The Best Way to Quit Smoking – Just Break Your Back for Success
Now breaking your back to quit smoking is, of course, more than just a little extreme. But it does illustrate an important point. One of the hands-down best ways to quit smoking is to hang your quitting on a major life event.
My wife did break her back (a horse-riding accident) two years ago – and she hasn’t smoked since. She knew, lying on her recently repaired back in the hospital, that this was the needed impetus and the perfect opportunity to really try to quit smoking. And it worked for her.
Any drastic change in our lives usually comes right on the heels of a major life event. The loss of a job or a spouse, the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, a marriage – these are the kinds of things that jolt us into finally changing a long-entrenched behavior. And the same holds true for quitting smoking. But it has to be a big event in our lives, something that enormously alters the status quo, for it to work.
Consider New Year’s resolutions. Why do we almost never keep them? Well, because the arrival of a new year just isn’t a big enough event to lead to any kind of dramatic or lasting change. We have good intentions for a couple of weeks, but the impetus wanes and the desire dwindles. After all, most of us see the arrival of 60 to 80 new years in our lives, a familiarity which lessens the impact. If, then, you’re going to approach your quitting smoking in this way, make sure the peg you hang it on is a big and sturdy peg.
The reason this method works is that when something genuinely life-altering happens to us, we generally change our thinking. We begin to perceive people and events in a new light, our priorities change, and our behaviors often jump out of their accustomed deep ruts – all because our thoughts are different, which leads to different beliefs, which results in changed behaviors.
When my wife severely injured her back, her priorities instantly changed. Immediate survival became paramount. And she was worried about ever again holding and playing with her grandchildren. Sucking on a cigarette just didn’t seem to be very important. (And keep in mind that she had been a 3-pack-a-day smoker for almost 30 years). Her thinking changed. But, in the long run, it wasn’t quite enough.
When her mind began to return to its old familiar grooves, thus allowing the cravings for a cigarette to become almost overwhelming, she turned to patches and pills. Besides being very expensive, they worked only to a limited degree. These chemical aids just masked the problem only slightly – the old thought patterns and the desire were still there. But, because of the recent major life event, she was able to tough it out and make it work. Still, it all could have been much easier.
If my wife had had access to the some of the proven stop-smoking techniques other people have successfully used, her battle would have been so much easier. At the time, though, we weren’t aware of these programs. A major life event is key, but, as we found out, successful quitting sometimes requires just a little bit more.
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