If the option of living on a desert island for a month, or smoking a fake cigarette for the rest of your days do not appeal to you, and you don’t want to be a stop-start quitter, you do have other options. And although going cold-turkey is one, you want to give yourself as much of a chance of success as possible. After all its your health and life that’s at stake.
So how do you actually quit? You’re craving that next cigarette, but you don’t want to smoke it. Well great then, that means maybe its time for a little NLP.
NLP stop-smoking programs focus on both the physical and mental aspects of quitting smoking. NLP stands for Neurolinguistic Psychology and its all about empowering brain messages, and patterns. It was created by Bandler and Grinder (a linguist), in the 1970s as a way of overcoming learned limitations.
If you’re new to NLP, then start by asking yourself these three questions as they relate to your desire to stop smoking:
What do you want to accomplish? What has stopped you until now to quit smoking?
You have to have a personal desire to quit, and one that’s internal. For example, you might say: I want to breathe properly again, now that’s a great personal motivator. More powerful than, lets say: I want my partner to stop nagging me about the smell of cigarette smoke on my clothes. The greatest predictor of your success in quitting smoking is self-motivation. It makes something like a 20% difference.
We take actions to fulfill a need, whether its a conscious or a sub-conscious one. Maybe you smoke to relax. Find a healthy alternative that can fulfill the same need. Substitute the feeling of taking a deep breath for the cigarette. Both may have the same effect of relaxing you. One kills, the other doesn’t.
What kind of resources do you already have which can help you achieve that? One of your greatest resources is you, and your brain. Your brain cannot distinguish between what you see and what you imagine (visualize). Visualize yourself smoke-free, breathing deeply, filling your lungs with fresh air on the top of a mountain you’ve just hiked because now you can hike. Add sound, color, a motto to this image, whatever it takes to be a power image for you. Imagine someone takes a photo of you looking and feeling that way, and now you that you have in your pocket. When you want to reach for your cigarettes, reach for the photo instead. This is about rehearsing your decision to not smoke anymore.
Whats my first step?
Start small. Go for the smallest step forward if need be. And then give up a little more every day. Do the ritual, but don’t smoke the cigarette. For example, maybe day one, each time you smoke, you smoke half a cigarette instead of the either one. And when you put it out, you pull out the mental image of you on the top of a mountain, breathing in crisp mountain-air and feeling great. Maybe by day five, you’re down to 5 puffs. Then, you take out your lighter and light up but don’t inhale. You’re essentially reversing your smoking ritual. Concentrate the effort on getting through the day and let tomorrow take care of itself.