For most smokers, willpower, alone, is not enough to keep them from lighting up again.
Before you go out and buy a smoking cessation product, placing all your faith in that patch or piece of gum, beware, because, alone, they're not enough either.
A good smoking cessation program is a combination of many different factors and willpower does play a huge role.
Even the most comprehensive smoking cessation program will fail without willpower.
Conversely, willpower will often fail without a good program.
Is this a catch 22 situation? Sort of.
For most smokers, the need for a cigarette and negative thoughts about never smoking again override even the strongest will, patch or inhaler.
There are several key things that go into making a good smoking cessation plan and you won't find most of them in a package.
The first step to quitting is a true desire to quit smoking.
Without this desire, everything will fail.
You'll think, wistfully, of the taste of a cigarette, the feel of the smoke, the sensation of that first cigarette of the day.
A desire to quit, to lay the things down for good, is required to get past these feelings.
Don't quit for others, don't quit because you know it's bad for you; quit because you want to be free of that dependence, that ball and chain that a cigarette represents.
Positive and negative reinforcement play large roles in quitting, as well.
Those words have been bandied about until they've lost most of their original meaning.
They've become catch phrases that most people don't really think about, but the importance of these techniques remains valid.
Everyday, run down a mental list containing the positive aspects of not smoking.
Focus on the smell of flowers, the ease you draw air into your lungs, the extra time gained with friends and family.
Draw up a list of negative ideas about smoking.
Focus on the smell of stale cigarette butt, the stench left on your hands and clothes after smoking, the money thrown down the drain on each pack of smokes.
A good smoking cessation program combines mental exercises like those above with willpower and nicotine replacement therapy found in patches, gum and inhalers.
Using all of the available tools will greatly increase your chances of quitting for good.
Don't feel bad because you've failed to quit through willpower alone, but don't fool yourself into thinking willpower and mental exercises have nothing to do with quitting.