Keep your eye on the prize. In other words, don’t ever let yourself forget why you’re quitting smoking. Even though there may be days when you feel awful, remind yourself of what your objectives are. You may feel physically ill when you stop smoking. Your emotions may go off the scale, and you’ll have mood swings. Each of these is natural response. You need to handle these dark periods with a silver-lining approach. The long-term silver lining is regaining your health and well-being. The short-term silver lining is every minute, hour, day, week, and month you manage to resist the urge.
Celebrate your successes. They keep you motivated and help you to keep a positive outlook. If you dwell on the negatives, you’re likely to give up. You won’t be able to see the good that is going to come from stopping. Then you’re going to wonder why you’re putting yourself and your body through this. Keep a journal. For each day that you’ve remained smoke-free, write down a message of positive encouragement to yourself. Find the good in each day that has come from the fact that you no longer smoke.
Enjoy the freedom
Nicotine is an addictive substance. It becomes your master. It dictates when you do things. You get to a point where you can’t do certain things without smoking first. Some people can’t start their day without a cigarette. Others report being unable to sleep without having a cigarette right before bed. After a few hours without a cigarette, your master reminds you that it’s time for a fix. You start thinking about how good it’s going to feel. Soon, you can think of nothing else. Then you go and have a cigarette. Your master has managed to get you to serve it again.
When you stop smoking, you break the shackles, and your habit no longer dictates what you do and when you do it. It is very liberating. It’s important to see quitting smoking as emancipation, not a punishment. When you find yourself deciding what the last thing you do before bedtime is, you’ll realize that nicotine no longer rules your life. The freedom to spend your money on other things and to spend your time doing other things is a great feeling. Keep your eye on this prize when times are tough. It’s worth it in the end.