Three simple tips for quitting smoking
These are the three main principles that I used while quitting smoking. They worked for me, and they might work for you if you want to quit or significantly reduce your smoking. I started smoking when I was fifteen years old and smoked for eight years after that. For most of that time, I smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day. Now, I am eight years completely smoke-free. Before that, there were two years when I had maybe two or three cigarettes in total. These are my three principles:
1. Focus on short time periods.
Live your non-smoking life one day at a time. Every day, set yourself a goal that you will not smoke that day. This will take away the burden of identifying yourself as an absolute non-smoker. Identify yourself simply as a person that will not smoke today. You don't have to carry the burden of transforming yourself into a non-smoker right now. Instantaneous and complete personality transformations are very rare (if not impossible). Setting yourself a complete personality transformation as a goal will almost certainly be overwhelming. Thus, avoid it. Remember, you can start smoking tomorrow if you decide to do so. Quitting smoking is not a prison sentence. It is a choice that you made.
2. Within those shorter time periods, focus on the immediate present. Be proud of the fact you are not smoking NOW, at this moment.
This will make you even prouder if you feel strong craving for cigarettes. If you focus on being proud of not smoking, you will be proud that you are overcoming this craving. If you focus on the NOW, you will always be in a position to be proud of not smoking. This also means that you will avoid thoughts like this one: Wouldn't it be nice to light up a cigarette. This thought is about the future. And, if you focus on your present non-smoking, this will displace thoughts about your future smoking. Again, remember, you can start smoking any moment in the future if you decide to do so. The reason why you are not smoking right now is because you don't want to.
3. Know that your past does not determine your future; your present determines your future.
There is no reason to feel bad about your past attempts to quit smoking. The fact that you did not become a complete non-smoker in the past does not determine whether or not you will smoke now. If our past determined our future, then no one would ever learn anything. Learning is impossible without "failure". If you have never "failed", you have never learned anything.