If you are trying to stop smoking, it is good to take the time to ask yourself why you want to quit. And I know that to you, it may seem obvious, but you would be surprised to discover that the why can control your chances of success.
There is a kind of statement beginning with ¨When I¨. Here are a few examples.
- When I make more money, I will no longer worry.
- When I get a new job, I will be free.
- When I stop smoking, my partner will stop nagging me.
- When I give up smoking, my husband will buy me that car he is promising.
- When I go on holiday, I will be able to relax.
- When I stop smoking, my boyfriend will be kind to me and will propose.
- When I quit smoking, my wife, who earns more than me, will respect me.
- When I lose weight, I will find someone who loves me.
- When I give up smoking, I will not be so anxious about the possibility of a heart attack or stroke.
- When I give up smoking, I will no longer worry about getting lung cancer and leaving my children orphaned.
So basically, we tell ourselves that once we have that thing that we need, then we will be happy. However, there are many happy people the world over who are very poor, never go on holiday, or never get a new job. That is because happiness is a state of being, rather than a state dependent on a particular achievement.
There are two ways of giving up smoking. One way involves at least some help to resolve the underlying emotional reasons, and another way does not. Do not get me wrong here; I am not suggesting that you have to spend money or see someone in order to stop smoking, there is also self-help. So let me explain more about the ¨When I¨ driver for stopping smoking. When we reach our goal of giving up smoking by going cold turkey, medication, or habit modification, we are happy for a while, but then there is something else we find ourselves needing. You may know of people who stopped smoking but gained weight overeating, or who became so irritable, they went back to smoking, or who one day out of the blue, picked up a cigarette and started all over again. But when they first stopped, they were happy. They had this great few months of feeling great. What happened? The reason is that we have not solved the root cause behind the need to stop smoking. So we think that stopping smoking will make us happy, but after the Dampfen subsides, we are on the lookout for something again.
Time and time again, I have had clients come to me for stopping smoking just because their partner wanted it. And I usually weed them out, but some do slip through. My suspicion is that they genuinely tell themselves that they want to give up because of their own reasons, and for a while make themselves believe it. But this has a great deal of inherent problems. For someone who is a non-smoker to fall in love with a smoker and then insist that they stop, there is a problem. The non-smoker in that relationship for some reason fell in love with someone they find repugnant. It is good to ask why, what has gone wrong in the non-smoking partner´s life to cause them to seek out relationships with people they are incompatible with? And the smoker in that relationship is making a big lifestyle change only in order to keep the relationship. It is good to ask what has gone so wrong in the smoker´s life that they allow themselves to be controlled so strongly by their partner? There is a problem in the relationship dynamic here, and time after time, I find that either the smoker is not ready to stop as yet, or that the couple break up. It is not always so clear-cut, and there are many respectful non-smokers that ask their partners to stop; for example, if they are planning to have children soon.
Most people come to me to stop smoking because they are aware that if they continue, they will have heart attacks, strokes, and may get cancer of the lung, throat, or some other painful way of an early demise. And that is the norm. However, for some people, they are anxious that they may die of a smoking-related illness, and think to themselves that when they stop smoking, they will be safe from the diseases that terrify them. Can you see the difference here? One smoker is simply aware of the dangers of continuing smoking and is making a decision to change. Another smoker is terrified and anxious about the consequences of continuing smoking, and is driven not by a desire to be healthy but the need to avoid the terror situation of serious disease and death. Chances are that the latter smoker has some anxiety, whether diagnosed or not. What this person needs is to address the anxiety or nervousness. Simply stopping smoking will not last, because as the person´s anxiety returns after the initial no-smoking euphoria, the easiest and quickest way that person knows how to cope is to have a cigarette. And then the whole thing starts all over again.
Maybe you can ask yourself, what is the feeling you are trying to achieve by stopping smoking? Do you feel that you will be lovable or safe when you have lost the weight? In that case, are you not actually at some level thinking that you are unlovable or unsafe as you are? The fact is that when you love yourself and forgive yourself and anyone else involved in whatever hurts you have suffered, you will have resolved the underlying reasons to smoking, and you will no longer need to medicate yourself with cigarettes or anything else instead. EFT, short for Emotional Freedom Techniques, is a great way to work on any emotional block in your path. Or if EFT is not for you, you can use EMDR, NLP, or whatever works for you.
So, ask yourself, what do you want to achieve by stopping smoking? If it is at least partly that you want to be loved or safe, this is exactly what you can work on to ensure that you are quitting for the right reasons. Because when you do, the results can last. And that is wonderful in every way.