Breaking an addiction such as smoking is not an easy task. Perhaps you've tried to quit in the past but weren't able to stick with it at that time. This time, take what you learned from your previous effort and combine it with the strategies listed here to boost your chances for success. As challenging as it can be, every day many people do quit smoking for good. You can be one of them!
Here are the key things you need to do.
- Take time to think about why you want to quit.
- Pay attention to when you smoke so you can come up with new ways to cope during these times.
- Find new ways to cope.
- Learn what it will be like to quit smoking so you can prepare yourself mentally.
- Plan how you are going to reward yourself for your success.
- Pull together people who will help you.
Discover Why You Want to QuitTake some time to think about why you want to quit smoking. Is it because you want to decrease your risk for heart disease and cancer? Perhaps you'd like to use the money you spend on cigarettes to buy something else. Maybe you are tired of smelling like smoke all the time, or you don't want to expose your children to secondhand smoke. Make your own list of reasons and write it down. Then keep a copy of your list in a place where you will see it often - especially where you might be tempted to light up. This will help remind you that there are things that are more important to you than taking a puff.
Identify Your Smoking Habits
Take a week or so to observe your smoking patterns. When do you smoke? Under what circumstances do you smoke? Do you smoke when you're with friends or do you light up every time you get into your car? Are there situations or activities that make you want to smoke more? These are your smoking triggers. Make a list of your triggers, then list an alternate behavior or strategy to avoid or outsmart each trigger.
Look for Other Ways to Cope
How can you get your needs met without cigarettes? If you use cigarettes when you're stressed, try relaxing with deep breathing or relaxation exercises. If smoking energizes you, try taking a walk or stretching instead. If you smoke with your first cup of coffee or after a meal, try changing your routine - for instance, switch to a different beverage.