Now is always the right time
People who don’t smoke often assume that a smoker is someone who is weak-willed. In fact, many smokers say this about themselves – that they lack the willpower to quit, even though they want to. It is a nice, neat theory, but it isn’t right. Quitting smoking permanently isn’t about willpower.
Willpower is an effective short-term strategy for achieving all sorts of things. It is not an effective long-term strategy for anything.
We all know stories about people who wake up and make a decision to do something, and then just do it. That their motivation was sufficient enough seems indisputable. But it’s helpful to remember that those people are few and far between. It’s not unusual for most people who smoke to experience some kind of struggle in their transition to being someone who has quit, regardless of how much they want to stop or how great their reasons are for doing so.
When someone is in the habit of smoking, the idea of not smoking will usually be conceptualised as the absence of cigarettes, or being denied the choice to smoke. This makes perfect, logical sense for a smoker. But someone who isn’t in the habit of smoking does not think about the absence of cigarettes. That person who doesn’t smoke does not think about the fact that they are not smoking.
People who haven’t yet quit will often say, “I don’t want to even think about smoking”. Of course, this would be great – but it is unrealistic in the short-term. What’s more realistic is an understanding that in the short-term, it will be normal for an ex-smoker’s mind to associate smoking with day-to-day life, but that this will pass.
In the creation of new habits and patterns of behaviour that don’t include smoking, those thoughts and associations will soon be replaced with new and healthier patterns. Your mind and body become free. When you are doing something that comes naturally to you, willpower is not necessary.
Most people who smoke don’t find difficulty in identifying good motivational reasons for quitting, but that doesn’t mean that they make a decision to quit.
If you’re waiting until you feel stronger, or until your willpower feels like it’s at peak level, then you might be waiting a long while for the right moment to arise. But if you decide to quit, you can use that decision as motivation. A decision is final – once a decision to do something has been made it must play out. The only way a different outcome can occur is by making a new choice.