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How I Quit Smoking. For Good.

How I Quit Smoking. For Good.

If you’ve struggled to kick the smoking habit, here’s something you probably didn’t know: nicotine may be more addictive than heroin. On top of that, research shows that cigarette companies have figured out how to deliver higher doses of nicotine to your body more efficiently than ever before. The amount of nicotine in the average cigarette increased 15 percent between 1999 and 2011.

Despite this bleak news, you can quit smoking. Here are the lessons I learned when I tried to quit, and how you can quit too.

My Story

I had my first cigarette when I was in second grade. That’s no typo. My buddy stole some smokes from his mom, and my two 8-year-old friends and I took a few puffs in a park near our house. I remember coughing a lot and feeling dizzy.

I started smoking regularly during high school. First it was just a smoke or two on the weekends; then it grew into a pack-a-day habit. I continued to smoke all through college. After I graduated I decided to quit.

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I started by cutting back. I got down to 4–5 cigarettes a day, but weekends killed me. I’d go out drinking and end up smoking a pack in a night.

Then I decided I’d stop smoking during the week. This wasn’t that hard for me because I lived with my parents at the time, and I didn’t smoke at their house—mainly because I told them I quit and was embarrassed to admit I failed. But again, weekends were my downfall and I’d blow through several packs.

During my next attempt, I decided to go smokeless: I started chewing tobacco. This strategy worked for a while, and I was able to go a few weeks without smoking. But after a trip to the dentist revealed the damage dipping was doing to my gums, I stopped. Back to square one.

It was around this time I met the girl who I would eventually marry. I didn’t like smoking around her because I knew it bothered her.

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By this time I had attempted to quit six times. I kept making the same mistakes. I told myself the seventh would be the last.

How I Finally Quit Smoking

For some people, the patch works. For others, a prescription pill like Chantix. For me, it was cold turkey. I picked a day about two weeks down the road and told myself, “This is the day I will quit smoking for good.”

And that’s what I did.

I quit smoking on a random day in May 2008. I haven’t had one since.

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The first week was tortuous. I had withdrawal symptoms (sweats, trouble sleeping, weight gain, etc.). But I got through it. The second week was hard too, but a little easier than the first. And each successive week got easier and easier.

Top 3 Lessons Learned

1. Don’t be afraid to fail.

Through all this, I realized something: failure was an essential part of the quitting process for me. If you’ve tried to quit and failed, you’re ahead of most people. It took me seven attempts to quit smoking. It was hard as hell, both physically and mentally. Keep trying. If you’ve tried and failed, you’re on the right path.

2. Know your reason why.

During my previous six attempts, I was trying to quit smoking for myself. When my girlfriend/future wife entered the picture, I had another compelling reason to quit. I realized that it wasn’t all about me; others were depending on me. Think about your parents, your spouse, your kids—it’s not just about you.

3. Embrace other healthy habits.

While I was attempting to quit smoking, I started eating better and working out again. Healthy habits lead to other healthy habits, so if you’re looking to quit, get in the habit of exercising and eating healthy, and quitting smoking will be much easier. And, you’ll be better prepared to control the weight gain that comes with quitting smoking.

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After I quit, I started my first online business, a health and wellness website called The Healthy Eating Guide. I’m about to launch another. Quitting smoking will lead to a chain reaction of healthier behaviors that lead to amazing changes in your life. Take it one day at a time, and experiment with different methods. Resilience always wins, and you’ll come out a much stronger person from having gone through the arduous journey of quitting smoking.

Featured photo credit: massimo ankor via flickr.com

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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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