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3 Non-Negotiable Motivators That Helped Me Quit Smoking After 3 Years Without Going Cold Turkey

You’re headed for an early and painful grave if you think you can get away with treating your body like crap.

Photo by Matteo Badini on Unsplash

You don’t have to survive an intense rehab to understand that no amount of craving can justify surrendering to a bad habit that becomes hard to break.

No neutral habits exist. There are only bad habits and good habits. Either we are working for our health or against it.

Several bad habits suck my energy throughout the day, and cigarettes used to be one of them. But once I finished a self-guided 100-day fitness challenge on August 8, the unplanned break I got from cigarettes showed me how much overdue the detox actually was.

I was not an addict. I averaged two cigarettes daily. So, if your dosage is similar to mine, this article will be helpful to you. Otherwise, in a severe case, you should consider more effective forms of therapy.

#1. The natural force that is working against you.

We are energetic in our twenties. It means our bodies have a higher tolerance for toxic consumption than those in their thirties, given that both people follow the same lifestyle.

The value of the age factor shows you can bear almost anything that satisfies your craving in the short term, even when the item you are consuming is harmful.

The negative results start surfacing when it’s harder to recover. For example, our brain volume starts decreasing after age 40. That means the energy you have right now won’t be the same forever if you treat your body like crap. Exhaustion already happens when we consume junk. It’s just that the symptoms show when it is too late and expensive to heal.

Invest in your health with small steps now so you don’t have to burn your wallet for hospital bills in future, even after health insurance.

#2. Temptation murder.

Finding an alternative to smoking is like getting a rebound after your breakup. You can manage by going with the lesser of the two evils as long you don’t relapse.

The same was the case with me. I substituted cigarette temptations with porn. When I realised my fap frequency increased while finding a cigarette alternative, I replaced it with music.

Slowly, as I progressed in my detox journey, I found less unhealthy alternatives to smoking.

Some activities that helped channel the craving energy to meaningful activities:

  • Nicotine patch at the start of the detox journey.
  • Walking in nature.
  • Music.
  • Standup comedy.

Whatever takes your mind away from craving and attracts you to less harmful activity, embrace it.

You’ll slowly learn to find healthier alternatives after seeing positive effects on your well-being.

#3. Easy is hardly adequate.

I snorted smoke for the first time in early 2019, six months before I started my first fitness challenge to adopt an active lifestyle.

Even though I suffered from congenital asthma, I tried smoking for novelty. Little did I know, I had to struggle for three years before consciously prioritising my health.

Even though your dosage is not on an addicting level, quitting will feel tough because the brain shows withdrawal symptoms when your detox starts.

I used nicotine patches for one month to satisfy the withdrawal symptoms and avoid relapse.

After surviving my detox journey and thriving for more than a month without a cigarette, even the smell of passive smoking discomforts my stomach and tells me to run away from the smoking area.

Closing thoughts

In my first fitness challenge in 2019, I had to go at war with myself to exploit the benefits of a morning lifestyle while struggling with smoking and the hectic schedule of a 9to5 job.

After one year of group workout classes and two years of 1:1 online personal training on Zoom post-Covid, I eventually quit smoking in my self-guided fitness challenge this year.

I can’t fathom that some of my friends still practice the idea of social smoking and surrendering to their old habits just when they have survived one week without smoking.

My flatmate smokes. And I broke my habit without hurting our relationship. It was hard to hang around him when he smoked. Still, eventually, I deliberately distanced myself from him when I smelled cigarette and locked myself in the bedroom while twerking shirtless to my favourite music on my JBL with my cat, Jim.

Sometimes fear can be a fire motivator to keep you on track. I am talking about the fear of regret about not prioritising your health when you have the time and energy to do so.

Here is a recap of the three motivators that helps me quit smoking out of fear, and if you follow them for at least one month, your detox journey will bless your lifestyle and your lifespan:

  1. Prioritise your health before recovery becomes a financial nightmare.
  2. Find less unhealthy alternatives to smoking, and you’ll slowly become conscious of your alternative habits too.
  3. Easy is ineffective. Train your mind to burn the attitude of submitting to temptations.

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Sanjeev is a mentor, writer, and fitness enthusiast from India. He writes about lifelong learning, personal growth, and positive psychology. When he’s not engaging with students in solving their doubts or busy writing, he’s sweating either in a workout, vlogging or playing with his cat, Jim. You can also find him on Instagram and Twitter.



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Sanjeev Yadav

Sanjeev Yadav

Writer • Mentor • Recovering Shopaholic • IITR 2019 • ✍🏼 Personal Growth, Positive Psychology & Lifelong Learning• IG: sanjeevai • List: