Quitting Smoking Step 3: It’s all in your head - time for some solid mental clean-up

All in Your head

This is 3rd out of 5 Step Process to Beat Your Habit (click here for Introduction)


Mental clean-up


For some people quitting smoking is all about methods - going cold turkey vs. stopping slowly vs. using medicine such as Nicorette. Those are all valid points and there’s a lot of literature about them.

Before you can be successful with one of the methods, you’re going to do yourself a great favor if you clean-up some mess in your mind. That is especially valid for people who have tried and failed before.

You have the first two very important steps in place. You are aware why you’ve been smoking all this time and you know why you want to quit. This step is all about managing your mind.


Limiting believes


We’ll primarily look into the reason for quitting smoking that you’ve identified in the previous step. Afterwards, we’ll touch upon negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. Your reason for quitting smoking It’s very important that your reason for quitting smoking is formulated in a positive and a believable way.

You may rightfully ask why? Well, it is so, because our thoughts create our feelings, our feelings create actions and those generate our results/ behavior. If you formulate your reason in a negative way: I have to quit else I’ll get cancer, or I don’t
want to smell bad anymore, you are creating a negative message, and loading yourself with negative thoughts that will only make you feel worse. It’s like shooting your own foot. You’re bringing yourself down, and that’s not really what you need, is it? When going through challenging times, isn’t it better to feel empowered?


Re-formulate your reasons


So re-formulate your reason into something positive, motivating, if possible, appealing. An additional trick, that will support you in getting what you want is to formulate it as if you already have it.

If your reason is that you don’t want to get sick, you can reformulate it into, for example, I want to be a strong and healthy person and you can add something appealing like who lives a joyful life. Now if it is possible for you to believe it, re-formulate it to: I am a strong and healthy person who lives a joyful life.


If you can’t really believe it, you can use formulations like:


I am learning to be…
I am open to the possibility….
If your reason was that you don’t want to look old and get wrinkles that come with smoking, you can reformulate to something like:
I am cultivating youth.
If it was about smelling bad:
I smell beautiful.

The way you formulate your reason needs to truly resonate with you so that you are not just giving a “lip service”, but that you are really nailing down exactly what you want. Try to repeat over and over again: I don’t want to have cancer. How do you feel?

Now try to repeat many times: I am healthy and strong. How does this make you feel? You see the difference right? So write down your reason, repeat and, if possible, hang it around your house, set it as a reminder in your phone or as a password on your computer. The more you see it and repeat it, the more you’ll believe in it and the quicker it will become your new reality.


Observe yourself


More things to look into as a support to quitting a habit that no longer serves you is to observe your negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. That’s the part that really helps in uncovering some of the underlying issues that may be hidden in your subconsciousness. Getting them out in the open is a great step in healing and supporting you in breaking the habit.

Finding those limiting beliefs requires some more work in diligently observing and listening to yourself. Are you walking around repeating to yourself some of the negative messages that are more likely to contribute to your failure rather than to your success?

Limiting beliefs that you may have been running could be, for example, I need a cigarette to be able to calm down
or I’m too weak to be able to quit
or I am a smoker (this particular belief we’ll take up in the last step: shift into your new non - smoking self)

If you keep on repeating that stuff over and over again, you will keep on believing them. You need to do similar work to the one above and reformulate them into positive and believable messages:
In order to relax, I take time for myself and deal with my emotions.
I am strong enough to live a habit-free life.

Whatever works for you. There are only two rules, it has to be believable and positively formulated.



5 step process to beat your habit


Step 1: Inner journey (or root cause analysis)— dig deep to find out why have you been smoking all this time (please read here)

Step 2: More inner journey- determine why you REALLY want to quit (please read here)

Step 3: It’s all in your head– time for some solid mental clean-up (you are here)

Step 4: Game plan– figure out what you are going to do instead  (please read here)

Step 5: Shift into your new non- smoking self (please read here)