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Foster a Mindset That Will Help You Quit Smoking

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Updated July 18, 2014

Foster a Mindset That Will Help You Quit Smoking
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images

Question: How Do I Achieve the "Right" Mindset to Quit Smoking Successfully?

Everyone talks about having the right mindset to quit smoking successfully. What is the right mindset? Is it a dislike for cigarettes, as in never wanting to have one again, or is it just willpower - the determination not to light up? I've quit several times and always have the right mindset when I start, but I can't seem to maintain it.

Answer: For some people, there is that magical click where everything falls into place before quitting or just after, but for most of us, the reshaping of attitude into the “right” mindset comes gradually, one day at a time. 

Remembering the Past

I clearly remember smoking my last cigarette. I fervently hoped it would be my last, but I was far from confident. I desperately wanted to quit, but I was an addict with 26 years of training. That training had (falsely) taught me that I was weak and lacked the will and determination to quit smoking for the long term. So, as much as I wanted to stop, I was shaky and unsure of myself when I started out. I think most of us are.

Support

I found the support forum at About.com Smoking Cessation 9 days into my quit program. It was there that I learned that the release from nicotine addiction is a process, not an event. It was a revelation for me to understand that this addiction lets go a little at a time, and that healing involves mending the psychological side of the habit – all of the associations we built up over the years.

Practice Makes Perfect

I made up my mind to settle in and apply myself to the task of breaking the links in the chains that bound me, one at a time, however long that might take. I fed my quit program with daily doses of education and support, making a point to end every day on a note of gratitude. That part was easy - all I had to do was think about the fact that I hadn't smoked that day, and I was thankful. Incorporating these things into life until they became a natural part of my routine took work, but in the end were stepping stones to the mindset I was trying to develop -- one that would permanently take me away from smoking.

Knowledge is Power

Education is a powerful tool that can help us change how we think about smoking. Start reading everything you can find about nicotine addiction and the recovery process. When you know what to expect and have a plan in place to manage the bumps in the road, those bumps are less likely to trip you up. Education takes you out of the role of being a helpless victim of addiction and puts you in the driver’s seat with your quit program.

Changing Our Relationship to Smoking

Facing nicotine addiction head on has another significant benefit. By looking closely at the scope of the damage and death smoking causes, we begin to think differently about our buddy, the cigarette, and we start to change our relationship with smoking. How can something that kills so many so ruthlessly be a friend? Education will help you take the blinders off, and that is a very good thing.

The Power of Now

Our power to affect change in our lives always lies in the present. What we do today has great influence over our tomorrows – an important thing to remember in this process. Keep your eye on the prize and stay firmly planted in the day you have in front of you only. 

Recovery is a Process

It's important to remember...recovery from nicotine addiction is a process, not an event. That process involves education, support and the patience to let a new way of being take shape for you. Use these tools to create the winning attitude that will bring you the permanent freedom you're looking for.

Anything Worth Having is Worth Working For

Yes, quitting tobacco is hard work at times, especially early on, but dig your feet in and take it on.

Remind yourself daily about why you want to quit smoking, and picture yourself as a contented nonsmoker, free of the need to light up every hour on the hour.

It’s not a far fetched concept – it’s doable, and you have the ability to make it happen, right now. Believe it and believe in yourself.

The rewards far outweigh the work it takes to achieve freedom from nicotine addiction, I promise you.

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