Life is full of challenges. Those neverending tests that life throws at us on a daily basis; sometimes easy, sometimes incredibly hard. Sometimes expected, sometimes completely unexpected. Sometimes brought on ourselves, other times brought on at random.
The interesting thing about life challenges is that they are, almost by definition, not pleasant experiences. Nobody wakes up excited to life weights until shaking just to be sore the entire next day, to work 90 hours a week on a new company with no guarantee of success, to give up dreams and passions to settle down and raise a family, to fight deep biological urges from morning til night to stay on a diet or remain abstinent from whatever substance. Those things aren't fun.
Yet, facing challenges and overcoming them is the ONLY method that we have as humans to grow, to get stronger. Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, socially, or any other way. Growth is a product of how we respond in the face of challenges. If we respond with everything we've got and fight to the end, our outcome will be worth the struggle. Every time.
And yet, most active smokers seem stuck in this mindset of avoiding hardship and difficult challenges at all costs. They just keep in their smoking routine because, well, quitting requires a lot. Finally breaking the habit requires sheer determination, strong commitment, and active relapse prevention. It's hard. It's a goddamn battle is what it is.
And honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. If it had been easy to quit, I wouldn't have undergone much change from smoker to non-smoker. Instead, I am seeing changes that reflect the reality of my fight with nicotine addiction. I fought and I struggled, and as a result, now I live just a little bit more happily, with more freedom, better health, deeper appreciation, and actual hope for the future. This challenge you're about to undertake has incredible rewards. It's so worth the temporary discomfort and unpleasantness of nicotine withdrawal. I know that you know that, and so now is the time to start changing the way you approach these next 30 days.
This is where you need to snap out of your victim mentality and your tendency to look for the easy way out. Stop fearing the weeks ahead, stop letting your anxieties cloud and confuse what you really want. Just because this process is not going to be 100% pleasant doesn't mean you have to torture yourself with negative emotions the whole time. Instead of living with fear and anxiety about the withdrawal, just say 'F*ck that' and embrace it. Embrace the process, embrace the unpleasantness. It's going to be there no matter how much negative emotion you throw at it, so you may as well throw positive emotion instead and enjoy the ride.
Instead of fearful children, we need to handle this like true fighters, determined to give it everything we have because we know the final outcome is that important. We can give all of the effort, time, worry, and mental strength we have and we can get past it. A one-off payment of hard work, discomfort and breaking a ritual, in exchange we not only begin to heal our bodies and extend our lives, but we grow as people because we tried and succeeded. Sacrificing short term pleasure for long term happiness and health, that's all this is.
Let's analyze both the sacrifice and reward sides of the quitting smoking challenge.
- Grin and Bare it for the first 3 Days (Intense Physical Cravings)
- Maintain Some Sense of Sanity for the next few weeks (2 to 4 weeks of mental cravings/loopity loops)
- Remain vigilant in the absence of acute withdrawal symptoms (remainder of your life, but with no withdrawal that will be easy)
- Increasingly lower risk of having lung cancer or COPD (This alone would be worth it)
- Much greater chance at living for years longer
- Thousands of dollars saved
- No longer on your knees at the mercy of a plant wrapped in paper
- A relieved group of family and friends who want to see you keep on living
- Prevent further wrinkles and yellowing of skin, just look better in general
- Improved dental health
We could go on forever, you get the point. Take the challenge, follow this 30 day guide and give it the ol' college try. The rewards are too great not to.