Want to Quit vs. Want to Have Quit

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Where is your arrow heading? Are you intending on quitting smoking or have you already quit? There’s a big difference between having extinguished your last cigarette and not wanting – or even be willing – to smoke anymore. I’m not talking about nicotine cravings or fantasizing about smoking. I think that even the most resolute of former smokers may still have the occasional nostalgic thought about how good things were back then, when they smoked. I am one of them. It’s part of who we were. We don’t need to forget about the past.

I’m talking about understanding the profound negative effects of smoking on ourselves, as well as the people around us. Just recently, I was talking with my ex-wife about how we used to smoke in front of our young children. We both feel bad about our past behavior, but we also know that we weren’t quite as aware of the situation back then as we are now. Wisdom comes with age, or should I say, the older you get, the more important life becomes.

Having quit smoking means coming to terms with the past and living happily in the present. The future will take care of itself, whether you like it or not. If someone offered you a cigarette today, would you have a hard time turning it down or would you stand by your principles and politely decline? If you have truly quit, then you will know the answer.

I have no regrets about having quit smoking.

Niggling Little Thoughts

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As a smoker, you are no doubt aware of niggling little thoughts about smoking that bother you from time to time. But, you go through life from day to day buying and consuming cigarettes. You look forward to smoking.  However, you also know that there are consequences to your habit.

Anyone who has smoked for long enough has certainly questioned themselves about the following statements:

1. Tobacco is expensive, and it will continue to increase in price, indefinitely
2. Cigarettes are known to cause cancer and other illnesses
3. Smoking is seen as less and less acceptable in the workplace and in society in general
4. Having to keep up with purchasing your supply of cigarettes and lighters is a chore
5. Burning holes in your clothing and furniture is costly and dangerous
6. Restrictions on places where and when you can smoke is causing you stress
7. Having to smoke outside in extreme weather (cold, snow, rain, heavy winds) is a pain
8. Smoking in a car with children on board, in front of children or near children, makes you feel guilty
9. Lighting up when you’re ill seems ridiculous, but you have to do it anyway to get your nicotine fix
10. Quitting smoking seems so difficult that you would rather ignore the burdens of being a smoker

Tobacco addiction, like many other addictions, will easily carry you through life from one day to the next until a crisis occurs. If you never stop to think about what you are doing, the good intentions that you had to give up at some point may never materialize, and you may be faced with the consequences of your lack of action. Why not choose to change your life today instead of waiting until it becomes it’s too late?

Quit Smoking: You Only Need to Succeed Once!

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There’s nothing like stating the obvious because it’s true. Once you have quit smoking for long enough and feel confident that you won’t smoke again, you have succeeded. Having reached that point myself some time ago, I’m thrilled to know that I finally managed to defeat my tobacco addiction.

The first several times I tried, it wasn’t easy. A lot of the quitting happened in my head but didn’t translate into the desired action. I knew that I wanted to quit, but I couldn’t get started. There was always tomorrow. At times, I felt really determined to succeed before going to bed and woke up the next morning wondering what on earth I had been thinking the previous night. When I did have the resolve to quit, it often lasted only a few hours before I caved in. Most times, I wasn’t able to hold out for more than a day, and although I once managed to quit for a week, deep-down I wasn’t convinced that I would manage to stay quit. After all, I was a smoker. In fact, there were times when I felt that there was no point in even contemplating quitting smoking. I simply gave up.

There is nothing unique to my story. Many smokers go through these same thought processes, telling themselves that they want to quit, but not managing to stay away from tobacco addiction. That is the nature of the beast. Smoking gradually transforms you into a smoker. Smoking becomes a part of your identity, defining who you are. After enough cigarettes, you no longer just smoke; you are ‘a smoker’. There are some people that manage to quit just like that, but for the vast majority of people, it is a struggle. Most people have to try a couple to several times before they succeed.

Shirking the ‘smoker’ identity is probably the hardest part about quitting. It requires a change of mindset and quite some time. Both go hand in hand. When you first quit, it may feel like you’re a smoker who’s trying to not smoke. The time between your last cigarette and the present isn’t long enough to declare victory. You’re still a novice ex-smoker, with little experience. More time and practice is needed before you can start thinking in terms of detachment from smoking. You may go through one or more periods of hesitation and self-doubt. After a while (weeks, months?), you will get to the point where you feel more confident and optimistic. Finally, you will get to a point where there has been enough time and distance between when you quit and the present for you to think less and less about smoking.

The key thing with this process is to believe that you can manage life without smoking. Millions have succeeded before you, and millions continue to try every day. Given the right mindset and enough time, many of them will cross over from being a smoker to becoming a confident ex-smoker. It may take a couple or more attempts before you manage to reach your goal, but keep trying!

You only need to succeed once!