I have a confession to make! I was a heavy smoker for almost 10 years.
I started smoking at a very young age. I was around 15 or 16 when I started smoking and not too long after I started buying my own packs, smoking up to 20 cigarettes a day.
Fast forward 10 years later, at the age of 25, still a heavy smoker we all know it never stop at that. With smoking comes a certain lifestyle, a specific environment, a way of living. You know?
At 25, I was really unhappy.
I woke up every day asking the question: “Is this it?”.
I felt bored, disappointed, overwhelmed, hopeless and almost hateful. Hateful towards my job, my decisions, my friends, my environment. I kept feeling like I did not belong and wanted to escape everything around me. I remember staring at the ceiling of my room at night for hours, just wondering what could I do? How can I move beyond this feeling? How can I escape within my reality?
What does this have to do with quitting smoking? EVERYTHING.
Quitting smoking is not about the cigarettes. It is about the lifestyle, the mindset, the limitations, the blockages, the chains and the box that you have built for yourself.
Here are 5 things to know (and hopefully do) to quit smoking:
1. To quit smoking, you need to be ready to quit a whole lifestyle
I was surrounded by smoking, drinking, partying, late nights, junk food and basically anything that would numb reality out. So JUST quitting smoking was simply not going to work.
I had to quit everything else with it. I had to say a big NO to a whole way of living. A big NO to a whole group of friends. A big NO to MANY outings.
So if you want to quit smoking, take a moment to notice what is the lifestyle that you really want to quit? What is the deeper meaning of smoking to you? What do you really want to quit? Why?
2. You will lose friends along the way
When I decided to quit smoking, I needed to remove myself from the constant triggers I was surrounded with. I had to start saying NO to daily after work drinks and gatherings. I had to move myself away from the environment that triggered the habit.
Did I lose friends? Oh yes I did. Although they were amazing friends, this was just no longer my path. I was choosing a new path and I was ready to let go of what no longer served me.
Are you ready to let go of your triggers?
I am not saying you must lose your friends to quit smoking, maybe you won’t lose anyone. But there is a big chance that you would need to say no to a group of people who drag you down the road of smoking.
3. You need a replacement
That is true to any habit you are quitting. You need to upgrade your anchors. My anchor towards stress, escaping and hating my job was a pack of cigarette a day. I needed a new anchor to keep me up and going. To keep me supported and relaxed.
I found a yoga class and I became literally addicted to it. I would go to yoga almost every single day of the week. I would get extremely angry if I had to miss one class (same as I would have if I ran out of cigarettes).
Yoga at that point had become my new anchor to rely on. What I did not realize back then, is that yoga would become my way of living and my passion to serve to others.
So find a replacement, a healthy one that allows you to upgrade yourself x100.
A habit that UPGRADES you. Take a moment and think of it now.
What is it for you? It could be art, music, movement, learning something new, cooking. Find something that inspires you and dedicate yourself to it. The habit becomes you and you become the habit.
4. Become a non-smoker
I didn’t just quit. It took me almost a few year to completely quit.
However throughout that year, to everyone around me I was a non-smoker. I told everyone that I quit, I wouldn’t smoke around people and I would never hold my own pack.
I would smoke in secret, around very close friends or with my husband and I would take a lot of cigarettes from others. But I was a “non-smoker”. My mantra was “I hate cigarettes and I quit”…Although that wasn’t necessarily completely true. I knew I was doing the right thing and I had to reframe my mind to realize that I SHOULD hate cigarettes and I AM NOT a smoker.
So start living as a non-smoker. Announce it to the world that you quit. You are done!
5. Start to love your new way of life
A few months after “I quit”, I started to realize that I was becoming lighter, happier, more connected to myself, more focused, motivated and excited to go deeper within myself.
Quitting cigarettes allowed me to feel empowered, strong and hopeful. I knew from then that I could achieve anything I put my mind to. I mean who can’t?
Quitting smoking meant upgrading my life, letting go of the things that did not uplift me and inviting new things into my life that allowed me to SOAR.
Within the next 5 years:
- I summited Mountain Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa
- I became a certified Yoga teacher
- I started teaching Yoga and meditation
- I become part of a conscious community
- I found happiness and joy in every single day
- I felt healthier, stronger and happier
May you find the path that serves you, even if it starts with quitting cigarettes.