First of all, congratulations on considering the best decision of your life – to quit smoking! Everyone will tell you that quitting is hard, but it’s really not that hard. I know. I successfully gave up 9 years ago today. Okay, it was my third serious attempt but third time lucky right?! Well no, there was no luck at all involved in my success. In fact, I was shocked at how easy it was.
So what went wrong the first two times..?
Quite simply it was my mindset. The way I was thinking, I had no hope of giving up. I was not giving up because I wanted to. There was external pressure from my non-smoking partner about just how much money I spent on smokes… and I wasn’t very happy with the government and how much taxes they kept adding to cigarettes. I felt guilty and felt pressured to give up my pleasure.
The whole time I was not smoking, all I concentrated on was what I was missing out on. I kept thinking all the time about how much I missed smoking and how much I just wanted one. Just one more fix…
That doesn’t really sound like someone who wants to give up, does it?
So it’s safe to say my mindset really sucked. My attempt was doomed to fail right from the start. I was playing the victim who was being forced to give up. Instead I needed to find and concentrate on the reason that I didn’t want to be a smoker anymore – you get what you focus on right? I was the one CHOOSING to give up – so why was I focusing on the negatives of giving up instead of the negatives of keeping on smoking?!
Number #1. First important thing – Have your OWN reason to give up. And make it a damn good one! Remind yourself often. Write it down.
Your own reason will be specific to you but I will share with you my winning reason that worked for me. But please find your own reason – this is very important! Sharing my story is just to inspire you. So back when I was a bookkeeper working on one of the high up floors in an office building, I had to go all the way downstairs and outside to smoke. And in winter when it was raining, there was no shelter so you quite literally had to stand in the rain to smoke in the designated smoking area. Sometimes when I went to the photocopier, I could look out and see someone standing out there by themselves in the rain sucking on their cigarette. Looking quite pitiful really. And I realised that was what I looked like when I was out there in the rain doing the same thing. And it didn’t feel good when I was out there doing it. And I can tell you I did not want to look or feel like that any more! Even when I drove around the city and saw other people huddled under a small overhang trying to keep dry while they smoked, I was disgusted at these people just like me. A slave to cigarettes. They were so weak. I was so weak! So I gave up the fags just before winter hit because I did not and could not want to be that “lepper” out smoking in the rain ever again. That was my reason. And for me it was a damn good one!
Number #2. Get your mindset as strong as you can. Ramp up those negatives of continuing to smoke.
You’ll need pen and paper for this one. Write out what life is going to be like for you if you’re still smoking in 5 years time. And then do the same for 10 years. Make it as horrible as you can. If you don’t feel bad about continuing to smoke after finishing this exercise, you haven’t done it well enough so go back and add to it. There should be a lot of pain in this piece!
Number #3. Get rid of all the excuses and lies you keep telling yourself about smoking.
Write out what it is that’s keeping you smoking. What are your beliefs? What has stopped you from giving up in the past? Do you believe that smoking relieves your stress – it doesn’t, it actually causes more stress within your body. Do you tell yourself you like the taste – ha, do you remember those first few smokes you had?! Yuck! Write out your list until you can think of no more excuses. Give thought to each belief – is it a lie? Can you overturn it? Research it if you have to.
There’s a book that was recommended to me and I suggest every smoker reads it when they want to give up – this book will really help you throw out those excuses we come up with. I read the book in one day while I chain smoked through it and when I closed the book, I gave up. That was my last smoke while reading that book May 17th, 2010. Simple as that. The book is called ‘Easy Way to Stop Smoking’ and it’s written by Allen Carr. (There are a few versions of this book – I note there’s one that also includes a hypnosis audio!)
I truly wish for you that you can read the book and that be it. I realise that not everyone is a book reader, but if you are, do yourself a favour and buy it and read it.
Number #4. I know I said there was going to be 3 tips, but I have to throw one extra one in…. When you give up smoking, don’t ever think that you can have just one. Just one with your friends. Or one when no one is looking. There is no such thing as just one smoke or one puff – the moment you do that, you undo all your hard work. So forget the just one. It doesn’t exist. One becomes many.
Complete the exercises here first and then go read that book! The exercises above combined with the book will be a total power house in helping you to get the correct mindset for giving up.
If you’ve found these mindset tips useful, I’d love to hear how they are helping you in the comments below. Mindset really is the difference between success and failure!