I didn’t quit smoking because I began a healthier life. I switched to a healthier lifestyle and so I automatically quit smoking.
I first started smoking at 21 during my Erasmus year (study abroad period during University) in Spain, which was the time in my life in which I smoked the most. It was my period as a student in a foreign country where smoking was still permitted in all the bars.
And so I continued smoking for 18 years, even when smoking began to be prohibited in many countries.
However, within the last years, I decreased the amount of cigarettes I smoked and the last months before I quit smoking I had reduced my smoking down to just one cigarette before going to bed.
I remember that when I first started smoking less, people kept asking me why I wasn’t quitting completely and my response was always this one: because I didn’t feel like it.
I didn’t feel like it because it was a habit that I had created, and also, I didn’t want to oblige myself to quit because I simply do not like the idea of having obligations.
I have already explained the dynamics behind habits in my post How to create (and maintain) new habits where I also gave you some techniques to change them.
In this post, I would like to talk directly to those people who are thinking about quit smoking (or smoking less) and also hate forcing themselves to do things.
- Pinpoint the root of the anxiety which is guiding your behavior. Pay attention to the average situations in which your habit of smoking takes place and analyze how you feel once you have finished that cigarette. For example, I used to smoke a cigarette right before heading to bed and I would also smoke right after dinner in order to conclude the day, disconnect and just relax.
- Change the routine. Continuing with the example from above, nowadays I conclude my day by washing all the dishes from dinner and leaving a clean kitchen in order to start the next day on the right foot. When you wash dishes, your mind begins to wander and I can see it as a good way to end the day, which additionally, leaves everything tidied up.
- Believe the change is possible and speak positively. Phrases like “I will never be able to conquer this bad habit, I just can’t,” will need to be changed to “I can and I will change this habit” and this applies to all the other negative thoughts that may come your way.
- Start with a small change that doesn’t require much effort or stress. I didn’t go from smoking 10 cigarettes to smoking zero. In the last years, I was smoking less and less until I got to the point in which I was only smoking one nightly. Instead of saying that you will quit smoking your 10 cigarettes a day, you can begin by stating that you will smoke only 9 cigarettes and then continue decreasing the number every week.
- Be clear about your objectives and motivation, the reason why you want to accomplish this. Make sure to define that objective perfectly. For example, “I want to quit smoking because in 3 months I want to participate in a 5K marathon and if I quit smoking, I’ll be able to have more resistance and won’t need to drop out before the finish line.”
- Ask for help. Under my post Personal Trainer: Is it worth it? I shared one of my philosophies in life which is: if I don’t know something, I’ll ask, and if I have the chance to ask experts, even better. This is the same as asking for help and there is nothing wrong with that. But it is also important to get help from friends and family: to share what our objective is and why it’s important.
There are many books and different techniques that claim to assist in helping you quit smoking, but from personal experience, I believe that what helps the most is to feel at ease with yourself, not having any stress, and developing other healthy habits in tandem, such as exercising and having a balanced diet.
As I often repeat throughout this blog, everything is related: body, mind, and emotions.
I used to smoke the cigarette at night to end the day, to leave everything behind and avoid thinking of anything.
However, since I began doing what I love and started avoiding things (and people) which cause me stress, the only thing I now do to end the day is to be thankful for all the good things that happened in the last 15 hours.
Today, for example, among many other things, I will be thankful for having written this blog post, which I hope will be of much help to women around the world.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this content, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d be thrilled to hear your opinions and help with any question you may have.
Thank you for investing your time in reading my words.
A big hug!
Claudia Canu is a former junk food and sugar addict transformed into a Health Motivator with a master’s degree in Nutrition. She has created this website not only to share her “Journey to her Healthy Forties” but also to help other busy women with basic knowledge about nutrition and who don’t love cooking, to live a healthier life, and achieve big goals.