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Make quitting smoking the start of an exciting new lifestyle

04 December 2013, 12:27

By Brian Read author of the book “Quitnic A New Dawn Rising”


One of the reasons quitting is difficult is because of the negative connotations. Quitting generally means giving up something you enjoy. Quitting means putting yourself through a stressful time. To counter this negative aspect I suggest you add something positive. It is time to plan a new and empowering lifestyle that will strengthen your resolve to quit. What do you really want from life and how are you going to get it?

An important way to ensure that you are able to quit and remain free with the greatest degree of ease is to replace your smoking lifestyle with a new, healthier and exciting lifestyle. This means you will not simply be giving up something but, will be replacing your old lifestyle with a new one that is more interesting and rewarding. Do not focus so much on quitting as on the future. If you can build a glorious picture of a bright new future free of nicotine, and if you can focus on achieving this goal, it will be much easier to quit. Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear leaving behind.

Most other quit programmes that I have studied do not specifically speak about a changed lifestyle. However, most of them do actually recommend a change of lifestyle. This usually involves some form of exercise and/or other physical activity, sport, hiking and possibly dieting. This is one possible lifestyle change. Many of them speak of taking up new hobbies or even new careers. Some people have gone back to studying. Nicotine Anonymous recommends lifetime membership as a helpful lifestyle change. Once members have overcome the initial hurdles of quitting, they continue going to meetings and serve the organisation by helping newcomers to quit. In this way they give back to the community and this benefits them as it encourages and strengthens them to remain free.

One of the problems associated with quitting smoking is that you typically pick up anything from 3 to 10 kg of weight. Clearly including some new healthy form of diet would be an advantage. If you decide to go on diet I would recommend you get professional advice and make sure it is a healthy diet. Your objective is not simply to lose weight at any cost but to eat more healthily and lose weight as your overall health improves.

After quitting some people have even reported that they returned to their studies and ultimately took up new careers. When you quit it is time to dream again and recall the ambitions of your younger years.

Changing your lifestyle can mean that every step along the quitting path has double benefits. Firstly, you benefit by becoming increasingly divorced from your addiction. The second benefit comes due to the fact that every step of the way brings you closer to achieving a new and rewarding lifestyle of your choice. This double benefit doubles your motivation and makes it easier to quit.

Another way of looking at this is to consider that, as the neurological pathway that leads to smoking falls into greater and greater disuse, its prominence in your life diminishes. At the same time, you are building a new pathway to support your new lifestyle. This new pathway is becoming increasingly more prominent in your life day by day.

Your values drive your lifestyle. Your new lifestyle needs to reflect your values, those things that are most important to you. You therefore need to consider carefully exactly what your real values are. Values can be categorised under certain headings. It is time to start making lists of what is really important to you. Quitting is easy, provided you work hard at it. The good news is that it’s just hard work – nothing to fear, nothing to get stressed about.

There are different types of values. There are values you wish to strive towards and then, on the other hand, there are things you wish to avoid. You may value being loved and you may value avoiding poor health. There are ends values and means values. Exercise is a means value, which enables you to achieve the end value of health and physical fitness. You need to identify the end values you wish to strive for. Too many people are busy chasing money as an end value and have lost sight of their true end values. Money may be a means to acquiring a new car, and the new car may be a means of achieving a certain level of prestige. In this case prestige is the end value and there is more than just accumulating money which can get you to this point.

Values can relate to things such as health, security, family, work, religion and many other things.

There are usually many ways of achieving your end values and you need to think about these and develop a programme to achieve your goal. For example, we mentioned exercise as a means of achieving health and physical fitness. Other things like a healthy diet, balanced lifestyle, stress management and sufficient rest can also help achieve this end value.

If you have forgotten the dreams of your youth, now it is time to dream again.

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