You’ve tried in the past and failed to quit smoking. Time to make you a permanent ex-smoker. Right?
Let’s get started.
First off, note that whatever quit smoking method you choose it must cover the habitual, mental, emotional, behavioral, physical and chemical aspects. How much and what treatment to use will be determined by each individual’s makeup. What works for one won’t necessarily work for another.
I’m going to share with you what worked for me and turned me into an ex-smoker for 32 successful years.
My Secret #1: Be Certain You’re Ready for Your Quit Smoking Time
From a mental standpoint: The very first thing you have to do to ensure you will succeed is to be absolutely certain you do want to quit smoking, that you are determined to quit smoking no matter how many times you tried in the past.
This is crucial to your success. You have to be truly ready to quit. No excuses. You’ve made the decision and you’re sticking with it and you’ll do whatever it takes. Your decision must have a firm basis, like wanting to stay healthy, or getting rid of the inconvenience of smoking, or to protect your family from second-hand smoke. Or maybe you just want to get fit so you can enjoy physical activity without gasping for breath.
Find a good reason to quit and implant it firmly in your mind. Get into the mindset that you want to and will quit. You cannot waver.
My Secret #2: Find Ways To Trick Your Mind
From an emotional standpoint: Figure out ways to trick yourself whenever you get the urge to light up.
When I quit smoking 30 years ago, I dreaded the finality of tossing out my last cigarettes. With each attempt to quit, I panicked knowing I didn’t have any to fall back on should I weaken in my plan to quit smoking. Time after time, I’d say, “That’s it. I quit” and immediately freak out because I didn’t have any cigarettes in my possession. It was all I could think about.
“What if I get a craving and I don’t have any cigarettes?”
“What if the craving hits me in the middle of the night when the stores are closed?”
This is where the agitation, irritability, tension and stress come from when we decide it’s quit smoking time and throw away our cigarettes and try not to think about them. Of course we’re going to think about them. They’ve meant too much to us for all those years.
Ultimately, that frenzied feeling exaggerated the comfort I felt when I did have them available. This just confirmed how important cigarettes were to me. It put doubts in my mind about why I was quitting in the first place. Suddenly, my original reason to quit was less important. This caused me to continue smoking for many years until I finally came up with a secret to trick my mind.
Every quit smoking tip I’ve read stresses throwing away your last cigarettes so you can’t be tempted, but this doesn’t work for all people.
The key for me was to keep the last 3-4 cigarettes on me at all times. I put them in my purse where I wouldn’t see them every time I opened it. There was comfort in knowing they were there, but they weren’t a constant temptation. Having them enabled me to turn my focus away from cigarettes. Not having them put me in a constant stress state.
This trick worked because I only needed to know that they were available. Then, I was free to choose to smoke or not to smoke. I knew that if the urge became too overwhelming, I had access to a cigarette to ease that stress. Without that stash, I had no ‘choice’. Without it, I had to quit smoking.
Having a choice puts more control in your hands, so you feel less stressed. In turn, this eases some of those emotional upheavals we go through when we try to withdraw from an addictive substance.
My Secret #3: Find A Cigarette Substitute
From a habit standpoint: Habit causes you to continue smoking. It’s become a huge part of your lifestyle and that makes it very difficult to quit smoking. Time to find another way to keep your hands busy.
I remember when they first came out with stop smoking aids. One was a type of cigarette holder that you picked up to replicate holding a cigarette. I don’t know if they’re still on the market, but this gives you the idea.
My ‘secret’ substitute was a bag of candies and a continuous supply of water. On my desk I kept a huge bag of sweets to pop into my mouth. Taking sips of water provided the hand-to-mouth action that had become such an ingrained habit. A pen would provide the same experience. I’ve always been a pen chewer, so don’t be afraid to use this as a suitable and safe replacement. Make it a ‘special’ pen to give it more importance for you. Maybe it’s design feels good in your hand, or perhaps it belonged to one of your children.
My Secret 4: Overcome the Need for Chemical Aids
From a chemical standpoint: There’s a lot of hype these days about patches, pills and special diets to help you to quit smoking. Personally, I avoid any form of ‘medication’ unless it’s absolutely crucial. I’m a firm believer that society has become far too dependent on medications for everything from quitting smoking to pain (even bearable pain) to dieting and tons of things beyond.
There are warnings on practically all such treatments that can actually cause more damage to your body.
One such warning states that pregnant women can damage and cause birth defects to the fetus if they use nicotine patches and pills. There are many more scary potential side effects from taking patches, pills, lozenges, gums, etc.
Some common reactions to chemical replacement therapy include having the jitters, irritability, nervousness, insomnia and panic attacks. Some people experience skin rashes and welts with patches.
There are some potentially dangerous side effects if you have heart, blood pressure or liver problems. Gum can be habit forming as well, which really doesn’t resolve your problem much. Besides, the long term use can increase the risk of the formation of a carcinogenic chemical in your body. The artificial sweeteners used in gum, lozenges and tablets are known to cause neurological and other health problems.
And if that isn’t enough to scare you, there are many troubling side effects, a major one being the tendency for seizures. (Approx. 1 in every 1,000 people have a seizure, which may involve convulsions and loss of consciousness.) As many as 3 in 1,000 people have a severe allergic reaction that requires medical attention.
Symptoms include mild to severe foggy thinking, headaches, nausea, insomnia (often serious), shakes, weight gain, sugar and carb cravings, sweating, constipation, personality disorders, suicidal tendencies (many thousands have been reported) and some deaths.
People report an inability to cope with a normal work day, and anything requiring study or taking exams is totally out of the question. If these stop smoking aids are mixed with alcohol, heart medications, caffeine, most drugs, or are taken by people who have any history of mental disorders, eating disorders, diabetes, and previous head or organ injury or disease, more risks are imminent. Of course, if children could be exposed to serious overdosing if they get their hands on them.
(*stats provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies and sources) So as I said, it’s best to try to quit without these types of stop smoking aids.
My Secret Quit Smoking Time
To recap, these are the secrets used in my quit smoking time that enabled me to succeed:
Get into the mind set that quitting is the only choice – It’s a matter of your health and your life expectancy!
Trick your mind by having a stash available, even though you are not planning to use it. This will provide comfort knowing you do have a choice – but you choose not to smoke – for now.
Play the delay game. Plan to start your quit smoking time when you go to bed and thereafter, you will already have gone 8 hours without a cigarette when you awake. Remind yourself of this. Question every desire to light up. Can you wait another 10 minutes? Half an hour? Remind yourself how long you’ve gone without a cigarette and feel proud of your accomplishment.
Get busy and you’ll soon forget about the time. It only takes 7 days to quit – 14 days to break the habit and for the thought of having a cigarette to fade. Remind yourself of this fact.
Find a substitute for the habit. Change your routine so the ones that involve having a cigarette are removed. Avoid spicy foods that trigger the urge to smoke. Keep fresh cool water beside you at all times and keep sipping when the urge strikes.
Avoid chemical substitutes and herbal remedies. They can be just as dangerous as the cigarettes themselves and just as habit forming. Smoke is smoke! Seek out natural methods.
Here is one excellent quit smoking program that I highly recommend. Ex-smoker Rick Beneteau worked with a group of professionals to help him put together his program which includes a series of mind power audios. He educates you about your addiction, explains why you can’t quit and how to overcome it, lists all the dangerous ingredients you’re inhaling along with their dangers (cancer isn’t the only thing you have to worry about), how you have been lied to about cigarettes, and what steps you need to take to quit smoking. Time to get started.