Why Reward Yourself After Quitting

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

Taking control of your nicotine addiction is both life changing and an empowering experience. Quitting smoking requires your full commitment. As you go through the withdrawal process it is essential to recognize each of your accomplishment and reward yourself for it. This reinforces self-confidence and builds an encouraging attitude towards quitting.


Young woman quitting smoking, isolated on white - focus on handAttaching a positive reinforcement to saying NO to smoking cigarettes or using any tobacco products will most likely keep you smoke- and nicotine-free. Giving yourself short term rewards for not smoking yields the best results. For instance, passing on a strong urge to light a cigarette or reaching a one-month mark deserves a dinner with friends or a day in spa, or watching a movie, etc. In the long run, you will start to associate these pleasurable experiences with not smoking.


Majority of smokers would argue that smoking is a pleasurable experience and see quitting as something that deprives them of that feeling. They consider smoking as a reward and that cigarettes are their companions that keeps them company through the good and bad times, and as something that they can always depend. If you’re among these smokers, giving yourself a reward for not smoking gives you the chance of having a new source of enjoyment that is more fun and far more healthy. One way to enforce your tobacco-free life is trying to discover new hobbies or doing different activities. Join that cooking class you have always wanted, or you can sign-up for a gym membership. Choose the activities that you find interesting and fun. And at the end of the day, the activities you normally associate with smoking will be gratifying once more as a non-smoker.

Most smokers would claim that smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products reduces their stress and anxiety, improves their concentration, and controls weight gain. What probably they didn’t know is that nicotine has a bad habit of messing with your brain’s reward system, making you believe that it energizes, relaxes, and improves your mood when in fact it does the contrary. It makes you want it more to the point that when it is withdrawn you start to feel uncomfortable symptoms. Change this reward path by rewarding yourself regularly without the nicotine. You can use the money you saved from not smoking and treat yourself. Pamper yourself. Get a massage, a new haircut, or a pedicure. You don’t have to spend too much though. Walking on the beach, reading a good book, or getting a relaxing bath can help control the cravings and manage your stress.

And lastly, acknowledge the changes you have made in your life and try to get use it. With proper practice and patience, you’ll slowly undo the bad habit of smoking and learn new, more fun, and healthier habits away from smoking and nicotine.



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