zero items checked off. These were days when I had written down the three biggest, most critical to-dos to get me closer to my goal, and I hadn’t done any of them.


For two weeks.

A simple perspective change that convinced me NOT to quit

At first it made me feel even worse. How could I possibly succeed if I can’t even get through a simple to-do list?

But then my perspective changed. How could I possibly expect to succeed if I haven’t done the work?

I wasn’t stuck because I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t stuck because I’d reached my limit. I was stuck because I wasn’t doing the most important work. I was wasting time on meaningless tasks that were much less intimidating than the important work I set out to do.

Mystery solved.

The biggest lesson learned

The biggest lesson I learned from this: always look for the why. If you’re feeling stuck and you’re struggling to make progress towards a goal, try and figure out why. When you know why then you’ve got something to correct. Don’t let the scary questions convince you to quit.


Are you stuck making progress on a tough goal? Do you know why?

  • Benny Hsu

    I get the same way sometimes. I’ll be cruising along doing stuff daily. Stuff that I think is productive. Then a week or two will pass by and I feel like I’ve gotten nothing done! What I have are a bunch of unfinished tasks that I’ve done a little bit for each. That’s why nothing is getting done. I think in the back of my mind I was putting off my toughest projects and doing simple but meaningless ones.

    So that’s why! Just putting off my hardest tasks.

    • Deacon Bradley

      Great to hear you say that Benny! Not because I wish your projects to stall, but because I see how you continually move forward. It’s easy to think the people around you don’t struggle with the same problem :).

  • Ophelie Lechat

    I have a last-resort list of very small, almost mindless things to do that will bring me a bit closer to my goals. When I feel like I’m not doing anything meaningful, I bust out the last-resort list, just so I can get some checkmarks on a page. It feels great to do something, anything, and it gets me motivated again.

    • Deacon Bradley

      That’s a great idea Ophelie! I like that it gets you motivated to make some progress – so true. Like Ziglar says, “an action will change a feeling.”

      – Deacon Punch *average* in the *FACE*!

  • Paul

    Good stuff Deacon. Being stuck I think is just part of life. If it was easy everyone would be in the game. Looking forward to more great stuff from you.

    • Deacon Bradley

      Thanks Paul! I’ve definitely been UN-stuck recently on a secret project I’ve been working on. I’ll have lots of interesting stuff to share as I get rolling with that I think.

  • Jan Koch

    Hi Deacon,
    thanks for sharing this inspiring story.
    Found your blog through Fizzle and I’m definitely happy that I read this article.

    As I worked as a webdesigner I was constantly struggeling to go on, simply because doing webdesign wasn’t my core purpose. Finding out that I’d rather start an online business through blogging and creating information products brought back my motivation and I feel awesome every day I get up :-)

    Keep it on, I’m looking forward to read more from you!