Why I Quit Whole30 on Day 4

Well, I did it. I quit my first attempt at Whole30…on day 4 no less. To be honest, it isn’t easy for me to admit that I quit something or failed to reach a goal, especially after only a short time. I am a 3 on the enneagram, meaning that I’m an Achiever; motivated by goals, have a hard time feeling like I’m not making forward progress, and fearful of “losing”. So, as you can imagine, New Years Resolution are my sweet spot and each year i eagerly convince my husband to put a few thoughts in writing about the things we’d like to work towards over the upcoming year while also reflecting on our list from last year. I love it. He doesn’t not.

And as a frequent and enthusiastic goal-setter, what I’ve learned is that there is strategy for effective goal setting. Goals need to be realistic and feasible and a good fit for my overall life in order to be something that I can achieve well. The need to compliment one another and be specific but also allow room for grace. For example, on paper, it looked like this month would be a perfect opportunity to start Whole30 and reset our eating habits. We have few commitments during the month, making meal prep feasible. We were mentally “ready” and overall just felt like we needed it. However, at the same time I started to meal plan for Whole30, I also started a strict budget for our family. This year, we are really committed to paying more on my student loans and therefore are cutting back in a lot of areas to redirect those funds. This, I found, was not an overly helpful thing to do when our new eating plan costs significantly more time, money, and effort than we are used to. Each morning I found myself overwhelmed by all of the logistics and having to think through upcoming meals (when I am not even a very good cook without restrictions). I found frequent trips to the grocery store overwhelming because we were eating much more expensive items and eating this things much more often. By day 4, I was starting to feel so much anxiety about the entire process and the ways in was causing me stress. But then I realized that no one is making me do this and my only reason for not wanting to quit is because of the shame that would come with not reaching a goal (that and the desire I had to say that I did accomplish something challenging). This is the quintessential paradox with being an enneagram 3, and something I am learning to pay more attention to. Don’t get me wrong. I thought to myself “I can handle this” and “If I’m super stressed, it’s only for 26 more days”…but I’m also realizing the impact that my own stress has on the people around me. I’m choosing to reserve that emotion for other things.

As I was making the decision to quit, I really felt compelled to share with others my decision. Often times, we 3’s are quick to share our successes and the goals that we do reach, but not often do we share when we’ve missed the mark. I don’t think I always set achievable goals or even goals that complement one another and when I realize this, I don’t often let myself off the hook very easily. The whole process can be very self-deprecating if I let it. However, I want to be known as someone who is transparent, vulnerable, and honest with others about my own journey and the moments where I miss the mark. And maybe, in reading more about my story, you will be easier on yourself if you find yourself overwhelmed by your own goals.

So, there you have it. I set a goal and a few days into working towards that goal, I realized that it wasn’t something that felt like a right fit for me at the moment. We will still aim to eat healthier and pay more attention to what we put into our bodies, but we will do so with much more grace and give ourselves the opportunity to start over every day if we need to.

Give yourself permission to re-evaluate your own New Year’s Resolutions and make adjustment however and whenever you need to, knowing that you’ll be the one most directly impacted by those decisions. Cheering you on as you pursue your own goals for this year!

Ashley Sider