On July of 2015 I decided I was going to quit smoking. After more than a decade into smoking I was finally ready to call it the quits. However, this by no means was my first attempt. There had been numerous failed attempts in the past. This time, I felt more ready than ever, and was more determined to do it. Now, more than a year later I can safely say I am no longer a smoker, and that smoking and cigarettes don’t entice me either.
As a former smoker myself, I am aware that many smokers want to call it the quits. However, I also know from my past experience that it is a tough ask, and I also know from experience that it is not impossible.
I want to share my experience so as to encourage myself never to smoke again, and also hope that my experience can be helpful to anyone who is looking to quit smoking.
So how did I really quit smoking –
- Deciding to quit
First and foremost, I just decided that I had had enough of it. I wanted to smoke no more. I wanted to be able to run and play without running out of breath 30 seconds into starting those activities. I wanted to get rid of that constant smoker’s cough (many smokers will be denial regarding the smoker’s cough, but get real).
Like many smokers out there I too have had experiences of deciding to quit many times prior to this. I, however, wanted to really do it this time around.
- Research and a perspective change
After deciding to quit, I jumped into researching all the benefits of not smoking. The findings were very uplifting and I wanted to experience the benefits of not smoking.
Upon my research I also stumbled upon a perspective. This perspective suggested that instead of seeing my past failed attempts of trying to quit smoking as failure, I should rather see them as gained experience. This new found perspective encouraged me, and I felt confident enough that I would be able to quit this time.
- Getting hold of the mind
“Mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master” says Robin Sharma, and this quote holds true when you are trying to quit smoking. Smoking, like any other habit, is hardwired to your system because you have done it for so long and quitting will test you physically and mentally. Research shows that it takes around three days for your body to throw out the nicotine present in your system. After which you are no longer physically attracted to nicotine present in the cigarette, and then starts the nicotine withdrawal effect. This withdrawal effect is made worse by the ongoing mental challenge. The mind is a tricky little bugger and it’ll say things to you to get you back to smoking (it did for me). “Just one cigarette,” it’ll say; other times it’ll be like, “you’ve gone clean for a week. That’s something – just one cigarette now. It’ll do you no harm.” The key is to stay strong-willed and to not let the mind overpower you. Slowly, the voices will die down. The physical as well as the mental addiction will eventually subside.
This is not by any means an action that happens overnight, and as with any other practice, quitting smoking also takes time. But if you stick to your guns, the urge to smoke will eventually disappear.
- Putting them running shoes on (being a freak)
As I quit smoking, I wanted to give myself more reasons ( as if I did not already have many) to not take up smoking ever again. So, I put my running shoes, on and started to run every day. With no deliberate smoke ingestion, I was able to run without getting the wind knocked out of me in thirty seconds. Running brought a breath of fresh air into my life (literally). I began enjoying pushing my body to run 3 miles at first, eventually followed by 5 miles, and even 10 miles
- Started reading
Also, as a smoker, I know one of the times when people smoke a lot is whilst waiting for someone/something. I used to do it too, but then I found a better thing to do- i started reading instead. I started carrying a book with me everywhere I went, sometimes even in my mobile device. So, in order to curb that urge of smoking, I dove into the books. Eventually, the urge always died down minutes later.