Quitting smoking is an admirable goal. But you can be sure of running into some problems along the way. It is difficult to be persistent when everything you try seems to fail. And many people who don’t realize immediate results from their efforts are easily swayed toward giving up.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s begin by emphasizing how important it is to your self-worth that you never allow yourself to give up fighting for something you know and believe to be right.
If you can commit yourself to being smoke-free for the rest of your life, you’ll need to make sure you can re-enforce that idea positively by removing any doubt about your ability to see things through. Even if you are the type of person who sets goals only to see yourself fail time and again, you can still make this work with the proper motivational techniques.
Of all the tools you’ll need to achieve quitting smoking, a positive mental attitude will be your strongest ally. For long time smokers who may be first time quitters, be aware of the grip nicotine has on you. Respect its power, its cunning, and see it as an entity that can be expunged from your body. This addiction is tricky and will test your resolve unlike most anything you may have ever been through.
For those of you who have tried and failed in the past, remember that every failure brings with it the seeds for future success. Many successful former smoker’s had to go through multiple attempts to achieve their goal while other’s succeed right away and never go back to the habit.
As promised, here are five very powerful motivational techniques to help you on your journey.
1. Picture the End Result
Begin by seeing yourself as a non-smoker one year from today. Then two years. Then five. See yourself having more energy, more money. See yourself talking to your friends without smelling like a foul stale ashtray.
See yourself walking briskly down a tree-lined street under blue skies, maybe even running, without getting winded. Imagine walking out your front door without having to check if you’ve brought along your cigarettes and lighter. Without worrying about running out of butts before you can get to the corner store in time to replenish your supply.
How would it feel to be free from the restrictions that are ever increasing in a society hell-bent on becoming smoke free? You already know that you can’t smoke in most public places any longer. Imagine not having to step out into the biting cold of a nasty winter day to placate your body’s demands for more nicotine.
Now picture yourself as a healthy robust non-smoker with plenty of energy, more money in your pocket and free of offensive odors and nicotine stains. See yourself going through your daily life completely free of any desire to smoke.
Dwell on that scenario for five minutes or so with your eyes closed. Breathe deeply and exhale slowly while you use this mental exercise. When you open your eyes, imagine that you have already accomplished your mission. Feel the joy and allow yourself to believe it to be true right now. Let the feeling sink in and boost your desire to actually achieve this lifestyle.
2. Reward Yourself
Make a habit of rewarding yourself for each victory over your cravings. Set small goals at first so as to set yourself up for rapid achievement of successes.
For instance, on your first quit day you could set aside 5 dollars for every 4 hours you go without lighting up. When you wake up on day 2 and see 15 or 20 bucks in your reward jar, it’ll inspire you to keep it up so you can maybe buy that new car stereo you’ve been checking out recently.
Or maybe that vacation to Mexico you’ve always wanted to take. Doing something nice for yourself as a reward will stimulate your mind in a positive re-enforcing manner. You will be focusing on the end result instead of your craving and the critical first few days will pass more quickly and easily.
3. Create a Success Circle
Another way to be successful in any endeavor is to surround yourself with like-minded people, a mastermind group if you will.
In this case, they don’t all have to be people who are quitting at the same time as you. In fact, people who do not smoke and who share some of the same interests and ideas as you would be best suited to your group for this purpose.
You needn’t make a big deal out of your decision to quit smoking. But if you do tell your friends about it, it could keep you from allowing yourself to backslide.
Use the leverage at your disposal and have your friends monitor your progress. Sometimes just the thought of having your peers see you go back on your word will be enough to deter any thoughts of backsliding. After all, you want to be seen as a person of your word, don’t you?
4. Your Health is Your Future
Begin to exercise regularly. Even if it is no more than a daily half hour walk, help your body to heal itself through some type of low-impact aerobic activity.
Your body needs plenty of oxygen to flush out all those years of toxins. Mild exercise will not only provide that but will also help control any possible weight gain.
If you experience a particularly tough craving, go for a bike ride or pump some iron or take a brisk walk to the park and back. Working your body will also help change what you are focusing on and that is critical to your eventual success.
You should also pay attention to your diet. Eat plenty of green and orange vegetables for their anti-oxidant qualities. Stay away from too much caffeine or soft drinks as these are dietary triggers that launch a nicotine craving. Drink plenty of fresh, clean water to help flush out your system.
Plan to get a good night’s sleep at the end of the day. Don’t allow yourself to slump into a chair in front of the television as this is prime time for your addiction to kick up it’s heels and bite you in the butt.
Get a good book that interests you and allow yourself to focus on its content. Once you have been smoke-free for a few months you will find it easier to relax without the distraction of a nagging urge to light up. Regaining good health is key to your success.
5. Avoid Those Enabling Triggers
Make no mistake about it, you cannot let your guard down for one minute during the quitting process. The first year of your new smokeless existence will be tested frequently for chinks in the armor of your determination. Identifying these triggers and removing them from your daily routines is critical.
Alcohol has been a common trigger for most people who smoke. It really should be avoided but can be consumed in moderation as long as you don’t let it break down your resolve.
However, if you can’t have a drink without a smoke, just don’t drink until you have eliminated smoking from your daily routine. It’s that simple.
After dinner smoking is a bit trickier. You obviously cannot go without eating. Instead, once finished eating, get up from the table right away and help clear the dishes and condiments from the table.
Reach for a stick of gum to cleanse your breath and teeth. Do anything that would change your normal routine of lighting up. Go for a walk and bring along a camera to take pictures with. As long as you change what you are focusing on after dinner, you should be able to avoid grappling with the urge to fire up.
Many people who drive like to light up the minute they slide behind the wheel. Replace the ashtrays with sugar-free gum or candy mints and remove all lighters from your vehicle. Try to keep a cold bottle of water in the car as well.
The most important thing is, don’t give up if you hit a bump in the road. Re-motivate yourself and get back on track. Always keep your end goal in sight and never let the word ‘defeat’ find a place on your list of options.