5 ways to cease a habit which actually offers nothing for you and define a new image of self.
1: OUTLINE A VISION OF A NON-SMOKING YOU
Quitting anything involves a great deal of personal willingness to change, and as smoking is such a ubiquitous habit, envisioning a non-smoking you is an action that can work to have your back when you have quit and any potential troublesome situation arises.
Write down a paragraph or two on why you are quitting, consider how much it will cost you over the next year if you continue to smoke, and keep realistic to your future self.
It is important to remember that quitting smoking offers you amazing benefits, yet give your non-smoking self a chance to grow into a new life by not expecting to run a marathon or climb Everest immediately.
2: QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF YOUR CRAVINGS
You have given into your cravings so easily for so long that you’ve rarely questioned the craving or how it arose. It has become second nature for you to have a craving and light up.
However as you begin your escape from the death grip of nicotine, you will find that cravings come, shout, peak in intensity and pass.
Further, cravings even increase via the existence of sometimes subtle and sometimes obvious cues (from hearing a point-of-view or song you dislike, to an argument with your spouse).
One major tool utilised in 12-step groups that focus on recovery from alcohol and drugs is to write down your resentments.
So in the first month of quitting smoking (and whenever needed thereafter), take time to write down who or what is aggravating you in that moment, why that is, and what emotions you are experiencing.
Once you have done this, share your resentments from the day with a trusted person (this could be a friend, family member, religious figure or another person who is currently quitting).
3: UNDERSTAND THE BREVITY OF WITHDRAWAL
Withdrawal from anything is always made 10x worse if you fear it.
Fear of the oft-mentioned anxiety, restlessness and irritability during nicotine withdrawal keeps people hooked to a drug that offers no benefits at all.
The satisfaction you get from smoking is merely a relief from the ‘craving’ – it is important to see the trap here – smoking creates the conditions in which you crave, it doesn’t solve anything, it just creates more craving.
Research shows that cravings come at around 4 hours in and peak around day 3 (when your body is clear of nicotine). That is immensely quick. To think that only 3 days in and you’ve peaked! That’s a blessing of quitting smoking.
When you think of the turmoil you have faced in difficult periods of your life and quitting smoking, something that you’ve viewed as hard, can peak on only day 3? Amazing.
From here, any difficulty should last around 3 weeks. 3 weeks and you’re all clear and you’re facing cravings that will not harm you in anyway.
If you’ve defined a clear vision of a non-smoking you, free of an addiction to carcinogenic tabs that offer no benefits, you can easily outweigh any cravings and see them as your body, mind and soul getting free.
4: UNDERSTAND IT’S EASY TO QUIT
There’s a received wisdom that goes round weightlifting circles that when lifting a heavy bar, you say to yourself “I’ve got this, it’s nothing”.
The same can be applied when quitting smoking, only you have the advantage that for you it really is nothing.
By saying “it’s nothing” with regard to quitting smoking you are not only easing the lie that this is impossible, but you’re also fighting back against the systemic relentless brainwashing coming from cigarette companies with their careful product placement and cheap movie gimmicks that fool you into thinking smoking is somehow cool and legitimate. It is not.
Smoking is nothing, and by saying out loud to yourself “it’s nothing” for you to quit, you proverbially kill two birds with one stone: you ease your mind and you fight back against the lie that you need smoking, that it is normal.
This approach grants you immense personal freedom to look at what you’re told is good for you in fields beyond smoking also. It’s another blessing of quitting.
5: PICK A DATE AND MAKE A VOW
If you’ve already begun the process of quitting, great! You can still utilise these steps in your journey to freedom from the world’s no1 killer drug.
However, if you’re still smoking, take your time to ensure you’ve got a solid vision of a non-smoking self down on paper and clear in your mind.
Ensure you have a trusted person to share your resentments with, and ensure that you are ready to quit, because it is nothing and it is a short process.
Image: Lindsay Fox