January 1, 2008 marks one year since I stopped smoking.
That’s 365 days of not lighting a cigarette and inhaling nicotine.
I’m pretty proud of this accomplishment. For those of you trying to find worthwhile New Year’s Resolutions, here’s something that might help.
To quit smoking, I had to do the following:
Look for a material incentive to stop smoking. Nothing beats the notion of getting a reward after a difficult challenge. If I can stop smoking for a year, I get a reward. In my case, it was a musical instrument. I still don’t know if I will ever get the reward though, but after doing the deed, the reward seems secondary now. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not expecting to get a reward anymore. I’m just saying it’s secondary now.
Make it a moral issue. I made a deal with a friend who lives half way around the globe. The person has no way of checking if I actually stopped smoking and did not cheat for one whole year. Of course it would be immoral for me to actually claim a reward if all this time I was cheating. So this shifts the burden on me, to actually not cheat. It would be no fun, and morally wrong, to get something that I didn’t deserve.
Announce it. It’s great to know that everyone is looking if you’ll succeed or not. If you smoke, you’ll be the butt of jokes, so to speak. It will mean weakness on your part.
Quit cold turkey. If you really want to quit, it should be abrupt. No transitions, no compromises. Just stop.
Stop thinking that you need to smoke. What really helped me was that I convinced myself that I really didn’t need to smoke. After hurdling the “needing”, I felt ok and relaxed. Not even the tension filled moments of work (and believe me it gets really tense) made me want or need to smoke.
The first three days of not smoking will have some side effects. There’s a withdrawal phase. You kinda get sick, expel a whole lotta phlegm, feel like having a fever, all sorts of stuff. After the first week, you’ll feel better. Just stop thinking that you need to smoke. Also, I worked out some after I stopped smoking. I started running, jogging. Running makes you not want to smoke. It’s a good antidote.
Finally, I keep remembering the last time I got arrested during a rally, in 2004, in Plaza Miranda. At that time, I seemed to be catching my breath while running. I remember a lot of folks passing me by during the violent dispersal. I felt slow, not in great condition. That by itself was another motivation to stop smoking. hehe