How can I quit smoking?

For some time, I have been studying why some people who choose to quit smoking or lose weight succeed and why some of them don’t. To be fair, most people who want to quit smoking and then go on to make an attempt actually fail. Most people who chose to diet lose some weight then put it back on. But why is this?

In this day and age, society is always looking for a miracle cure. Two major problems in western society are smoking and obesity and so there are lots of miracle cures being peddled for these topics. Smoking takes well over a million lives a year just in North America and Europe. Obesity, whilst less of a killer is on the rise as western diets and lifestyles continue to over-provide calories whilst under-delivering exercise.

If we take dieting as a principle example, we can see new diets and health plans being launched every year. Some of these prove to be huge commercial successes whilst others do not. The commercial successes go exponential once the media get a hold of them (which is nice for whoever came up with the idea). A perfect example of this is the Atkin’s diet. But why is it that we always seem to move on to another diet or another cure pretty soon afterwards?

The reason we seem to find that one solution only works for a while and we have to move on to the next is because there is a constant stream of people wanting these cures. But of these people, many if not most of them have not made the actual decision to do what they want to do. What they have done is make a decision that they would like to have something or some outcome.

Imagine these people as the water in a lake with a stream flowing in at the top and a stream flowing out at the bottom. The people flowing in at the top have made the decision that they would like to change something such as their smoking or their weight. The people in the lake have not achieved what they want yet and then the ones leaving have succeeded.

From time to time, a solution is presented and it helps many people get out of the lake. That is a wave running from the top to the bottom of the lake and it lets more water out than is coming in. However, it is just a wave and with time the lake fills up again.

As an ex-smoker and a former fatty (arguably!), I have found what I believe to be the solution to the problem. It is all to do with the decision. We may decide that we would like to quit smoking or that we would like to lose weight, but have we decided to commit to doing it? Most people when they quit smoking decide to try to quit. Most people when they choose to go on a diet decide to try and lose x many pounds. The problem is, as Yoda out of “Star Wars” would say; “Do, or do not, there is no try.”

To quit smoking, I had to decide that I was no longer going to kill myself. Moreover, I was not going to pay a tobacco company for the pleasure of killing me either, nor the government! It was the same with weight loss. You have to commit to undertaking a diet and then permanently changing the way you are. You cannot diet until you reach you chosen weight, then start eating cakes and pies as your staple diet. You must choose to change from being a smoker to a non-smoker and from living on an inappropriate diet to an appropriate diet. There isn’t much difference between the two situations – it is about deciding to do something rather than deciding to try and do something.