by: Garrett Davis
First off, consult a medical professional if you smoke or if you have any other addictions that may have deleterious effects.
If you smoke and have been thinking about quitting, or have tried quitting, then this article is for you. If you don’t smoke, but have some other addiction, then I also encourage you to read this article, as it’s theory can be used to quit other substances as well.
Quitting smoking is not all that difficult, if done properly. So many people fail to quit because of a lack of proper planning. Fail to plan and you plan to fail, as the saying goes. So how will you go about getting away from those tasty cancer sticks for good? If executed with the proper plan, quitting will not be agonizing, though you will experience some discomfort.
I'll skip telling you about how bad cigarettes are for you because you already know. You are bombarded with that information constantly.
I won’t tell you that you need to try some new nicotine patch or gum, or some other pill. These products just give you more of what you don’t want: nicotine. They are just a way for the drug companies to make more money. Don’t let them sell you on these. Quitting smoking requires no purchases.
So many people fail to quit each year because of a lack of planning. "I’m going to quit smoking" is not a plan. Not at all. Most of the time it does not work. This is because it is the goal, not the plan. If everyone who ever said or thought that actually quit, their would be very, very few smokers in our society. In fact, I suspect that the tobacco industry would have been reduced to a negligible size altogether. However, the tobacco industry remains massive because people do not quit through a strategic plan. These people are the bread-and-butter of the cigarette manufacturers.
Quitting smoking presents a challenge for two reasons:
1) Nicotine withdrawals. Nicotine is everything to the tobacco industry. Without nicotine, cigarettes would be no more addictive than chewing gum.
2) Taking smoking out of your day will be taking out an activity that is associated with taking a break, relaxing, or interacting socially with other smokers.
If we will be successful, we will have to address both of these challenges with a rigorous plan, but before I get to that plan I will go over the mind-set that is required for permanent termination of your habit.
This mind-set is made up of 3 parts:
1. Know that you will quit smoking. Think about this one for a while. Get used to envisioning yourself as a non smoker.
2. Know that you will have to quit eventually, or accept the likelihood of the onset of a terminal disease.
3. Know that the sooner you quit, the easier it will be to do so.
Let’s go over that last one a little. Often, as a smoker, you will have a cigarette sooner rather than later simply to avoid the onset of a craving. Cravings can be quite uncomfortable, as any smoker will tell you. So, you become proactive in your approach in that you will have the cigarette before the craving becomes uncomfortable. If you have one now, then you won’t need one as badly later on, so your thinking goes.
The problem with this way of thinking is that it is exactly wrong. The nicotine has tricked your subconscious mind into such rationalizing. The reality is that each and every time you have a cigarette, you are reenforcing your addiction and thus making it stronger. If your cigarette smoking has resulted in an addiction, then it follows that with every cigarette you have you are increasing the addiction. In the long run, there is no such thing as having a cigarette to alleviate craving. Sure, you are making yourself feel satisfied by having the cigarette, but the satisfaction is temporary. With every cigarette you have, you will crave the next one that much more. This progression can be very subtle, which is why nicotine addiction can creep up on so many people. They become addicted before they know it.
>From this logic follows the required mind-set in which you will know that the sooner you quit, the easier it will be to do so. Never the less, you should not start the quitting process until you have mentally prepared yourself by mulling over all three steps for a while until you get used to them, with an emphasis on step #1. (Envisioning yourself as a non-smoker).
Now that we have the proper mind-set in place, we may go about formulating a plan for addressing your addiction to the drug itself (nicotine). If you've tried quitting in the past and failed, nicotine was what drew you back to smoking. Therefore, we must eliminate your cravings for nicotine.
We will do this through a process of gradual reduction that will follow a mathematical algorithm.
The first thing that you need to do is to figure out how many cigarettes you smoke per day. This number is important, as it will be the starting point of our plan. You may be tempted here to just come up with an estimate, but I want you to be more precise than that.
You will start by taking a small piece of paper and taping it to your box of cigarettes so that you can make a simple marking with a pen for every time you smoke. You may also just carry a piece of paper around with you, but I find attaching it to the box to be more effective because you'll never be without it when you want to smoke. Do this for 1 week, then add up all of the cigarettes that you smoked all week. At the end of the week, divide the total number of cigarettes you smoked by 7 to get your average. If you are one of those people who smokes significantly more on the weekends or your days off, then it’s okay to calculate two separate averages.
Here’s the formula: Take the average number of cigarettes that you smoke per day and multiply that number by (.05). This will tell you how much 5% of the total amount of cigarettes that you smoke in a day is. If you smoke 10 cigarettes per day then 5% of that will be one half of a cigarette. For 30 cigarettes your number will be 1.5 cigarettes, and so on. It really doesn’t matter if you smoke 5 cigarettes per day or 40, you just need to know what 5% of that number is.
Once you have your numbers calculated you will start a gradual and consistent reduction in your smoking. You will do this in increments of 5% per week. This number will remain 5% of the original number of cigarettes that you smoked. If 5% of the original number of cigarettes that you smoked was 1 cigarette, then you will reduce your smoking by 1 cigarette per week, every week. Simple.
If your 5% number comes out to a fraction of a cigarette, for example ½ of a cigarette, then you will still reduce your smoking by that much. Simply take a pair of scissors and cut off half of a cigarette before you smoke it. Cutting the cigarette is important so that you are not able to smoke more than the program calls for. Also, I recommend that you cut all of the necessary cigarettes as soon as you get the pack. This will take some calculating in advance, but it will be worth it.
You will have to figure out what part of your day the cigarettes will be taken from. For starters you should pick a part of the day when you’re most busy so that you won’t be able to ruminate over the missing carcinogen.
Once you get down to about 1 cigarette per day, you may have to continue on with the gradual reduction by either progressing to ½ a cigarette per day, or 1 cigarette every other day, or even ½ of a cigarette every other day. The important part is that once you have quit, you will have quit for good. However gradual the process is in getting to quitting will be okay as long as it will lead you to total cessation of the habit.
Now that the plan for addressing the nicotine addiction is in place, we may formulate a plan for addressing the second challenge of quitting smoking. This is that in quitting smoking you will be deducting an activity from your life. Getting the subconscious mind to give up an activity that it is used to can be difficult unless you take the proper steps to help yourself along.
If you will be deducting from your life by quitting smoking, and quitting smoking becomes difficult as a result, then it follows that something ought to be added to your life for compensation purposes. What this something is will be up to you, but it needs to be an activity that's productive and enjoyable in some way. This may include reading, exercising, meditating, a new hobby, or simply devoting more quality time to your family. I find that activities which involve some form of exercise work best. Cigarettes stimulate the body and mind, and so does exercise, but in a much healthier way.
Choosing something healthy to add to your life in place of smoking will not only enrich your quality of life, it will make quitting much easier by addressing the needs of your subconscious mind. On the subconscious level you will feel less like you are at a loss and more like you have improved your general well being. The subconscious mind does not really care all that much about cigarettes being bad for you. It just cares that they bring you some level of pleasure, which is why you continue to smoke. You can help your subconscious mind feel less cheated by replacing the nicotine with something else that brings you joy.
It's also important to note that your change needs to be documented on paper through out the entire process. Keep a journal or a log detailing the number of cigarettes that you are allowed each day. This log should be small and mobile so that you can easily carry it with you in your pocket or purse.
Writing the process down on paper is important on two levels. The first is that it will allow you to keep an accurate count, and the second is that writing goals and procedures down on paper facilitates their accomplishment. If you take the time to write out a plan, you will be using more of your conscious power and your objective will thus have more energy behind it.
So there you have it, the easier way to quit smoking. Notice that I did not title the article, "The Easy Way To Quit Smoking". I used the word easier because no matter what our approach is, quitting permanently will take some effort on your part. I have found that anything in life worth accomplishing does take effort. I can promise you though that quitting smoking for good will be worth your effort in the long run. Not only will you improve your health, but the sense of pride you'll get from the accomplishment will be tremendous. You'll feel empowered and confident, ready to concur your next goal.
So go ahead, quit for good. You'll be glad you did!
About The AuthorGarrett Davis created http://www.guidanceforthemotivated.com/ to provide personal growth information to the motivated and intelligent. It is for those who consistently strive to improve. It is for the curious and the interested. It is for the non-complacent. It is for those who know that they always have room to grow, and for those who embrace infinite potential. Find more great articles at http://www.guidanceforthemotivated.com/