If you’re like thousands of other smokers, you may have made a New Year’s resolution to quit your harmful habit in order to help your body and your wallet at the same time. Alternatively, perhaps you just woke up one day and decided it was time to live a healthier life. However, it’s famous difficult to give up smoking in the long term, as saying farewell to cigarettes is both physically and mentally challenging. This eight step guide will help you to stay strong and succeed at putting an end to your smoking.
1. Look into smoking cessation medications
As you may be aware, there are drugs and other products that can make the process of quitting much easier. For example, nicotine replacement therapy comes in the form of gums and patches, and these aids can be highly effective (as they provide you with very small amounts of nicotine that can curb cigarette cravings without exposing you to the health risks that come with smoking). However, you can also approach your family doctor about short-term prescription drugs that are designed to reduce the pain of withdrawal without the use of nicotine. Zyban and Chantix are common examples.
2. Fully accept the health problems caused by smoking
Before you decided to quit smoking, you may have tried to avoid some of the gruesome information about what cigarettes can do to the body. However, this information can be a real asset now that you are trying to stick to your new year’s resolution. In truth, every cigarette exposes your internal organs to more than four thousand hazardous chemicals. For example, DDT (an insecticide) is known to cause breast cancer and raise the risk of diabetes, while arsenic is highly toxic and has been connected to cancers of the kidneys, bladder, prostate, nose, liver and skin. A quick online search on the dangers of smoking can really help to boost your motivation to stay away from cigarettes.
3. Replace smoking with other ways to combat stress
Almost all smokers find that cigarettes help to induce a sense of calm when anxiety strikes or life gets stressful, so you may find that your ability to hold onto your resolve begins to waver when you start to worry about something. You can pre-empt this problem by looking at new ways to deal with stressful situations. For some people, exercise is the answer, while for others it may be more effective to indulge in a hobby like knitting or to learn how to do basic meditation exercises.
4. Encourage yourself to focus on your reasons for quitting smoking
It is generally easier to stick to a difficult goal if you surround yourself with clear reminders of what you stand to gain by succeeding. For example, you might want to write a list of the reasons why you want to stop smoking, and pin this up in your kitchen or next to your mirror. There are dozens of reasons why you would be better off without cigarettes in your life, ranging from an increased life expectancy to a more youthful appearance.
5. Allow yourself to enjoy rewards along the way
When committing to any personal development work that can take a long time to achieve, rewarding yourself when you reach significant milestones. Perhaps you might treat yourself to seeing a new movie at the theatre, choose to buy a new outfit, or organize a road trip with friends. The main thing to keep in mind is that rewarding yourself for a particular number of cigarette-free days or weeks will help to boost your motivation and recognize that you are doing something commendable.
6. Make sure your life stays busy and engaging
When you’re trying to give up any bad habit, one of the most helpful things you can do is to keep yourself occupied in a way that distracts your attention from cravings for the thing you have given up. Try to keep your social life maximally active, go out walking, or invest in a box set of an exciting new TV show.
7. Seek support from other people who understand your situation
Research on the success rate of people who are trying to quit smoking has suggested that having the support of other people can make a huge difference. Whether you mainly rely on kind words and encouragement from your family and friends or actually join a support group for smokers who are trying to quit, make sure that at least some people know what you are struggling to achieve (and give them permission to try and keep you on the right track when your resolve wavers).
8. Keep your mouth occupied
Some ex-smokers find that an integral part of their battle involves missing the feeling of a cigarette between their lips. If this problem sounds familiar, try to find inventive ways to keep your mouth occupied. Healthy snacks can be a good solution (such as nuts, dried fruit and seeds), and chewing gum may also work.