In personal development, sometimes I get discouraged when it comes to my growth because I view my current situation as so far from where I would like to be, that living my idealized life seems impossible. However, as I develop myself, I’ve found that each impossible task, such as being healthy, is a series of very accomplishable tasks.
The seemingly impossibility of quitting smoking can be viewed this same way. All of the tasks that help contribute to your escape from the addiction of cigarettes are, although not easy, quite achievable.
- Decide that you really want to quit
- Destroy Reasons to Smoke
- Create the Environment
- Wean Yourself or go Cold Turkey
This may seem silly, but it’s the most important step of all. This is where 100% of all permanent failures occur. I imagine the conversation in the failures heads is something like this:
“Deciding” to quit – “Hmm, quitting sounds like a good idea. After all, it’s not very healthy right? All right, I’ll do it”
Attempt at quitting – “Ugg I hate this! I don’t think I can do it!”
Eventual cheating – “Well I’ve already failed, so there’s no point in continuing. I can always quit later.”
Return to smoking – “I don’t ever wanna go through that torture again! Smoking’s not that bad.”
This is just foolish. There’s no point in putting yourself through torture when you can’t possibly win. You’ve never truly decided that you want to quit. Instead, your thought process should be more like this:
“I hate this! I don’t care what it takes, I’m gonna quit.”
“Ugg this is really hard! I have to remain determined!”
“I feel guilty for cheating, I’m not gonna do it again.”
“I may have failed, but I’m gonna figure out what I did and didn’t do to succeed next time. I know I will quit.”
As you can see, the first example was set for failure from the beginning. The second, although they failed just like the first, has decided to quit. The difference between these two is that #1 is never going to quit, while #2 will, even though they’ve failed.
To get yourself into this state of thought, read about the negative effects of smoking. Even if you already know them all, do it. It will only help reinforce your determination.
One of the most important things you can do is to determine exactly why you smoke. Often, people smoke because of the social pressure, or to relieve stress.
Smoking can be a very social thing. Perhaps during work breaks, you go smoke with your coworkers. Or you smoke when you go out drinking with your buddies. Either way, you need to destroy this habit if you plan on quitting. Imagine three months from now, if you were smoke-free, would you want to still hang around this temptation? I don’t think so.
If you are going to quit, you have to first break this social habit and replace it with something else. Perhaps during your break, you can read a book. Maybe take a quick smoke break by yourself and then go indoors to socialize with non-smoking coworkers. Your goal here is to get rid of the temptation. This is the same concept as see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. See no smoke, smell no smoke, don’t smoke.
The same concept applies to if you’re smoking to get rid of stress. Realize that smoking is a bad way to relax and create a better, more healthy way to relax. Try meditating or yoga.
After destroying everything that makes you want to smoke, create things that discourage you from smoking. Put a picture of a black lung from smoking as your desktop background. Print out in a large font “Smoking = Death” and hang it in your cubicle. And on your door. And in your car. And on your refrigerator. Change the pictures or move them around every few days, so you’re constantly noticing it.
Bet your buddy and/or your significant other $200 (or whatever amount seems like a lot to you) that you can quit smoking within a specific time period. Write them a check and put it somewhere conspicuous.
ONLY AFTER YOU’VE DONE THE OTHER STEPS, decide if you want to reduce your current level of smoking, or quit straight out. Personally, I’ve always been a ‘get it over right now’ kind of guy, but I’ve known several people who have had an easier time changing their habits gradually. If you chose that path, then determine where you are now, and smoke 1 less a week, or at whatever pace you think you can handle.
Even if you’re smoking just 1 cigarette a day, or even one every couple days, you eventually have to quit for good. Try quitting for just 30 days. If you can’t handle it after 30 days, feel free to start smoking again. When your 30 day trial is going to be up, this is a good time to make your bet to your buddy due. Hopefully at this point, you’ve broken the chain, and you’re smoke free.
I hope that this article has helped you on your path to break this habit. Let me know your progress below in the comments 🙂