We all have something to quit. It could be as obvious as smoking, overeating, lying or procrastinating, or more subtle like a job that just isn’t right. Unfortunately, change is hard. It’s all too easy to stay the same and without compelling reasons for getting motivated, your brain is happy to stay on autopilot, even if it kills you.
If you find yourself in the struggle to eliminate something from your life, you need a good reason to finally quit already. Here are 12 to get you started.
As you read the list, allow yourself to feel the discomfort of pain and loss as well as the pleasure of what’s possible. A reason to quit is only effective if it can generate a strong feeling.
Your emotions really do matter, and it’s up to you to create the ones that support you.
Here we go.
1) It’s hurting you
Whether it’s smoking, overeating or battling huge amounts of unrelenting stress, your body and health are taking a beating.
How are you suffering? Perhaps it’s bad teeth, shortness of breathe, high cholesterol, excess weight or an ulcer.
We’re all resilient by nature and can handle the abuse for a short time. However, if it doesn’t stop, you will pay for it, sooner or later.
The pain isn’t just limited to your physical body, either. Your mental, emotional, spiritual, relational and financial health are all at risk.
Thinking about these kinds of things isn’t pleasant and, because it doesn’t feel very good, we generally like to stuff the truth down and find ways to avoid it. However when that happens, we never feel motivated enough to take lasting action.
Your health is worth the temporary pain, so take the time to count the cost.
2) It’s hurting other people
It’s amazing (and upsetting) how often our poor choices affect other people.
You could be hurting their physical health or mental and emotional wellbeing. Second-hand smoke or an early death have an obvious impact. Procrastinating on that important project could be making the lives of your boss, colleagues or subordinates more difficult. Overspending and failing to save for the future might put a burden on your children that you’re going to regret.
Your choices also have an indirect effect by the example you set.
Would you want others to walk in your shoes, doing exactly what you’re doing?
You might think your bad habit isn’t hurting anyone else, but you’re probably kidding yourself. You have an invisible influence on everyone around you. The more you do something, the more others are likely to do the same – whether it’s smoking, gaining weight or swearing too much.
Identify exactly how your current situation is causing pain for other people now and in the future.
Raise your standards and stop hurting the people you love.
3) It’s making you look bad
Is that bad habit damaging your reputation? Is it making others second-guess your integrity, self-control, or work ethic?
Maybe it’s causing you to under-perform at work or neglect an important relationship to the point that it’s under tension.
It’s not healthy to put on a mask or strive to always be liked, but your reputation matters, and it might be under fire.
4) It’s squashing your potential
Fulfilling your potential requires that you push yourself to grow and take action when others won’t. It also means impressing those who have the ability to open doors for you.
Unfortunately, your bad habit is preventing you from honing your skills, stepping out of your comfort zone and showcasing your potential to the world around you.
The world sees you as less than you are, and it’s limiting your life.
For the sake of your potential, just quit already.
5) It’s stealing from your future
There’s a popular saying: “Everything happens for a reason.”
While there is truth to this statement, it’s often used to mean that everything in your life is supposed to be there. In other words, everything is ordered by destiny and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Here’s my own take on it: “Everything happens for a reason, but not everything is supposed to happen.”
Let me explain. Every word you say and action you take is a seed that produces some kind of fruit, either right now or some time in the future.
If you regularly give genuine compliments and perform acts of kindness, your harvest will be a better relationship. Developing the habits of practice and self-improvement can eventually lead to a set of expertise that advances your career.
On the other hand chronic procrastination, overeating, smoking, and sleeping in can all have a negative longterm impact that you aren’t considering right now.
What if a life-changing opportunity is coming your way in five years that will make your biggest dream possible? It will make the challenges of your current job or situation feel like a small price to pay.
However, that opportunity can only come if you have strong enough relationships, the right skill-set and a reputation for getting things done.
Are your current habits setting you up to win, or are they handicapping your future self? There’s no way for you to know exactly how life will unfold, but you can choose to plant the right seeds now for brighter days ahead.
6) It’s warping your self-image
Your self-image is on a loop. The way you see yourself directs your actions, and then your actions shape how you see yourself.
If you’ve been practicing that bad habit long enough, it’s likely clouding your self-image. You might believe that you are lazy, fearful, weak, stupid, incompetent or uncontrolled, but you’re wrong.
You deserve to believe great things about yourself, but it’s difficult when you keep doing things you don’t like.
What to do?
Step 1: Forgive yourself
Step 2: Start doing things that prove how amazing you really are
7) It’s limiting your thinking
That nasty little habit is quick to become engrained in the way you think about life. In fact, you may even be accommodating for it when making important life decisions.
- You can’t ask for that promotion because your work ethic won’t be enough.
- You can’t take that trip because you won’t be able to last the flight without a cigarette.
- You can’t apply for the new job because it would mean you can no longer have lazy weekends.
- You can’t move in with new people because your current roommate will get mad and you’re afraid to have the conversation.
Are you guilty of making poor choices or wasting good opportunities because you can’t see life any other way?
It’s time to get that monkey off your back so you can start thinking clearly.
8) It’s killing your relationships
Are others starting to avoid you? Are they becoming less open when they speak with you? Perhaps they don’t invite you out with the group as often as they once did.
The way you live has the power to draw others in for better connections, or push them away because what you do doesn’t fit their lives.
Here are a few examples:
- A bad temper puts others on edge when they’re around you.
- Pornography has the power to make your spouse feel like he or she isn’t good enough.
- Procrastinating impacts the ability of others to get their own work done.
- Telling “white lies” erodes the confidence that others have in you.
- Avoiding conflict allows problems to fester so that even small issues become huge.
Your relationships are important and it’s time to make a decision in their favour.
9) It’s robbing your values
We all have our own value system: a set of priorities and standards by which we live.
I like to think of it in terms of C.O.R.E. Values.
C – Categories
These are the major areas of your life. Each category has its own level of importance to you, often depending on your age and life situation. These categories are: Spirituality, Relationships, Health, Recreation, Wealth, Career/Work and Social/Community.
O – Others
Other people are powerful motivators for us. Whether it’s a spouse, parent, child, friend or colleague, there is at least one person in your life who you care about and want to support.
R – Roles
Your life is full of roles. You can be a son or daughter, friend, parent, boss, employee, pastor, architect, athlete, entrepreneur or gymnast. These are the things you do on a daily basis. Some may be done out of obligation, but I bet there are others that you deeply love and appreciate.
E – Expression
You are unique and it becomes evident in the many ways you express yourself. This set of values defines your standards and the things you need and love. For example, you may value honesty, persistence, transparency, hard work, gratitude, achievement, adventure, connection and personal growth.
Living your values brings a level of satisfaction and fulfillment to your daily life because it makes everything feel more meaningful. However, when you live in opposition to them, you feel dissatisfied because something deeply important is missing.
So you need to ask yourself: are your habits supporting your values or stealing from them?
10) Change is possible
You’re staring down the barrel of a problem. In this moment it might feel too hard to ever change, but have you considered that someone else has already overcome worse?
Consider the following people:
1) Nick Vujicic was born without arms or legs and yet travels the world as a popular evangelist and motivational speaker.
2) Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing at the age of 19 months, but was still able to become a famous author, activist and lecturer.
3) Viktor Frankl survived Nazi death camps and went on to develop a unique form of therapy, helping millions of people overcome difficult circumstances.
4) Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison for seeking racial equality. Upon his release, he chose to forgive his offenders and eventually became the first black president of South Africa.
5) Richard Farrell was a heroin addict who overcame his addiction and became an author and award-winning journalist.
I’m not suggesting it’s easy, but with the right conditions and an unstoppable attitude, change IS possible.
11) It’s not too late
Every day you’re alive presents an opportunity to do something differently. Even if you think you’ve done irreversible harm, you can STILL make new choices that begin the process of rebuilding in some small way.
Perhaps it seems like someone else has ruined all hope of better days and there’s nothing you can do. If that’s true, then consider Nelson Mandela again. He was a smart, passionate and ambitious young man with untold potential for making a difference in his country. And yet he spent 27 years – the primetime of his life – behind bars.
If I had been in his shoes, I would have walked out of prison feeling as though my life and potential had been stolen from me.
Instead, Mandela embraced his freedom at 71 years of age and decided to use his latter years for all he had dreamed of accomplishing.
If you want to quit what you’re doing and make a real change, then do it. As long as there is breathe in your lungs and blood in your veins, you have an opportunity to choose.
12) You’re worth it
The truth is you’re amazing. You’re a gift to the world around you, capable of making a tremendous difference in the lives of those you love, as well as those you’ll never even know.
Keeping your bad habits means settling for less than you’re worth. It’s a simple truth that we all struggle to believe at times.
It’s easy to get stuck in the feelings of low self-worth; like we deserve our bad habits and all the pain they cause.
If you can relate, then it’s time to shake it off. This nasty little lie is going to drain your motivation and keep you tied to the past.
You need to know you’re worth it. You deserve better choices, healthier habits and the future they will create for you.
Now Go Quit
You now have 12 new ways to get motivated finally make that life change.
So go quit already! There’s no better time than now.