Okay, Don't Quit

Chapter 2



Because the process of stopping smoking can be a bumpy track with ups and downs, easy days and not so easy days, a foundation to lean on comes in handy. Your commitment provides this foundation. Your commitment consists of agreeing to work diligently on the exercises and persevere for a specific period of time.

Once you are familiar with the program, you will realize that this level of commitment is a piece of cake. You don't need to like the steps; you don't need to be enthusiastic. You just need to follow the steps.

If you firmly commit to completing the suggested steps for a specific period of time, it will help you through those days when you don't feel like doing the silly exercises. Those days do happen. But solid commitment to stick with the program will get you through to the next day.

The toughest days are those when your normal composure and good nature are in short supply. It might be you've been up all night with a sick child, or you feel the flu coming on. It's not that you're in a particularly bad mood; you're just not willing to put up with any extra nonsense. Solid commitment will help you put up with the steps for that day. Again, you don't have to like the steps; you just need to do them.

In case you're getting the feeling the program is going to be tedious and difficult, that's not true. Ninety-eight percent of the time you'll think the suggestions are easy and even humorous. The remaining 2 percent of the time you may be a bit grumpy, but with a firm commitment, it shouldn't disrupt your progress.

In addition, firm commitment will help you get back on track when you slip off the program. The program is designed to handle a certain amount of slippage, as long as you return to full effort quickly.

Furthermore, the commitment required isn't all that severe. You are always free to have a cigarette if you "need" it. Unlike traditional habit control programs, it's not a matter of will power but of persistence. If you persist, you will succeed.

Ideal Commitment

The best commitments have specific targets and attempt to cover unforeseen problems. Even if you're enthusiastic, try to put specific times into your commitment. Translate: "Full steam ahead," into, "Full steam ahead for three months."

Commitment statements might go something like this:

  • I'll give it a try for three months.
  • I'll try for a month.
  • Whatever it takes, as long as it takes.
  • I'm not sure about my commitment, but I'll take a shot at it for 3 weeks and see how it goes.

It is also wise to prepare for the unexpected. Including a commitment for unforeseen problems might go something like this:

  • I won't be discouraged if I'm not perfect.
  • When I slip up, I'll get back on track.
  • I'm not going to be perfect, but I will keep going.

Seriously considering negative reasons for stopping smoking builds strong commitment.

Negative Reasons

Another method for strengthening commitment involves becoming clear on why you want to quit smoking. As a start, list every negative reaction/concern you have about smoking. Spend time considering the items on this list. Let these reasons feed your commitment.

Just having reasons for stopping, however, doesn't automatically translate into motivation. Motivation needs to be nurtured and built to a high pitch, something like an internal pep rally.

In order to generate the initial energy and strong motivation needed to push the program into full swing, negative reasons are best. Negative reasons produce quick, high-energy action, and they propel you to action right now.

That's not to say a positive outlook is not helpful. Positive reasons are good for long term projects; projects where calm and foresight guide efforts. At this point in the stop smoking program, however, you need to be concerned with stirring your emotions and eliciting action. Negative images fit this task better.

A solid level of commitment, combined with the fact that the program does not require severe sacrifices, makes your chances of success very good.

Your list of negative reasons has no set length. It might have five or twenty items. If you have positive goals as your primary motivation, for purposes of this list, translate them into negative reasons. For example, "I want to enjoy hiking," becomes, "I hate that raspy sound in my throat when I try to walk up a steep trail."

Dig down deep and come up with specific, powerful images. They should leave no doubt in your mind about why you're doing the program.

Examples of negative reasons to stop smoking:

  • My mouth always tastes bitter.
  • My morning cough scares me, and I'm only 22.
  • Sometimes cigarettes make me gag.
  • I'm looked down on at work.
  • I can't get a date with Sally.
  • Not being able to smoke when I fly has become an ordeal.
  • Louie died from throat cancer.
  • I'm the only one left in this crowd that smokes.
  • At this rate I'll never make it past 40.
  • I've waited too long. It's now or never.
  • My clothes stink.
  • I can't take a deep breath without coughing.
  • This news on second hand smoke...it's effecting my children.
  • I can't push the "no drugs" line at school if I'm hooked on cigarettes.
  • The boss is a big anti- smoker. I'm hurting my chance for promotion.
  • The hassle I go through...it just isn't worth it.
  • The price of cigarettes is ridicules.
  • The film on windshield is nasty. My lungs must be a mess.

During the first two weeks of the program, you may find it useful to review your list of reasons frequently, especially if your resolve starts to slip.

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