Many experts believe smoking is only about 10% physical addiction and a whopping 90% psychological addiction. Your body will recover fairly quickly from nicotine withdrawals (the worst symptoms usually abate in three days or less), but your psychological dependency on cigarettes can be much more difficult to defeat.
One way to combat this is to do a bit of self-analysis before giving up cigarettes.
Make a list with two columns. Label column one “Why I Started Smoking” and label column two “Why I Want To Quit Smoking.”
In column one, list all the reasons you can remember as to why you started smoking in the first place. 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 look over that list. Do any of those reasons still apply in your life today? Probably not.
If you’re like most people, you will see that your reasons for becoming a smoker are no longer valid, are often just silly, and are easily outweighed by the risks to your health and your family’s well-being.
So let’s move on to column two… Why do you want to quit smoking?
This one may seem obvious, but it can be a bit tricky. You really need to take some time and think hard about this. Don’t just list the obvious health reasons. You’ve 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 things most people write down will NOT help you quit smoking…
Those are all good reasons to quit smoking, certainly… but they deal in “possibilities” rather than in specifics.
Sure you MIGHT get lung cancer, you MIGHT have a heart attack or a stroke, you MIGHT die young and miss out on seeing your grandchildren grow up…
...or you MIGHT NOT! You’re not likely to break a strong psychological addiction based on what MIGHT happen. Your mind will work hard to convince you that it won’t happen to you! Instead, list health problems that you are already experiencing.
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 an arsenal of new thoughts and desires that are stronger than your desire to smoke!
Here are the types of things you want to put in column two…
Why Do I Want To Quit Smoking?
Do you see yourself in any of the items listed? You may have many more reasons of your own. Find as many compelling and emotional reasons to pursue smoking cessation as you can think of and write them all down. To quit smoking, you need YOUR reason to kick the nicotine habit.
If you can re-train your mind to think of smoking as a silly and self-destructive thing to do, then you’re almost sure to succeed. And if you need something to do with your hands… try knitting!