Researchers have found that nicotine has an addictive power that rivals heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. How is it then that some smokers are able to quit cold turkey—being a smoker one day and a nonsmoker the next? Think “pivotal ‘aha' moment.” In a flash of clarity you can gain a new perspective, one that will supply you with all the focus, motivation, and commitment that you will need to walk away from cigarettes—once and forever. Is it possible proactively to prime yourself for pivotal insights? You bet. More than ten years of research has shown that you can.
- find your trump
- uncover your relationship to cigarettes
- see cigarettes for what they truly are
- follow the lead of the Very Important Persons (VIPs) in your life
- wonder about your situation
- assume that someone else’s reason to quit cold turkey will work for you
- rely on willpower to stop smoking once and for all
- try to reason your way to smoking cessation
- ignore other smoking cessation options
- get discouraged
Discover something that’s more important to you than cigarettes, something that you can’t have as long as you smoke, and then you’ll be able to quit smoking cold turkey. What would trump cigarettes for you? Being able to climb a flight of stairs without getting winded? Becoming a healthy role model for your children? Living long enough to watch your grandchildren grow up? Every time you feel like you want to smoke, think about what is more important to you than smoking.
Become a keen observer in the moment of what’s happening with you when you smoke. In what situations do you reach for a cigarette? What prompts you to light up? Observe what you’re thinking at the time, what you’re feeling, and what you’re doing. As you catch a clear view of your relationship to cigarettes, you may discover a new perspective that will allow you to turn your back on smoking.
Observe smoking’s impact on you. Notice what cigarettes have done to your health. Notice what they have done to your relationships. Notice how they are getting in the way of living the life you want to live. Also, weigh the cumulative impact they have had on your life. As you do this you might suddenly see cigarettes in a new light, one that gives you the perspective you need to put them down once and for all.
What are your VIPs saying to you about your nicotine addiction? What are they doing to convince you to stop? Put yourself in their shoes. Consider their viewpoints. How is your smoking getting in the way of their hopes and dreams for you and for your relationship? In what ways is your smoking causing them concern? As you glimpse smoking from the perspective of your VIPs, you might be struck with a new way of seeing cigarettes that makes it easy to stop smoking immediately and forever.
Find your trump. Notice your relationship to cigarettes. See cigarettes for what they truly are. Follow the lead of your VIPs. As you give these tactics a try, you might discover a change of perspective that makes going cold turkey easy. And if you don’t, don’t worry. Instead, be curious about what you’ve uncovered and about why you’re not yet ready to quit. Curiosity can lay the groundwork for a sudden change of perspective.
Whom do you know who was able suddenly to stop smoking? How were they able to do it? Try to adopt the same reasoning. Attempt the same approach. It might work for you, and it might not. If it doesn’t, recognize that you are unique and what works for another person might not work for you.
Researchers have found that acts of willpower sap the body's glucose levels, which reduces self-control. Willpower is a great tool if you need the discipline to do something once and then move on. It is extremely difficult, though, to maintain willpower over an extended period of time.
Let’s face it. If a solid logical argument were all you needed to stop smoking cold turkey, you would have broken the nicotine addiction a long time ago. Change your thinking and you’ll change what you believe. But change your reality—the way you see the world—and you’ll change what you do. A flash of clarity can radically and instantly alter your view of reality.
Being able to stop smoking cold turkey has a certain cachet, but don’t limit your options to this alone. A number of other approaches have been shown to be effective. Consider smoking cessation counseling or coaching. Investigate smoking cessation programs offered by your insurer. Talk to your physician about medication. Nicotine replacement therapy like nicotine gum and the patch can also prove useful.
Nicotine is powerfully addictive. Putting down cigarettes once and for all may be one of the most difficult things you will ever do. If you’re serious about breaking the addiction, you will find a way. Be patient with yourself, and keep looking for a solution that will work for you.
You can quit smoking cold turkey. It will require a change of perspective. Prime yourself for a flash of clarity that will deliver a new point of view. It can give you all the focus, motivation, and commitment you’ll need to walk away from cigarettes and never look back.