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Finding, keeping focus on the motivation to quit smoking

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jaimi L. Upthegrove
  • 482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
"I can smell it, and it makes me nauseous," he said. "I can't kiss you or even be around you. This has to stop."

That was the exact moment I knew it was time to get serious about quitting smoking. When my husband and I were in the dating stages of our relationship, I was trying, unsuccessfully, to quit. When he spoke those words to me, it really hit me hard and the depth of my motivation changed.

I started smoking on a deployment. Thinking the whole time I wouldn't keep smoking when I got home, I was just doing it to fit in.

I was wrong.

When you start an addictive habit, you never realize how hard it will be to quit or how far the addiction will go.

Both my parents also smoked. I can recall being frustrated with them, encouraging them to quit, not understanding why they kept going back to it.

I smoked when I was stressed; quitting was stressful. It was a vicious cycle that I gave into over and over again.

I knew all the reasons I should quit; my health, wasted money, those around me encouraging me to stop, and the smell. Those reasons just didn't motivate me enough; they didn't mean enough to me.

When my husband said that to me, and I realized this habit could mean the end of a blossoming relationship with someone I was falling in love with, I found the motivation I needed. Cigarettes would always be there, he wouldn't.

Almost six years later we have three beautiful children and a life filled with more blessings than I can count. It isn't easy, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

I still think about smoking sometimes, but when I do I picture a life without my husband and kids; because that's what I would be losing. Thinking about my family keeps me grounded and makes me focus on all that I have gained by giving up an unhealthy habit.

When you make the decision to quit, find and continue to focus on a good reason. Then, when you get a craving, imagine the repercussions and focus on the reason that motivated you to kick the habit for good.

You can create millions reasons or excuses why you can't, but excuses are going to leave you empty and frustrated. What will give you the focus you need is finding the one reason that means the most and committing yourself to making it happen.