Zen of the Quit


Rationalizations, continued


Rationalizations are simply a mechanism we use to try and make the lies we tell ourselves about our smoking behavior seem plausible. When we quit, if we have allowed these rationalizations to go unchallenged, they will come back to haunt us.

As you’re preparing to quit, you should spend a fair amount of time figuring out what your favorite rationalizations are and coming up with arguments against them.

Here are examples of some of the more common rationalizations smokers use to justify allowing themselves to continue to feed their addiction:

“It’s just a bad habit.”

While it’s true that smoking is a bad habit (and there is a significant habit component to smoking), for the vast majority of smokers, it’s much more than that: we smoke because we’re addicted (remember that quiz from a few posts ago?).

The underlying reality this rationalization is attempting to hide is that the real reason you smoke is because you’re addicted. Once you understand this, any time you hear this rationalization in your head, you can immediately counter it by saying, “No, it’s not just a bad habit for me; I have to smoke to feed my addiction.”

“I can quit any time I want to.”

Is that really true? If you could really quit any time you wanted to, then why are you still smoking? If you’re being honest with yourself, you’ll have to admit that you really can’t quit any time you want to. You’re an addict, and you’re compelled to keep feeding your addiction.

So, any time this thought comes into your head, you can counter it by asking yourself, “Really? Then why am I still smoking?”

“Almost everybody fails anyway; what’s the point of even trying?”

Another popular rationalization goes like this: “Statistically speaking, almost everyone who tries to quit fails, so what’s the point of even trying?” While it’s true — statistically speaking — that a high percentage of people who try to quit will fail on any given attempt, the reality is that statistics only apply to groups, not to individuals.

As an individual, your chances of succeeding are 100%, as long as you’re 100% committed to quitting and choosing not to feed your addiction any more.

What’s your favorite rationalization? How will you counter it?

(If you're feeling a bit lost, it may be helpful to go back to the first post and follow along in order.)

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