Beating smoking can be a real challenge, I have never done it, but both my parents have been smokers for many years and I saw my mother stop several times. Not only are there the physical components of addiction at play in a smoking addiction, but also many other factors like social pressure, habits, and emotions can all play a major role in your ability to stop smoking. We already know how many people try to stop smoking and fail, so how can you actually do it and be successful?
- Desire change, really desire change.
Unless you are totally fed up with your behavior, it’s going to be hard to stop doing what you are doing. Reaching a point where you NEED to stop is often a vital component of success. If you don’t believe you need to stop, then remind yourself of all the reasons you need to stop. If you want to quit for family reasons, imagine your death and the devastation it will create in your loved ones if you die from smoking related causes, if you are doing it for health reasons, hang up a picture of a healthy body for inspiration or hang up a picture of blackened lungs to remind you what cigarettes do to your body, and if you want to quit to save money, then start a fund and every day you don’t buy a pack of cigarettes, put the money in the fund instead and watch how much money you save! Bottom line, you NEED to quit, you HAVE to quit, you CAN’T AFFORD not to quit: you really need to believe these things if you want to make it. If you just think it would be nice to stop smoking, you are probably not going to give it up.
- Make a plan and include obstacles along the way.
Studies have shown that the people who succeed at their goals, are often the people who have planned accordingly and prepared themselves for the challenges along the way. Picture yourself in the times when quitting will be the hardest, and try to prepare yourself mentally for them. For instance: imagine you always have a cigarette or two on your lunch break to relax, imagine yourself having a really hard day at work and being stressed to the max, you are on lunch break now…So what are you going to do to not have that cigarette? Include plans for specifically dealing with different temptations and challenges, it will go a long way towards helping you be successful. Plan your days including the major time you experience the temptation of smoking and create an alternative plan to smoking.
- Visualize your success.
Visualization has long been used by athletes and sport psychologist to achieve success in sports, but it can also be used for personal matters like quitting smoking. See yourself in possession of whatever you hope to attain from stopping smoking: better health, more money, better relationships, freedom and no longer being dependent upon smoking. See yourself being successful, feel how it feels to beat smoking, and really try to imagine in detail what it’s like to be free of this habit that has plagued you for too long!
- Remove obstacles and negative influences from your life.
Some of the obstacles you planned for in step 2 are unnecessary temptations. For instance, if you have a friend that is always trying to get you to smoke with them or is a negative energy drain on your life, maybe now is the time to start cutting ties. Removing toxic people and environments from your life will help you to start brand new habits and live a better life.
- Just do it
Planning and setting goals is great, thinking of ways to be successful and preparing for potential challenges will pose you for success, but there is only one way to stop smoking, and that to STOP smoking. At some point you just have to take the plunge and say no more. Throw out your cigarettes, stop thinking about your morning smoke, and stop picturing that cigarette every time you get stressed out. Take the step first major step and just stop!
- Remind yourself every morning and throughout the day why you are doing it.
Constantly remind yourself, especially first thing in the morning, why you are stopping smoking. It is important to keep your eye on the reasons for this major habit change, because it will help keep you strong when your will is wavering. Remind yourself of the face of your partner or child, remind yourself of the perfect body you want to obtain, imagine yourself crossing the finish line at that marathon you want to run. Whatever your motivation is for getting this terrible habit out of your life, remind yourself diligently why you are doing it.
All of these actions will GREATLY increase your chances of being successful at quitting this habit. Are you currently struggling to stop smoking, have you already stopped, or do you want to stop? Share your story here in the comments below and help others goign through the same thing!