Zen of the Quit


Why Quit Anyway?


This might seem like a silly question, but it’s actually a very important one; if you don’t know why you want to quit, it’s going to be much harder to stay free once you do.

When you first quit, there are many and frequent opportunities to start back up again, and if you don’t have strong personal reasons to quit, one of those opportunities may lead to a relapse.

So I strongly suggest that you start now putting together a list of reasons why you want to quit. And I also encourage you not to put generic reasons like “Because it’s bad for my health” on your list.

I mean, seriously, how long have you known that? If that was ever going to be a strong enough reason for you to quit, you would have quit long ago. But you didn’t, so you know that one isn’t going to do it.

Another helpful hint: you have to quit for you, not for anybody else. If one of the reasons you come up with is “I want to quit for my [spouse, child, parent, whoever]”, I would encourage you not to bother adding it to your list.

This one is a built-in excuse to start smoking again as soon as the person you’re supposedly quitting for inevitably disappoints you in some way. Here’s how it typically goes: “I quit smoking for you and you do this to me!?”

Don’t go there.

Make a list of reasons that are personal, and that matter deeply to you. You’re the one you’re doing this for, and the only criteria for adding a reason to your list are that it’s deeply personal and strong enough to motivate you to keep on keeping on during the early stages of the quit.

One final tip: phrase your reasons as positive, rather than negative, outcomes: for instance, instead of saying, “I want to quit so my breath doesn’t stink any more,” say, “I want to quit so my breath smells better.”

The more reasons to quit you can come up with, the better; later, you’ll want to narrow the list down to your top 5 or 6, and you’ll want these to be really personal and strongly motivating.

More on this as we go on.

(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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