Until the age of 18 I was so against smoking that being around anyone who smoked would make me very angry. Sadly, life events can get in the way of straight thinking. As a result of few misfortunes in 1999, I turned my attention to smoking.
At first, I started smoking one cigarette and this carried on for few months. Until one evening, I decided to drive to the local petrol station and buy my first packet of 10 cigarettes.
This was the biggest mistake of my life!
Everything I thought and knew about this horrible habit went out of the window. Soon I was having to explain myself to everyone who knew how anti, smoking I was. It was not easy!
In 2000, I ventured off to university where my life was going to take another twist and almost cost me my life. I am not going to go into the full details of what happened, as this is a story in itself. However, what I will say is that this event resulted in me spending 2 1/2 weeks in intensive care. I was diagnosed with meningitis and sever case of pneumonia.
During my stay in hospital and for obvious reasons, I was not allowed to smoke. Which made total sense even to a young 20 year old like myself. I was convinced that this was my the end of my smoking road, and once I returned back to the outside world, “I was never going to smoke again!”
Then – I made the biggest mistake of my life once again!
On my first night out of the hospital and feeling much better, I phoned my best friend at the time to ask him to buy me some cigarettes as my mum or my brother would NOT. However, I could not stop myself, and needed that nicotine rush.
Despite going through hell and back in hospital including having to be brought back to life. I didn’t learn my lesson. I used this as my reason to why I needed to start smoking again.
Does this mind trick sound familiar to you?
I bet it does – we all smokers have it in us! We use our life events to help us carry on smoking.
From 2000 to 2007, I tried so many different ways to stop smoking . From nicotine gums, to going cold turkey. However, nothing worked.
Each time I stopped smoking it would last sometimes few hours to few weeks. But I would always find a reason to start all over again. I would say to myself, I will only have one more or, I will have only few each week. However, it never works out like that.
You can’t hide the fact smoking is addictive and it’s not easy to give up. I totally understand where you coming from. I am sure, like me, you have tried so many different options but nothing worked.
It was not until 2013 when, I finally found the ultimate way to stop smoking!
I was on my own at home and have been coughing for few weeks. The cough was not easing off and I started again to consider stopping smoking. But knowing my past tendencies I could not believe I was capable of doing it. This made me question myself!
Why am I any different to anyone else who stops smoking?
I knew it would make no sense to try anything I have done before as it didn’t work. Therefore, I had to come up with something new. I had to think outside the box and look at the bigger picture. I had to figure out myself why I still smoke!
Once the process started, it was not long before, I came up with the most ultimate stop smoking plan.
Step 1 – Find your reasons why you want to stop smoking
If you want to stop smoking you need to start with yourself! Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do you smoke?
- When do you smoke the most?
- How many cigarette(s) do you actually enjoy each day?
- If you stopped smoking today which cigarette would you missed the most? The one in the morning, lunch, in the car or after your tea?
- Why you want to stop smoking?
- What will you do when you stop smoking?
- If you had £200 to £300 extra a month, what would you do with it?
- What do you hate most about smoking?
- What would you prefer in life smoking or better health?
The above questions are designed to help you get started. So, please feel free to add your own questions and answer them honestly. This will help you build a picture of your habits, desires, and how you see your life without cigarettes in your pocket.
If you have answered the questions correctly then you will notice that smoking is not actually addictive but it’s something we do ever single day – in fact it’s a habit! We get used to it very quickly. I don’t know a single smoker who will say to me that the enjoy every single cigarette they smoke.
Most of the cigarettes we have are just form of our habit, and it’s not something we enjoy. I can honestly say that I used to enjoy 1 to 2 cigarettes out of 20. The 18 to 19 cigarettes I used to smoke was just to keep my habit going as I didn’t know what else to do.
I always thought it was the addiction to nicotine, but now I don’t believe this was the case.
I used to get up in the morning and the first thing I would do would be to make myself a coffee and have a cigarette. Every time I tried to stop this first cigarette was the hardest one to get over as well as the one after work. During work, I could actually pull through somehow.
Once I answered the questions above – I started to build my own picture which, I am positive will also help you follow my footsteps to being smoke free.
Let me explain
You and me are human! As humans we are creatures of habit and in order to remove this habit we need to replace it with something new.
This is the key to stopping smoking.
When I tried to stop smoking in the past, I didn’t find anything new to replace my smoking habit. I tried just to stop and move on with my life. I am not saying this is not possible, as many have the willpower to do this! Sadly, I am not part of that same group and you a probably in the same shoes I was few years ago.
In order to succeed this time round, I was needed the ultimate stop smoking plan!
I searched the internet left, right and centre but nothing fitted me and my lifestyle. You see, I am a very busy individually. Running a number of businesses, being a loving husband and daddy to my two awesome kids. My life style is very stressful and consist of many long hours with little sleep.
It’s this lifestyle which pushed me to smoke, as I used to think smoking was my answer to relaxing more. But this was only a deception! Me and you know this – but would never say it aloud. If anything smoking only makes us more hyper due to 200+ chemicals we have just added to our blood stream.
Once you understand that the concept of how your brain works then stopping smoking will happen naturally.
Step 2 – Start to see your life after stopping to smoke
In order to stop smoking for good, I needed to find something which would replace smoking! I have always kept myself through playing football, swimming, weight lifting and running. For me this was the best place to start as I love staying in shape.
I knew that by stopping smoking my body could achieve much more.
In order to put this into context, I used the above questions to create my ultimate stop smoking plan. This is what I wanted to achieve in my life after stopping smoking:
- I wanted to run 5km in 18 minutes.
- I wanted to have regular breakfast and lunch.
- I didn’t want to go to the shop every single day to buy cigarettes.
- I wanted to enjoy smelling nice rather then masking the cigarette smell (which I must add it horrible) – so planned to invest the money I would save into achieving this.
- I wanted to have better overall health so I could live longer for my kids, and enjoy playing in the park with them without getting out of breath.
This was not a massive list, but ever single desire on the list had a lot of meaning to me. You need to follow my footsteps and create the same list which is important to you. Don’t use money as the reason, as I don’t think money is a good enough reason to stop smoking.
Money comes and goes but you only have one life!
Therefore, this list needs to be about you! What you want to leave behind when you cross over to the other side. Remember you only have one life and health while money will come and go. If you healthy and willing to work then money will follow. However, if you don’t have your health or life then all the money in world will not bring you back.
From my own list I concluded, that the best way forward was to replace my smoking habit with more important habits in my life. It’s important that you don’t drag this step out way too long as it will get lost in your life very quickly. It took me around 1 hour to put this into practice and you can do the same!
Step 3 – You are ready to stop smoking
Now you have your plan of what you want your life to be after stopping smoking. It’s important to take the next step and actually say bye to your last smoke. I am not going to say it’s going to be easy but if you follow my footsteps as covered in this article then you will find it much easier.
I remember my last cigarette like it was yesterday. I was in my back garden smoking away only one hour after doing the list which I outlined in step 2. It was my last cigarette in my pack of 20. I finished it and said to myself ‘me and you are done‘
I returned back to the house, and picked up my daughter and went for a long walk to clear my head. Through my first few months of being smoke free, I found walking with my family to be one of the most beneficial parts of stopping smoking.
We would go for walks almost every night after work. Walking was start of my new fitness journey as if you remember in my list, I wanted to run 5km in 18 minutes. Not just once but 3 to 4 times a week. In order to achieve this I would need to learn start my fitness process one step at the time. The same process you will go through when you stop smoking.
It’s important to understand this process will take time, and should not be rushed. However, you should stop smoking as soon as you have done your list. Your next chapter in life will take months, if not years to achieve. Don’t get put of by this!
In life we need to work towards goals as this keeps us happy, healthy and motivated. You don’t need to drop masses of weight in just one week, or run 5km in 18 minutes within few days. These type of life changing activities takes months, if not years to achieve. Therefore, it’s important set your goals and work towards them one step at the time.
In order to achieve your goals you need to see yourself in the future – you want to see and feel the goals as they are accomplished. What I am trying to teach you is that life is a long and twisty road with many ups and downs. During this journey we need to find ways to keep our minds focused in order to keep moving forward.
I want you reformat your mind with a new vision which is without a pack of cigarettes in your pocket!
This is a new lifestyle which you need to carry with you for many years to come, and hopefully forever. So, don’t think of short gains, but focus on long term achievements and success will follow you.
Step 4 – Replace the habit with a new one
Remember in step 1, I asked you “If you stopped smoking today which cigarette would you missed the most? The one in the morning, lunch, in the car or after your tea?”
This is a very important question as it’s these cigarettes which are the most likely to take you back to smoking. Therefore, we need to find alternatives to replace these habits. For me this was simple. I wanted to eat better as my smoking habit used to replace majority of my food intake.
I would rather have a quick cigarette then eat a pear or an apple. My most important cigarette was in the morning as I would usually have 2 to 3 before leaving for work. For this reason, I would miss having breakfast or have something really quick on the go.
Therefore, when I stopped smoking I changed this habit to – fresh fruit salad with honey, and a newspaper.
Smoking is not only bad for us but it also costs us time!