Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why Can Some Smokers Just Quit?

Some ex-smokers will say that one day they just decided to quit and they did, walked away from their cigarettes and never had another puff. It's like a light switch being turned on, going from not wanting to quit smoking to becoming a former smoker. For some smokers when that light switch turns on, they are more likely to stay quit than if they decide to delay quitting by making a plan, they do just walk away from their cigarettes. So how can this help someone who is struggling to quit?

There are several components to turning on the light switch to quit: beliefs, past experiences and current environmental situations. Often it is the unconscious motivations and beliefs that are brought to light by something going on currently in the life of the smoker that tips the balance and flips the switch. So instead of struggling to quit, a smoker can focus on these components and make them a strong force in their life and one day, the light switch may just flip on for them too.

Beliefs: Often smokers will focus on what they can't or are unwilling to do instead of what they can do. Smokers need to have the confidence or belief that they can be successful at quitting and there are 3 ways to increase that confidence level:

1. Take an baby action step with something that you are willing and able to do. You don't need to make the giant leap to quitting, but start with something simple that you have no resistance to such as reading different quitting tips but with no expectation of implementing anything. Or starting to smoke only outside instead of inside your home or car. Leaving your pack in the other room instead of next to you. What are you willing to do? Now do it.
2. Watch ex-smokers-what did they do when they quit? Most will be more than willing to share how they quit. Find someone that you admire, and ask them questions, sometimes this won't be a close friend because often former smokers will keep you at a distance because you smoke, even if they don't say anything to you.
3. Listen to encouraging words from a trusted person. Unfortunately, most smokers don't get words of encouragement, they are nagged, shamed and blamed for their smoking. Find someone who will tell you that you can be successful when you're ready and tell those who nag you that they are only increasing the urge to smoke, if only in defiance. If you can't think of anyone, then call one of the free state-sponsored quit-lines that have trained professionals that will encourage you.

Past Experiences: A powerful tool is to write a goodbye letter to your cigarettes, telling them what they have meant to you, how they have helped you in certain situations, what they have contributed to your life and how they have harmed you.

Current environment situations: For many, the economy is a major issue, think how much money you would save by quitting. Different cities and states are regulating where a person can smoke, how is this impacting you? Some employers are going smoke-free, how does this affect you? Ask your doctor to explain in detail what smoking is doing to your body and how will your body improve if you quit? What else is happening in your world that affects you and how does this relate to your smoking?

By taking even small steps in looking at your relationship to your cigarettes, will help build that state of mind that ultimately will lead to success. Believe in progress, not perfection and the day will come when the light turns on for you too.

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