In the month prior to quitting I spent hours and hours researching quit methods, strategies and tips, and I read countless testimonials.
The Investment of TimeI posted my first message on a smoking cessation forum 18 hours after my last cigarette, and I kept on posting and reading and posting and reading. For the first few weeks, I spent hours every night and before work reading and posting.
I think if you want to change a behavior that is as ingrained as smoking is, it is important to have as much reinforcement as possible. Accepting and offering support provide ideal reinforcement for your decision to quit. Reading and writing positive and life-affirming messages is an invaluable tool.
I can remember early on, some of my friends looked at me sideways when I confided that I spent many hours reading and posting. They thought it was ridiculous, and they are also still smoking. Please don't ever feel badly about the amount of time you spend here reading articles and posting, and if family or friends are not understanding, please tell them that you are investing this time now so that you have more time with them later.
The Emotional InvestmentAs much as the support give-and-take is important, so is emotional investment or introspection. I know I benefited by taking an emotional inventory. I asked myself a lot of questions I was afraid to ask before I quit smoking. Why did I start smoking, and how have I changed since then? Why did I want to quit? Did smoking fill some void in my life, and what will I do with it now that I don't smoke? Was I hiding behind a smoke screen, and if so from what or whom? Some of these questions are tough to address, but I think the best way to prevent revisiting a self-destructive time is to know why we were there and why we stayed there as long as we did. This self-study can make for some emotional, even painful moments, but don't be afraid of it; welcome it and any accompanying tears as a positive step in your healing.
Some are reluctant to believe me when I say that I know I will never smoke again. Well, my investment over the last 4 years is simply too great for me to ever entertain the thought of taking even one puff. During those years, and especially the first one, as my investment in smoke-freedom grew, the likelihood of my ever smoking again dwindled. So, as wonderful as it is to put more and more time between you and your last cigarette, how you invest that time can have a great impact on your progress and ultimate success.