Several months ago, I set out to quit smoking. I accomplished it, but it wasn’t easy, and took a lot of conviction. What helped me the most, was having a purpose to quit. A lot of times, we can convince ourselves that it’s our body and who gives a shit, right? I have always been that way, dumping alcohol into my liver, filling my lungs with smoke. I never really cared, nor had a reason to. Everyone has to find their why. Why they need to quit. I met mine back in January.
Cute kid, right? Well, I decided that it would probably be in her best interest if I didn’t drop dead in a grocery store in front of her in about ten years from a heart attack, so quitting moved high up on my agenda. I have always had a way of procrastinating as well, or being like “well, I’m stressed, so fuck it.” We can find a million reasons to smoke, or to drink, but all of these reasons and the excuses after are just us cosigning our own bullshit. So, find your why. It doesn’t have to be a new kid, of course, it can simply be that “this time,” enough is enough.
Now, obviously, there has to be some kind of reward. Smoking and drinking are fun. It’s instant gratification for really low effort. So, if you’re not instantly seeing a reward, you’ll probably quit. I knew this ahead of time, being that I am a creature of habit. I knew that if I didn’t get some kind of reward out of it, I would likely bail, as we all have. You know, everyone who has ever tried to quit anything without serious conviction or consequences. So, the first thing I did was research what happens when you quit.
Almost immediately you start feeling the benefits. I mean, even in one hour, your blood pressure begins to drop. That’s how poisonous the shit is. Your body starts trying to repair the second you stop.
But you need more than just numbers on a webpage, right? I did, too. Honestly, you need more than a why. A why just gets you started on the path, and helps you want to quit. You need data. You need solid numbers showing that you’re making progress. I bought a fitbit, which has been instrumental in my quitting. It showed my heart rate drop almost overnight. Over the course of the next week, it continued dropping.
The fitbit will track your exercise, diet, steps in a day, heart rate, and your sleep. You’ll begin to notice that you even sleep better. Naturally, once you’ve stopped smoking for a few days, the worst of the withdrawals are over, and your energy levels will increase, as well as your lung capacity. Of course, you won’t want this to go to waste, plus you’ve decided on a healthier lifestyle, right? It’s time to start walking, running, swimming, or biking. Anything to get your blood pumping. As your circulation improves, you’ll be amazed at how you feel again. I feel like I’ve dropped ten years already. Change the way you eat: Another cool feature of the fitbit, is that you can scan your food, every meal, for the calorie content and macronutrients. It’s a great way to stay on top of your new healthy diet.
With all of this exercise, again, you’ll want to see some sort of reward or progress to keep going. The fitbit keeps very good track of what you do, but it doesn’t measure weight. For that, I got a smart scale. Normal scales just track your weight, but this scale tracks that, and your bone density, fat percentage, water retention, and muscle mass. It’s kind of cool to see your body fat go down while your muscle mass increases little by little. Also, that particular scale syncs to the fitbit, which will allow you to track on fitbit as well. (I’ve lost nearly 20lb so far on top of quitting smoking!)
For a while, I thought I felt like shit because I was “getting old,” and that it just came with the territory. Nope, it was because I smoked, obviously. I felt out of breath, and like a complete shit bag because I was smoking a pack a day and drinking on the weekends. My age has nothing to do with it. I was putting literal poison into my body, and wondering if that is just what aging is. That’s another example of cosigning my own bullshit. I was looking for any excuse I could for how I felt, without putting the blame squarely where it belonged. My crutch.
At the end of the day, you’ll read this and soak up the information. It may motivate you, it may not, but if you’re not ready to quit, you won’t. No one can force you to. You have to make the decision. Make an unbreakable promise to yourself that you will quit. Then when you are ready, toss your cigarettes in the trash and never look back. Don’t even have a “last one.” Just fucking toss the things. They’re gross, and they make you look like an asshole out in public. Not to mention, they could embarrass your kids if you have them. If you want to stop smelling like a bag of mashed up assholes, have nicer skin, look and feel years younger, and stop inconveniencing everyone around you, then make the decision. If you want to be selfish, die young, and poison yourself, feel free to change nothing.
Also, sink money into this so that there are real monetary consequences to changing nothing. Buy the scale, buy the fitbit. Wear it daily and let it be a constant reminder on your wrist that you need to get moving. Weigh yourself every morning so that you can see your progress or lack thereof. Seeing these numbers really helps. If you have a bad day, eat like shit, refuse to exercise, or worse(smoke), you can see the instant effects it has on your progress, and you’ll course correct.
Forget about patches, replacing the habit with another bad habit, sticking your finger in a light socket, or whatever people are trying to peddle as a quick method of quitting smoking these days. All you need is a why, a bit of conviction in your promises to yourself, a balanced diet, and daily exercise. You will kick the habit once and for all, and you’ll be so thankful that you did. You’ll gain a lot of self respect for finally doing it, and keeping the promises you make.