Smoking is believed to be 10% physical addiction and 90% psychological addiction. The nicotine withdrawals usually subside in three days or less, but the psychological dependency on smoking is much more difficult to defeat.
In order to help you quit smoking, you need to do a self-analysis on the reasons you smoke and the reasons on why you want to quit smoking.
The easiest way to do this is to make a list. Label one column on why you started smoking and the other column on why you want to quit smoking.
In column one, list all the reasons you can remember as to why you started smoking. Was it peer pressure? Rebellion? Did you think it made you look cool? Did it make you feel like a grown-up? Really, try to remember the exact reasons why you started smoking and write them all down.
Now review your list of reasons why you smoke. Do any of those reasons still apply in your life today? More than likely the reasons you started to smoke does not apply to the reasons you smoke today. If you are like most people, you will see that your reasons for becoming a smoker are no longer valid, are often just silly, and are easily outweighed by the risks to your health and your family’s well-being.
Now write a list on why you want to quit smoking. This one may seem obvious, but it can be a bit deceiving. You really need to take some time and think hard about this. Do not just list the obvious health reasons. You have been reading the Surgeon General’s warnings for years with little effect, so you need to come up with reasons that truly have meaning for you.
The most common reasons that people to quit smoking are:
· I do not want to get lung cancer.
· I do not want to have a heart attack or a stroke.
· I would like to live long enough to see my grandchildren grow up.
Certainly the list above are good reasons to quit, but the truth is, is that they are possibilities and not specifics. For example, sure, you might get lung cancer, you might have a heart attack or a stroke, and you might die young and miss seeing your grandchildren grow up, or you might not!
The bottom line is that you are not going to break a psychological addiction based on what might happen to you if you continue to smoke. Your addiction to nicotine will work hard to convince you that it will not happen to you.
The alternative is to list health problems that you are experiencing now. Your list should point out things in your life that you are actively unhappy about and are STRONGLY MOTIVATED to change. In order to break your psychological addiction, you need a battery of new thoughts and desires that are stronger than your desire to smoke!
For example, the list below identifies that most smokers can relate to right now. Not what might be.
· I get so out of breath when I exert myself even a little bit. Just vacuuming the house makes me pant and gasp.
· My feet are always cold. This could be due to high blood pressure and poor circulation associated with smoking.
· I have a nasty wet cough and I have to blow my nose excessively. Mucus build-up is the body’s reaction to all the toxins and chemicals in cigarette smoke and could be a precursor to serious respiratory disease. Even if I do not get cancer, I do not want to be one of those people who have to carry an oxygen bottle.
· I am always tired. Could it be that my body is using up all its energy trying to eliminate the toxins and chemicals from cigarettes?
· Smoking causes premature aging and drying of the skin. I do not want to look like a wrinkled up old prune!
· My fingers, fingernails and teeth are all tobacco stained. Disgusting! How embarrassing.
· When I get on the elevator after a smoke break at work, everyone wrinkles their nose and tries to edge away from me because I reek of cigarette smoke. I feel like a leper. It is embarrassing to be the smelly one the elevator. I feel like I have no self-control.
· My breath is awful. Kissing me must be like kissing an ashtray. I spend a fortune on breath mints.
· If I save all the money I used to spend on cigarettes, I will have enough to take a vacation in Cancun (or some other warm tropical place) every winter!
· I could use the money to pay off my credit cards!
· I could donate money to my favorite charity or sponsor a child. My cigarette money could make the world a better place!
· My family can stop worrying about me.
· My spouse will have to find something new to nag about to me.
· My children will be proud of me and they will never start smoking themselves, having seen firsthand what a nasty destructive habit it is.
· The walls used to be white. Now they are a nasty dirty-looking brown. I need to repaint… again!
· I stink, my car stinks, my house stinks, everything I own reeks of cigarette smoke. I cannot even lend a book to a non-smoking friend because they cannot stand the smell of smoke permeating the pages!
Do you see yourself in any of the items listed above? You may have many more reasons of your own. Write down as many compelling and emotion reasons to quit smoking as you can think of.
If you can re-train your mind to think of smoking as a silly and self-destructive thing to do, then you are almost sure to succeed.