January 22, 2008

The Easy Way To Quit Smoking (Without Patches or Gimmicks)

Forget patches, hypnotists and insulting public service announcements. Quitting smoking could be easier than you think. It was for me...

Why Most Methods Don't Work
First of all, let's not kid ourselves. Quitting smoking is obviously not easy, as evidenced by the sheer number of smokers who have quit smoking, only to return to it within days, months or even years.

But the problem isn't that the smoking habit is insurmountable. The problem is that many of the methods for quitting smoking are inadequate. Indeed, all unsuccessful methods share one thing in common: they attempt to change the smoking, and not the smoker!

A Hard Fact About The Easy Way
Albert Einstein once said, The problems that exist in the world cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them. The problem of overcoming smoking is no different. You will be a different person after quitting than you were when you were a smoker.

This is perhaps the most difficult part about quitting smoking, and is the reason behind many failed attempts. You see, smoking is not only a habit, it is an identity. When you tell people that you are a smoker, you aren't merely describing a habit -- you're describing an image! Quitting smoking, then, denies you access to that image. And smoking is an image that, for some people, is too precious to give up.

A Mental Game
Because of this, quitting smoking is very much a mental game, far more than it is a physical one.

Not a physical problem, you might ask? What about cravings, or the agony of withdrawal? Here again, the mind reigns supreme; how can the body ache for what the mind does not crave?

Now, I'm not speaking merely about philosophy or theory. I'm talking about a technique that my own experience proves. I quit cold-turkey, and suffered no withdrawal and no cravings. In fact, I have not even had the slightest interest in smoking ever since.

Such a remarkable turnaround is possible only after the mental game has been won. Once the mental game is won, the physical need to smoke is crushed.

Winning The Mental Game
So, how is the mental game won? It is won through the use of emotive visualization, peering into a dark and hopeless future and seizing the power to change it now.

This method is based on the pleasure/pain principle made popular by Anthony Robbins. The idea is to attach the utmost pain to smoking, and to recognize the pleasure that awaits you in a smoke-free life.

By winning the mental game, withdrawal symptoms simply do not occur. Once you have associated enough pain with the smoking habit, the only time you feel sick is when you think about smoking!

Ultimate Pain
Smokers, contrary to what public service commercials seem to suggest, are not stupid. They know that smoking isn't healthy. But smokers associate enough pleasure with smoking that, psychologically, it simply isn't worth quitting. Employing the ultimate pain principle, however, tips those scales dramatically!

The first step is to build a powerful image in your mind of exactly how painful smoking can and will be to you. Don't skimp on the details, and be sure to be brutally honest. Take the approach of "anything bad that can happen, will happen".

Here's an example of what I visualized:
I imagine that I'm looking in a mirror. This isn't a regular mirror, though. Instead of looking at myself, I am looking at myself 30 years from now. And what I see is ghastly! I am shriveled and frail. I am sitting in a wheelchair and must carry an oxygen tank with me. I can't speak at a normal volume, for any effort to speak brings about a wicked coughing spasm, which then makes it difficult to breathe -- and my regular breathing is labored as it is! I feel an emptyness as I think of the things that I shall never do, like traveling. Not only can I not go to distant lands, but even going to the local grocery store is a herculean effort. I ache with sympathy for the being I see in the mirror, my soul yearns to offer comfort or help. Then, my future self looks at me right in the eye and asks,full of anger -- full of hatred -- why did you do this to me?
If you do this right, you will never smoke again! I say the process is easy, but emotionally it can actually be quite draining. You are essentially subjecting yourself to a lifetime of pain in a very short period of time. But it is certainly worth it!

As I mentioned earlier, permanently quitting smoking literally changes who you are. In my next article, I will show you how to manage the transition from being a smoker to being a non-smoker.

Also at Babblermouth:
Who Are You?
Financial Freedom Series 1 -- Cause and Effect
The Next Big Challenge

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