Has the fear of a heart attack, emphysema, or lung cancer ever stopped you? No. The reason is that smoking kills nerve endings in your mouth, throat and lungs. You don’t smell or taste as much as you used to, right? Years go by, and that’s how the damage is done. So since you feel no pain, knowing the negative consequences of smoking isn’t sufficient motivation. And since the majority of cigarettes you smoke are simply out of habit, you don’t think about the dangers, even with the graphic images on the cigarette pack or dire warnings from your doctor.
Motivation only comes in two flavors: fear, pain, suffering… or self-interest.
Here’s what I have found helps people be successful long-term: focusing on the positive rather than the negative… on what you want, and not on what you don’t want. Hypnosis is a focusing and amplifying tool that can help you to do just that.
In other words, it is more useful to focus on “being a non-smoker”, rather than on “not smoking”. Try not to think about a pink elephant right now and you’ll understand what I mean. Try not to think about smoking and that’s all you can think about… when can you have your next cigarette. For most smokers, thinking about “not smoking” causes great anxiety!
And when is quitting something a positive? It sounds like failure. Focusing on the positive, and on being different in situations when you used to smoke is what makes being a non-smoker more sustainable.
After all, who wants to live with a dark cloud hanging over their head? Do you need to amplify more stress and worry in your life? That could cause a heart attack!
Once you have chosen your day to become a non-smoker, reducing the amount you smoke per day rather than stopping “cold turkey” is paramount. Going from smoking 10, 15, or 20 cigarettes (or more) per day is like jumping off a fast moving train. It’s going to be difficult and turn your world upside down.
The key here is to build experiences of delayed gratification rather than generating fear of deprivation which drives you to smoke more.
Cutting down to 2-3 cigarettes per day by smoking a brand you don’t like and altering your ritualistic smoking behaviors will make the transition much, much smoother. This is the principle behind nicotine replacement methods. Unfortunately for most, with nicotine replacement, you have not addressed the hand that still reaches for a cigarette out of habit. It’s not about chemicals; it’s about increasing self-awareness, and you can’t put self-awareness in a pill or patch.
Remember, it’s going to be an experience that will motivate you to stop, one way or another. Either it will be an experience of bad news from the doctor (or worse) that forces your hand and is usually not very pleasant… or it will be an experience of delayed gratification, which is by far much more empowering. The choice is yours.