Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things that many people do in their lives. It is extremely addictive, both physically and mentally, so it’s understandable that it’s a struggle for most people. Here, find some practical tips to successfully quit smoking.
First, Make a Plan
Take a few moments to think about your “why.” Why are you quitting smoking? Is it for health reasons? To eliminate second and third-hand smoke from the lives of your family? To free up some money in your budget? All of the above? Write down why you are quitting and keep that thought in your mind when things get tough.
Make a plan for how you will handle quitting. Will you do so cold-turkey, use quitting aids, or do some form of gradual quitting, where you cut down on your cigarettes over time until you get to zero? Make your plan as detailed as you can, including the date you will start.
It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor, who can help you formulate the best plan for you and your circumstances. Everyone is different, so it’s important to understand yourself and what type of quitting plan is most likely to work well for you.
Know Your Triggers
Triggers are events, feelings, or stressors that cause you to want to smoke. They make quitting challenging because, as they happen, you will want to pick up a cigarette because that’s how you usually cope with that trigger.
Before you begin to follow your quitting plan, identify as many of your smoking triggers as you can and write them down. Develop plans for responding to those triggers in alternate ways that don’t involve smoking. Here are some ideas:
- Positive affirmations can help you focus on how well you are doing with quitting, and your brain will align your behavior to match. You can learn some specifics here: “Positive Affirmations to Use When You’re Giving up Smoking.”
- Exercise is a really powerful trigger-fighter. Even if you only have time to do 10 jumping jacks or walk quickly around your office building, movement can diffuse a craving.
- Meditation is a great way to re-focus your thoughts and diffuse a trigger-induced cigarette craving. Deep breathing exercises can be particularly helpful.
Set up Some Rewards
Humans like rewards, and you can use that to your advantage while you are quitting smoking. As part of your plan, write down some specific rewards that you will give yourself at various stages in the process. These might include things like a massage, a haircut, a weekend getaway, or a special purchase just for you, like a book you’ve been eying or a gym membership.
Seek out Support
Don’t try to “go it alone” when it comes to quitting smoking. Seek out non-judgmental sources who can cheer you on, lend an ear when you’re having a hard moment, and generally support you as you do this difficult thing.
Your support might come in the form of friends and family members, a therapist, support groups, or even online sites or groups on social media. Quitza.com is one such group, and you can search until you find one or more that you are comfortable joining.