We’re going to spare the health facts for now, as you’ve probably heard it all before and then some. If you’re hear, you probably want to quit smoking.
And you know that quitting will take major effort. Cigarettes are monstrously addictive, but you can quit smoking if for no other reason than this: Your mind is the most powerful computer on earth. Harness that power correctly and you can accomplish your goals. Accomplishment does take really hard work. And it takes commitment. And investigation.
Write it down – Make a list of all the reasons why you want to quit smoking. List down how it will change your life and what benefits it will bring from setting an example for the kids, to not having to deal with your spouse complaining about your smoke smelling clothes. Write down all of it, and then read it every time you feel the urge to smoke.
Understand why we smoke – Smoking just feels good. It may even serve an antidepressant role in the brain. It gives us control. It’s soothing. Although we “want” to quit, we also really want to keep smoking. That’s not to make you feel bad, guilty or give up hope. It’s to shed some light on the situation so you can understand what you’re up against. The brain has two pleasure mechanisms, which is why addiction is such a mammoth to deal with. We can “want” and “like” simultaneously, but these functions are separate in the brain.
Talk – It’s very important to get support from people around you. Whether it is a friend or support group, make sure that you talk to somebody who, like you, truly wants to quit smoking. Tell everyone around you that you are trying to quit so that you will have voices of reason around you even when you face a lack of willpower.
Gently now – If setting a date and stopping has not worked for you in the past then you should try taking it slow. Gently cut back little by little on how much you smoke. Set small targets, for eg: by beginning of each week you will cut back by x number of cigarettes a day. A small target at a time may be easier to achieve.
Be realistic – If you cut back and say you are a social smoker only henceforth, and then proceed to smoke a pack on a night out, you are not being realistic about your goals. In a matter of time you will be back to smoking as much as before as the nicotine has not left your bloodstream.
Identify triggers and patterns – Identify places and people who make you want to smoke. If you smoke on your way back from work, try chewing gum. If you hang out mainly with smokers at work, it might be time to find some new friends. Distract yourself when you know there are triggers around. If it’s a particular time in the day you smoke the most, pack it in with some other activity.
Manage stress better – If you’ve identified that stress and anxiety is the main reason that you’ve whipped out the cigarette, you need to find alternative ways to manage stress better. Here are some ways to combat stress.
Try a quit smoking product – Try out one or some of the many products out there designed to help you stop smoking. If you’ve tried a nicotine patch, then try a gum, if it hasn’t worked as well as you like. Experiment, and eventually something may work well for you.
Reward yourself and celebrate – If you’ve hit a milestone and reached a record new level of the least that you’ve smoked in a while reward yourself in small ways. Use the savings you’ve made by not buying those cigarettes and buy yourself something just to commemorate your success.