10 Effective Ways To Quit A Bad Habit

Most of us have some habit that we’ve held on to for far too long. Things like alcohol, smoking, shopping, nail-biting, porn, or some other distraction that we’ve been trying to kick to the curb for awhile. The problem is that if we’ve tried to quit in the past, but were unsuccessful, then we no longer have the desire or willpower to try again.

We tell ourselves lies, such as I can’t quit, so we don’t have to try again. To stop that from happening, here’s why you should remove can’t from your vocabulary right now!

Alternatively, when we do try, we provide ourselves with easy “outs” and don’t fully commit to quitting the habit. If you really want to kill a bad habit then you need to give it everything you’ve got. You need to develop a never give up attitude, be gritty, and see it though until the end.

Otherwise, you’ll wind up in the exact same spot you’re in now. If you’re serious about quitting a habit then here’s a quick guide to get you there:

  1. Acknowledge the habit

    You can’t begin to change a habit if you don’t realize it exists or you’re ignoring it. Unfortunately, this happens all of the time. Your family and friends try to help you see the bad habit and protect you from it, but it’s as if you have a blindfold on because you don’t see it.

    If you’re receiving feedback from people who love you then most likely they’re trying to help. Listen to them. The first step to creating any change in life is to realize that change needs to happen. Start by acknowledging the habit that needs to go and that you have the power to do something about it!

  2. Find your motivation

    Often we decide to quit things because it sounds nice, or because our co-workers or friends are doing it so we think we should do it too. I’ll let you in on a little secret: If you try to quit something because of someone else, you will fail. You have to want to quit for yourself. If you have children and you want to quit smoking because you want to be around in the future for them – that’s motivating.

    Your motivation has to be something that is important to you and it has to start with you. Wanting to quit because your kids want you to quit or because your spouse wants you to quit will likely place you in the same spot you’re in now. Have a big motivation that is meaningful to you. Take this a step further by writing down your motivation and placing it somewhere you visit everyday to keep you going.

  3. Make a big commitment

    Having motivation is one thing, but staying committed is another. Writing down your goals and motivation to see everyday will help you stay committed. In order to stay true to quitting, make it public. Let your family and friends know that you’re trying to quit a habit.

    I find that by publicly stating your goals in an online community you have a much higher chance of accomplishing your goal for two reasons.First of all, you don’t want to disappoint others. And secondly, they will hold you accountable. This is the exact reason why I created the Laugh At Adversity community. To make your commitments public, hold you accountable, provide you support, and ensure that you reach your goals.

  4. Understand your triggers.

    What is causing your habit? Whether you realize it or not, habits don’t just happen, they’re triggered by something else. You buy things online because it makes you feel good. You smoke when other people smoke. You bite your nails when you’re nervous.

    Be patient when trying to figure out your triggers, but also be very aware. Watch yourself for a few days, or even a week to understand what is triggering your habit. When you figure out your triggers write them down so you can become more attuned to when they happen and why.

  5. Know what need the habit is fulfilling.

    Understanding your triggers and determining what need your habit satisfies will require some soul searching, but that’s the whole point. Your habit exists for a reason. They meet some kind of need and it’s up to you to find out why. Review the triggers your wrote down and determine what need the habit is satisfying.

    Maybe your habit is helping you deal with stress. Or helping you cope with feelings of boredom, sadness, loneliness, not feeling good enough about yourself or providing you with a temporary sense of comfort. Whatever your reason might be, write it down so you can better understand how you can fill your needs in a positive way.

  6. Create a replacement habit.

    The thought process here is simple. Create a new positive habit that can take the place of your old habit at the onset of a trigger. So the next time you feel your trigger about to occur, such as the need to smoke, go for a walk instead.

    The best example I can give here is former drinkers who join AA groups. The members who are the most successful are the ones who replace their old habit (drinking) with a new one (faith). You can learn more about replacing a bad habit with a positive one in this post.

  7. Change your environment

    Here’s a powerful quote from W. Clement Stone, “You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success – or are they holding you back?”

    Habits are often formed at an early age or from those we surround ourselves with. The fastest way to change your habits is by changing your environment. Join a community service group, join a church, reach out to an old friend that you know could have a positive impact in your life.

  8. Create a plan

    Take everything you’ve learned above and create a plan to quit your habit. Your plan should have your goal, your reasons why, some actionable steps to get you there and a completion date. If you need help with setting goals, check out this post. I also can’t stress this enough: write your goals down! And here’s why.

  9. Surround yourself with support

    Having people who support you in giving up a bad habit is truly a blessing. Positive reinforcement will help encourage you to get through your urges and keep pushing towards your goals. Finding one person who can be a role model is ideal, but if you can surround yourself with a community that’s even better.

    Some of us aren’t always blessed with role models or are unsure of where to find them. You can start by joining our community. Together we can achieve more!

  10. Learn from your mistakes

    Your mind can be a dangerous place if you let it be. If you have slip ups, don’t let them discourage you. Although they aren’t ideal, they can happen. The key is to learn from your mistakes and prevent them from happening again. Don’t get too hard on yourself to the point where you just want to give up.

    On the other hand, don’t give in to your habit to the point where it once again controls you. View your slips ups as lessons and use them as encouragement to get better. Use what you’ve learned to prevent them from happening again and continue your path to killing your bad habit!


Quitting a bad habit isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth it. The most important lesson to take away from all of this is that habits can be changed, as long as you want to change them.

Changing your habits starts with changing your thinking and committing to becoming a better version of yourself.

Your success in changing your habits really just comes down to how badly you want it. And if at any point, you need an inspirational boost to get you back on track go visit this article.