Think quitters never win? Think again. If you’ve kicked the cigarette habit, you know that quitting smoking is a major victory. Congratulations!
If you haven’t kicked the habit—but dearly want to—there’s one quitter who has some awesome advice. David MacNeil won by quitting. He also succeeded by failing, as his inspiring story reveals.
“I had to give myself permission to fail,” the Toronto-based actor says, explaining that he gradually extended the length of time he could go without cigarettes. After a couple of days, he would start smoking again. Then two days turned into four, and four days into a week, and a week into a month, and so on. Eventually, “I wasn’t a smoker anymore,” David says proudly. “I was no longer a slave to cigarettes. That’s how quitting smoking changed my life.”
“You can’t change an addiction just like that,” he adds. “It’s the little steps that work, and you need to be patient.”
Quitters winning, failures succeeding, small steps leading to big health benefits—opposing concepts really can work wonders to help you quit smoking. If this seems strange, you’d better buckle your seatbelt. After all, the quitting techniques listed below aren’t just contradictory; they’re downright bizarre! But whatever works, right?
These different ways to quit smoking cigarettes can help you to stop for good.
Bury your butts
Of all the ways to make smoking inconvenient, one of the quirkiest involves burying cigarettes underground. Whether in planter pots, flower gardens or smelly compost heaps, the inconvenience of digging through dirt or rotting banana peels will turn you off soon enough.
Make a wager with friends
Do you have a buddy who also wants to quit? Put something on the line! A recent study revealed that smokers with $150 of their own money at stake were much more likely to kick the habit than those who didn’t have to wager their own cash.
However, some stakes are worth more than money, with documented habit-kicking bets ranging from winners being called “your majesty” for a month to gowns and makeup being sported by guys who finished second-best (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Of course, everyone’s a winner when it comes to quitting smoking…
Risk / reward
If you don’t have a friend who wants to join you in quitting, you can reward yourself for success or punish yourself for failure. Amusing real-world examples of the former include a month of mother-in-law free time—a zealously supported prize. Peculiar punishments have ranged from missed Maple Leafs games (or is that a reward?) to sexual time-outs of various descriptions that can’t be listed here.
Face cravings with…disgust
Building an aversion to cigarettes—say, by snapping an elastic band against your wrist when cravings kick in—has proven effective. There’s really no limit to how unpleasant this method can get. Extreme examples include dropping a few butts in some water and sniffing, or even sipping, the disgusting mixture when cravings take hold. (Are you gagging yet?) Then there’s the widely emulated case of the New York women who chewed on Milk Bones when cravings struck and kicked a 20-year habit in the process.
Do you have any weird tips for quitting smoking? We’d love to hear all about them in the comments below.
This article was originally published on July 20, 2015.