No matter whether you just threw away your last pack of cigarettes or haven’t smoked in days, weeks or even months, you still need to remain vigilant and be ready to fight off the next urge to smoke.
Below are some useful techniques that will help you find the motivation to quit and the strength to achieve your goal.
Keep a List of Reasons
Simply knowing that smoking is bad for you isn’t enough to break an addiction. When you decide to quit, make a list of personal reasons that compelled you to make that decision. Perhaps you want to quit for someone you love. Or maybe you want to do it for the sake of your health or for financial reasons. Write everything you come up with on a piece of paper and keep it with you at all times. Make a copy and stick it over your bed. Whenever you crave a cigarette, examine your list of reasons. It’ll help distract you from the craving and will put you in a positive mindset.
We have picked some good reasons to quit smoking to make it even more easy for you: My Reasons for Quitting
Build a Support System
If you’re going to quit smoking for good, you will need to surround yourself with people who want to help you succeed. As soon as you make the decision to quit smoking, tell your friends and family about it. They will do their best to support you through withdrawal and help you move on from the past. Additionally, the more people that know you are trying to quit, the harder it will be for you to just give up and relapse. Making them aware of what you’re planning to do will also ensure that they don’t take your post-quitting mood swings personally. Be clear about your intention and let them know how they can help you.
Perhaps you need a smoking friend to try to avoid smoking around you or just to not let you “bum a smoke” once the cravings get more intense. You may also wish to consider seeing a therapist who specializes in helping smokers quit. Such therapists can help you come up with a game plan and effective ways of dealing with cravings.
If you’re not exercising regularly it may be hard for you to start just as you’re making another major change in your life, but I promise it’ll be worth it. The dopamine released during physical exercise will aid the chemical imbalance in your brain caused by the absence of nicotine. This will also help you to more rapidly reverse the negative effects smoking have on your health. As your health and constitution improve, this will make you less likely to reach for cigarettes as you won’t want to lose what you’ve already accomplished. Vigorous physical exercise also makes for a great distraction during a craving episode.
Keep a Calendar
Buy a calendar. At the end of every day on which you’ve managed to avoid smoking, mark the date with a big red cross. When you’re experiencing a craving, look at the red streak of cigarette-free days — you won’t want to break it. Marking an accomplishment in a calendar is very satisfying and will help you reflect on your progress.
Don’t Let Yourself Romanticize Cigarettes
Decide that whenever you find yourself imagining the “positive” aspects of smoking a cigarette, you’ll immediately stop that train of thought and think of something else. You’ll be much happier and quitting will be much easier if you don’t let yourself romanticize cigarettes.
Read Nicotine Dependence and Freedom, to learn more how this can help you.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy—be proud of what you’re accomplishing. Make a point of celebrating small victories such as not smoking for a week or a month, or getting rid of your smoking paraphernalia. Congratulate yourself for reaching every new milestone. You could also consider saving up the money you would normally spend on tobacco and using it to celebrate. Treat yourself to a nice dinner or buy some movie tickets or a new CD or DVD.
Don’t Let Yourself Rationalize the “Just One Cigarette”
It’s very easy to rationalize smoking a cigarette. You might think that just one cigarette won’t do you much harm or that after a particularly hard day that’s the only thing that can help you relax. When you learn to identify these irrational thoughts and understand why they’re wrong, you’ll have an easier time dealing with temptation.
Focus On What You Gain, Not What You Think You Might Be Losing
Your attitude is one of the most important factors in determining whether or not you succeed. To stay positive try to avoid thinking about what you’re losing when you quit cigarettes and instead focus on what you’re gaining—or have already gained. Think of your health, the money you’re saving, or the respect your family will have for you.
Believe In Yourself
This advice is by far the most important on this list. Your belief in yourself will be the force guiding you through this challenging process. If you’re having a hard time believing you can do it, think back to what you’ve already accomplished. Quitting isn’t easy but you’ve taken action, convinced yourself to do it, and begun the process. Every day that you’ve avoided a cigarette is a true accomplishment. That’s plenty of reasons to be proud of yourself. Countless people quit cigarettes every year. There’s no reason why you can’t be one of them…