So, you want to quit smoking? But are you ready to let go of that nicotine craving for good? At first glance the second question might sound rather illogical, after all when you say you want to quit, it obviously means that you are ready, right? Wrong!
Your readiness to quit depends on your motivation to live a cigarette free life. The reason why people fail in their attempts to quit cold turkey is because the desire is not strong enough. For example, they may decide to quit because their spouse has been nagging them or because they had decided that they would quit when they achieved a certain goal. These reasons suggest that an individual feels obligated to stop smoking and therein lies the problem
You can only give up a bad habit completely if you start viewing it as something you no longer need or desire in your life. As long as you view smoking as an ‘indulgence’ or something that you are giving up because you have to not because you want to, the allure of the cigarettes will never completely fade.
The trick is to allow yourself to see the habit for what it really is, instead of looking at it from your subjective rose coloured glasses.
Identify your triggers
The first step that you need to take is to examine the factors that push towards lighting up. Hypnotherapy and NLP practitioners call these reasons triggers. Understanding, the emotional and/or physical elements that act as your personal triggers for smoking will help you systematically strip smoking of its allure.
Let’s say you light up a cigarette when you are feeling stressed. Now, what you need to ask yourself is, just what is the threshold point of your stress, i.e. what do you feel just before you decide that you can’t handle it anymore and need the aid of a cigarette? This will help you understand the exact trigger for smoking.
Once you are aware of the same you can start focusing on the things you can do to alter your reaction to that trigger. The mere process of thinking in the direction of altering your reaction will help you at least take the first step towards acknowledging that smoking is just an alterable reaction to a simple problem that can be dealt with in several different ways.
Let’s take the case of social smoking as well. Several smokers, especially teenagers and young adults light up in social situations because they feel awkward. A cigarette in their hand gives them something to do and makes them feel more comfortable. The real issue as is obvious is social awkwardness and lack of self confidence. These are the feelings that act as triggers for smoking. Understanding this fact will help you get rid of the root cause of smoking instead of grappling with problem at a superficial level.
Focus on how smoking affects you
Another thing to do is not to focus on your need to smoke when you are stressed but on how much smoking actually helps and at what cost? The keyword here is ‘focus’. The fact is that all of us are already aware of the harmful side effects of smoking (the most obvious ones at least), but we choose not to focus on the same as it makes continuing with the self-destructive pattern easier.
Stop making excuses
The mind can justify anything to itself, even obviously self-destructive behaviour patterns. So, to quit smoking, you have to first stop making excuses to continue with the habit.
Of course if you have been smoking for several years you are likely to have developed some degree of physical dependence on nicotine. The more the dependence the more difficult it will be for you to quit, however, your task will become relatively easier if your mental focus is strong enough. The tips stated above will hopefully help you lay the groundwork for quitting by strengthening your resolve to live a cigarette free life.