How to Know if You’re Ready to Quit: Journal Prompts for Clarity

I’ve been thinking about putting my notice in at my day job for a while now.

Long enough that I think my friends and family are getting sick of hearing me talk about it.

This morning I woke up three hours before my alarm was set to wake me up, immediately wide awake and reciting another one of my spiraling “fuck this job” rants in my head.

Another day in this soul-sucking job. I never get to do anything I want to do and I don’t have time to work on personal projects because so-and-so won’t stop dumping shit on my plate even though I keep telling him I’m overwhelmed and I hate working for him and I don’t get paid enough to put up with his bullshit and blah, blah, blah…

Composing my resignation email in my head, bitching about his micro-managing and condescending emails.

Endless negativity. Urgency. I have to quit this fucking job, like, today.

I feel it in my body. Tense muscles. Tight chest. Upset stomach.

Why not just quit? Well, it’s actually a really great job.

I get to work from home. The pay is not great, but it’s enough. Yes, I’m overwhelmed at times, but I’m good at the work I do and I genuinely admire, respect, and like my coworkers (aside from the one person I rant about) enough to voluntarily hang out with them outside of work.

It’s comfortable.

But the job itself doesn’t light me up and I’m so fried at the end of the day I don’t have the mental energy to do things that DO light me up.

So I complain. And it never feels right.

Like, I’m not *actually* unhappy. There are a lot of days where I decide to be happy with my job, and it truly works.

Yes, I said decide to be happy. It’s a choice. Your thoughts and feelings are always a choice.

So why am I choosing negativity and urgency and complaining and excuses most of the time?

How did I end up like this?

What’s really going on?

I look at the clock. 4:32am. Guess I’ll get up now.

I drag my ass out of bed, make a big mug of hot water with a squeeze of lemon juice, curl up on the couch with my favorite blanket and my trusty journal. I set a timer for 30 minutes and start on my Morning Pages.

What are Morning Pages?

If you’re not familiar with the idea of Morning Pages, here’s a quick explanation.

In The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, one of the key pieces of the 12 week program is a daily brain dump/stream of consciousness writing exercise called Morning Pages. Three pages, written out by hand, first thing in the morning. Get all the annoying little thoughts out of your head so you can move on with your day.

I’ve been doing this pretty consistently since the first time I started working through The Artist’s Way (January 2016!), and HOLY SHIT have I had some epiphanies on those pages.

This morning, instead of writing all the negative job-related things like I had been doing for the last few months, I decided to try something different.

I started asking myself questions and writing the first answer that popped into my head.

What’s really bothering me? I’m scared I’ll fail.

Why am I choosing to be so mad? Because being mad and blaming someone/something else is much easier than admitting I’m afraid and taking the leap anyway.

What would feel better than all this anger and negativity? Happiness. Love.

Ok, so if I’m looking at this from a place of love, what are my thoughts?

I want to quit my job and focus on my health and creative projects. I’ve done a lot of deep work on myself over the last few years and there are so many parts of me I want to share with the world. I’m excited to keep growing and evolving. I love myself and I want to see what kind of beautiful, creative empire I can build.

Interesting. I sit with those thoughts for a minute.

My shoulders relax. The urgency starts to lift. I breathe a deep sigh of relief.

I pay attention the rest of the day to see what other feelings come up. Throughout the day I feel free and calm and joyful. I get butterflies in my stomach at one point while thinking about my future and the things I want to work on.

As I sit here watching the sun go down, I know I’m ready.

I pick a date and add “put notice in 🖤” to my calendar. It’s not an impulsive decision at this point. I’m calmly, joyfully, lovingly ready to quit.

Sure, part of me (hello, inner people pleaser) is still worried about disappointing the coworkers I care about, but I can’t keep being okay with feeling shitty just to protect other people from feeling shitty. Honestly, I’d rather risk disappointing them than letting myself down.

And now that I’m leaving with love, I’ll be able to hand off my responsibilities with care and take the time to talk through any feelings or issues that come up instead of the, “fuck this guy, let him figure it out,” that I had been replaying in my head.

No middle fingers, just a good goodbye.

So, yeah. I’m ready.

Journal Prompts for Clarity when Quitting

Next time you’re feeling that urgency and negativity and desire to quit or change something, whether it’s a job, relationship, school, or something else, grab a notebook, ask yourself these questions, and find the clarity you need to confidently move forward.

  • What’s really bothering me?
  • Why am I choosing to be so mad/annoyed/negative?
  • What would feel better than this negativity – how do I want to feel?
  • When I look at this from a place of love, what are my thoughts?

Maybe your new perspective will mean you decide to stay, or maybe you’ll still decide to quit. And yeah, part of you still might want to tell everyone to fuck off while you dance your way out the door with both middle fingers in the air, but I’m willing to bet you’ll feel a lot better when you choose to quit with love.