Quitting smoking requires deep personal motivation. Many smokers smoke because they like it, and they are “turned off” by moralistic attempts to make them want to quit. Often, such attempts just make a smoker want to smoke. But it is a rare smoker who is not aware of the ramifications of continued cigarette or cigar use, not only to himself but to the people around him, including his children.
The problem is, cigarettes will kill you eventually, and will make your life miserable when you are older, but they usually won’t kill you today. Today, when you have had a stressful session with an irate customer, or an argument with your wife, a cigarette will make your life seem better. So there are many smokers who want to quit, and are highly motivated to quit tomorrow.
After all, if he quits tomorrow, then he will have practically the same amount of time for himself and his loved ones to recover, and it will make no difference statiscally if he quits tomorrow or if he quits today. And if he quits tomorrow, then he can enjoy all the cigarettes he wants today, and he really, really wants a cigarette today. Especially if he is going to quit tomorow. Just thinking about quitting smoking makes him want to light up.
And since tomorrow never quite gets here, it is an ideal time to quit. An impossible enigma? No, if you want to quit tomorrow, then it is very possible to want to quit today, but it may not be possible to want to quit forever today. So the first obstacle is to shorten the time frame of quitting, and motivate yourself to quit for an hour, which you can probably do. If you can’t quit for an hour, then quit for 20 minutes.
And in order to lessen the burden of resentful anger that builds up when Aunt Mildred discovers that you are trying to quit, and won’t stop harping about it, don’t tell anybody what you are doing for the first phase of the operation. There is no need for anyone else to know. This can be your private victory. You can quit for an hour twice a day. You can quit for an hour every day for three weeks.
In fact, you can practice quitting for an hour, and since it is only practice, then it’s no big deal if you blow it now and then, after all, everyone makes mistakes. The significant factor here is to learn from the relapses as well as the successes, and to take the focus off of smoking.
If you think about quitting smoking all of the time, then you won’t quit. But you can think about exactly what smoking does for you, and how you can replace smoking in your life.
Many smoking therapy programs require keeping a diary of when you smoke, so you know the nature of your particular habit. Become familiar with your smoking triggers, and when the urges are the strongest. Does smoking keep you from screaming in anger?
The next time you are really angry, instead of smoking, excuse yourself from the other people, drive out to an isolated place, and scream in anger. Of course, this option isn’t available all the time, but you aren’t going to scream in anger every time you get irritated, you are just going to do it to see if actually screaming helps relieve stress as much as a cigarette does. You probably know the answer to this already, but you have to educate your unconscious mind that screaming is no better than smoking, and it will probably awaken some humor in you, too.
The point is to find out what behaviour will replace the cigarette when you need to relieve stress. This is done by exploring other avenues when you feel the urge to smoke.
Common alternatives to smoking include deep breathing, chewing gum, taking a walk, or doing five push-ups.
If you find that smoking is principally a stress-control device, start implementing some long-term stress relief techniques instead of just quick fixes.
If your job is a constant trigger, then find out how to do the job differently. Maybe memorizing some key web pages can make the search for solutions less stressful. Carry a notebook with key information so that you aren’t constantly looking stuff up. Pay more attention to your wardrobe. Concentrate on using more professional language. Give yourself more time to get to work so that traffic is easier to tolerate.
If you are a supervisor, routinely review your employees, and make them aware of growth potential outside of trigger situations. Ask your boss for suggestions if you see a problem developing. As you look for replacements for nicotine, it should be getting easier and easier to go an hour without smoking.
After you have identified the problems that nicotine solves for you, and when you have begun to implement alternative solutions, then the thought of giving up smoking becomes less fearful. Invite those that you care about to involve themselves in the new processes and avenues that are opening up to you.
Today will become tomorrow. If you need additional help to quit smoking, it will be easier for you to ask, and you will no longer fear a future without nicotine.