The first step in quitting is to determine why you want to quit. You know you should, and maybe your doctor has told you that you need to quit. However, you won’t be successful long-term unless the desire to quit comes from you, and the reasons you quit have to be your reasons. You can’t quit to please others or because they’re pressuring you. If you do, you’ll use that person as your excuse to go back to smoking.
You know what we’re talking about. At least once, you’ve tried to quit because someone was bugging you. When you did, you lasted for a few weeks or even a few months, but it was a tough quit to maintain because you weren’t doing it for yourself. In the end, you went back to it because deep down, you didn’t want to quit then—and you were even a little resentful of the person who was pressuring you.
So if you’re thinking about quitting for your kids, your spouse, or the dog, stop right there. What are your reasons for quitting? What do you want out of it? Your reasons will keep you going when you have that irresistible craving for a smoke. Your reasons will help your quit go more smoothly. Yes, quitting can be difficult at times—but quitting for other people’s reasons is even harder.
Here are ten common reasons for quitting we’ve heard from successful smokers:
- I was tired of spending all my money and having nothing to show for it.
- I woke up one day and decided I was done. I’d had enough of the smell, the expense, and the coughing.
- I knew I could do so much more with the money and time I spent on smoking.
- I wanted to feel better and not be dependent on cigarettes to get me through the day.
- I didn’t like being addicted to nicotine because I was missing a lot of life.
- I was sick of smelling and feeling bad all the time.
- I wanted to run and play with my kids (or grandkids).
- Being a smoker wasn’t for me—I’m worth a lot more than that, and I want to live to be an old lady.
- The thought of having lung cancer or COPD scared me, and I knew it was time to quit.
- I just got tired of the habits: waking up and smoking, driving and smoking, eating and then smoking . . . it was ridiculous.
Do any of these reasons resonate with you? What benefits of quitting are you looking forward to? When you have your own, clear reasons to quit, it’s time to move forward and do it—but quitting without a reason that is meaningful to you is a setup for failure.