I get this question a lot in one version or another. It’s a sensible question – quitting something you know is killing you, that’s expensive and messy and inconvenient – that should be easy, right? But somehow it’s not.
The truth is, there are a lot of things that make quitting challenging – the addictive nature of nicotine, the extent to which smoking is associated with all of the things that we do, from eating to relaxing, the fear of withdrawal. But there’s really only one thing that makes quitting hard.
What makes quitting hard is this:The idea that when you quit you’re really giving up something. If you are a long-term smoker, you almost certainly have a deep-seated belief that quitting means that you won’t enjoy life as much (or at all) after you quit. That belief is what makes quitting difficult.
If instead you really had the sense of breaking free – if you expected quitting to feel like you’d just finished paying off a debt, or just completed a difficult task, you would end up approaching quitting with a completely different view. And that different view would give you a completely different way of being around quitting: You would be excited and joyful about the prospect of what was to come. You wouldn’t be able to help it, that’s just what it would feel like to you.
And guess what? Quitting under those circumstances would actually be easy, despite the challenges associated with it.
I’m planning to spend the next few posts talking about some of the misconceptions around smoking and quitting that feed into the view that quitting means giving something up. It does not, despite your experience that makes it feel like it does. If you can get – at an experiential level – the fact that quitting is NOT about giving anything up, quitting will actually become easy for you.
I invite you to use the comment section to say what you feel you’d have to give up if you quit, and I’ll try to address it in an upcoming post.