Here’s secret number one: How you quit smoking doesn’t make a lot of difference and actually isn’t that important.
Most smokers want to believe that there must be some specific, particular official way to quit, but there isn’t. Smokers have quit in every way imaginable. Smokers have quit by going cold turkey and they’ve quit by cutting back slowly. Smokers have quit using hypnosis, or acupuncture or pumping iron or bowling. Some smokers have used the nicotine patches or nicotine inhalers, Chantix or Zyban; others have used Tootsie Rolls and Juicy Fruit or a combination of them all. Many smokers haven’t used anything at all. Some smokers tell a lot of people they’re quitting and others keep their quitting to themselves. Some smokers get some coaching, or counseling, and many others do it on their own. Smokers have used all these ways to quit. How you personally quit actually doesn’t make a lot of difference, (although of course there are some common patterns among successful quitters.) That’s secret number one. How you do it doesn’t matter a whole lot. So you’re free to do it in whatever way you feel moved. There’s no “official” or “right” way to quit smoking.
Secrets number two and three: It also doesn’t make much difference as to Where you quit or When you quit. In regards to where, smokers have quit while in a cabin in the mountains a hundred miles from the nearest store, and they’ve quit in the middle of a smoky back room offices. Some smokers have quit when they were happy and healthy at home and others quit when they were sick and tired in the hospital.
In regards to when, some smokers have quit while relaxing on vacation and other smokers have quit in the middle of a work week. Smokers have quit on the weekend, on their birthdays, on Valentines Day and National Hockey Puck Day. Smokers have quit in thousands of different places and at thousands of different times. Again, there are common patterns, but where and when you quit doesn’t make a great deal of difference.
The real secret to quitting, and what does make a difference is why. If you haven’t quit yet, you need a different why! The why of quitting has to be something more than “because I should, and it’s politically correct.” It even has to be more than, “for health reasons.“ Even though you probably should quit smoking and it is indeed politically correct these days to be a non-smoker, and yes, there are ten thousand good health reasons to quit, if you haven’t quit yet then these are not good enough reasons, and never will be!
The “why” of quitting must be very personal, immediate and, if at all possible, sweet, enjoyable, fun. Fear, guilt and shame have proven not to be good enough reasons for most smokers to quit. But if you have just one secret, juicy, personal, enjoyable “why” reason to quit, the process itself becomes quite easy.
What are some good why reasons? Again, they have to be very personal, but some we have encountered are, “because I want to play the trombone again… because I want to look good on the sailboat…because I want to climb to the top of Long’s Peak…because I want to dance at my granddaughter’s wedding…because I want to express freedom in every area of my life…to show mom… to show that bastard (bitch) … to be more sexy.”
The real secret of quitting is in the why. When you have your own personal, deeply felt, “why,” you have your first class- ticket out of there!
My new book, How to Stop Smoking in Fifteen Easy Years, Guaranteed— A Slacker’s Guide to Final Freedom— will be published by Seven Traditions Press in August. I’ll be giving away fifty free copies. Send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be entered into the drawing.