By now you will be familiar with the dangers of smoking and know that the benefits of quitting outweigh any temporary nicotine high. It's no coincidence that over 95% of smokers who quit unaided start smoking again within 6-12 months. Will power and determination are qualities that undoubtedly need to be exercised as part of smoking cessation, although without preparing for the road ahead, your quit plan could be doomed to fail.
Preparing a quit plan or check list can be as simple as writing down a list of reasons to refer back to whenever the urge to smoke feels strong, or implementing a step-by-step regimen to follow each day from the moment you give up.
Get off to a good start by choosing a specific day to quit. Mark it on your calendar and be sure to tell friends and loved ones of your intentions. Think strategically when choosing your quit date; avoid a stressful Monday or the same day of an activity that is just as likely to trigger your desire to smoke, such as a visit to a pub.
A helpful tip to remember is practice saying "No thank you, I don't smoke". Try asking friends and close associates to not smoke around you if possible, in this way you are narrowing your exposure to nicotine. Whilst adjusting to the idea of a smoke-free life, dispose of all cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters or smoking items within the house or your working environment.
Consider the following tips to improve your chances of staying smoke-free:
Make a list of the drawbacks of smoking (financial cost, health repercussions) and also list the reasons why you want to quit. Keep the list accessible for when you need a gentle reminder of your goals during testing times.
Start of diary or progress report writing down how you feel each day. Note when cravings arise and how you attempt to suppress them. Use your diary to assess any difference in your behaviour and attitude towards smoking as time passes.
Make a list of rewards you can give yourself with the money you save by not buying cigarettes. When you reach a milestone treat yourself to a reward. Remind yourself that staying quit, is probably the most important gift you can give yourself.
Common sense and experience tell you that if an activity takes your mind off a problem, it stops you from thinking about it. The same principle can be said to work in smoking cessation; by substituting parts of your routine that remind you of smoking with new hobbies you will feel less tempted to smoke. Try out the following tips to stay one step ahead of nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms:
It's worth remembering that even though giving up smoking is a decision only you can make, you do not have to go it alone. If you can not reach out to friends or family members, look online to widen your options for receiving support and advice. Participating in quit-smoking forums is a helpful, non-judgemental method of sharing your experiences and learning from others that have been in your shoes before.
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