How to Stop Smoking: 3 Mindset Shifts

Smoking, smoker, stop smoking, www.carlyknapp.com

After two decades as a smoker and ten years trying to stop, I finally smoked my last cigarette. I didn’t do it with nicotine supplements or by setting a stop date. Instead, I changed my mindset towards smoking.

To stop smoking, I had to keep smoking. Instead of marking a day to stop smoking, I chose a day to change the way I smoked.

In my journey to freedom from life as a smoker, there were three crucial mindset shifts. It wasn’t about changing my actions but about changing my mindset. Here is what I discovered.

1. Enjoy Smoking

To start, I began smoking mindfully and smoking with intention. Once the cigarette was lit, I would sit back, relax and enjoy. With each drag, I  watched it come towards my lips, inhale slowly, taste the smoke and watch the smoke leave my lungs.

This technique uses mindfulness and being in the present moment. We are rarely present when we smoke. Whether we are chatting, zoning out or multitasking, mindful smoking is a rare occurance. Are you actually enjoying what you are doing? By mindfully smoking, I realized I did not enjoy smoking; just the opposite. I hated it.

2. It’s not Nicotine

Once I learned “nicotine addiction” wasn’t the problem, it made me restrategize. It was now a mental battle instead of a physical battle. When I stopped lighting up I felt no physical pain without nicotine. I had the thoughts, “I want a cigarette” but I did not hurt or need to smoke. This led me to treat my cravings as thoughts; not physical pangs.

I thank this realization to Alan Carr’s, The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. In the book, he points out that the physical nicotine cravings are gone after 3 weeks and start going away immediately. If I could just get to 3 weeks, I knew the need would no longer be there.

3. The Beginning of the End

Finally, I realized I would never smoke again. I couldn’t be a part-time or occasional smoker. This time it wasn’t about cutting back. It was about stopping, completely. I was not going to try to stop. I was stopping. Once that three week mark had passed and I intellectually knew that the physical desire was gone, I did not want to start over. Again, I thank Alan Carr for this because it is a primary principle of his book.