This is a guest post by Jonathan Woodbell the first ever on this blog – the first of many, we hope.
I had been smoking for a very long time, longer than I care to remember. I must have been a young lad, no older than 7, when other kids had stolen cigarettes from their fathers and brought them in to school for everyone to smoke. It was during these times that I took up the habit.
I almost lost my life to it when last year I was told by my doctor that my arteries and lungs were worsening and that action had to be taken as quickly as possible. I walked away feeling increasingly stressed and worried about what I was doing to my family. Suddenly, years of nagging by my wife to give up had more of a bearing, and I realised that to turn my life around I would need to turn the weaknesses in my life into my strengths.
The number one tool in achieving anything of note in life is willpower; without this no task can be accomplished. I had to dig deep and show resolve and character, and I also came up (with the help of my wife) a unique idea in helping me do this.
I took a three step approach to quitting smoking;
- I dipped all of my cigarettes in the rubbish before putting them back in the packet. When I absolutely could not resist a cigarette anymore, I took one out, lit it and took a drag; the actual disgusting feeling almost made me puke, and this helped because my mind created a cognitive dissonance with the product, I no longer looked forward to smoking cigarettes. This is similar to how pets are trained, and works along the theories used by marketers in advertising.
- Weaning oneself off cigarettes or any addictive habit is a tough process, but products that are not as bad are a good half way house in doing so. I used electronic cigarettes to get rid of the tobacco in cigarettes then nicotine free electronic cigarettes to get rid of the nicotine too so eventually it was just a physical habit without any side effects.
- This is the somewhat innovative idea. On all of my cigarette packets, I placed passport sized images of my wife and kids on them so that each time I looked at the packet I would feel the guilt, and realise each time what was most important in life.
Doing all of these things was great for me because I have come out of this a stronger person, I now feel that if I train my mind with self-belief and courage then I can achieve anything.
My doctor is happier for it, my wife and kids are happier for it, and I’m happier and healthier for it.
That was great, Jonathan. And some fantastic advice in there from what was a very heart-felt article.
Every smoker is different and everyone gives up in a different way. For example, I didn’t need will-power and I didn’t use electronic cigarettes or any other replacement therapy. I particularly like the ideas of dipping the cigarettes in the trash and putting photos of your loved ones inside the cellophane of the packet.