Begin prepared- create stop smoking plan
It is way easier to achieve a goal when you are prepared, rather than thinking out your strategy on a go. If you are a rookie quitter, you do not know what you are going to face with. Also, if you were quitting unsuccessfully in the past, you obviously did something wrong.
Chances are the secret ingredient to your smoke free life is a proper stop smoking plan.
I give you a solid frame of it. It is up to you to add something to it or just leave it as it is.
Set your quit date
I always say, that the best quit date is now. I advocate the moderate cigarette reduction method, so you don’t have to panic, that from your set date, you never smoke again if you succeed. Belief, you need smoking for some reason, is natural. This is a lie your brain convinced you to, and you need some time to get over it.
Setting any other quit date than now, is also fine as long as you are comfortable with it. You will give time yourself to prepare psychologically. You also may do lots of preparation work until date comes.
Think of your reasons to quit
Motivation is so important in quitting smoking. That is an essential of your stop smoking plan. You may follow the greatest quit smoking program on earth, but if you can’t answer yourself WHY you are doing it, your brain will find plenty of excuses to light one up, when craving hits.
Think as many reasons to quit as you can and write it down. This is crucial you write it down. You will not get away with thinking about them only. Thought, that was optimized for putting it on a piece of paper, is much more powerful and convincing than the one, which stays in your head only. You may use your computer or phone obviously. 21’st century wasn’t canceled by far.
Write an article for yourself, named blueprint of life without smoking. Give yourself several sessions for this task. You will be surprised, how many fresh ideas will come to your head during your second writing session. Your motivation of quitting will change so much, while writing it. Besides that, you’ll have an article, written by you, that is always on hand if you need to remember what you are fighting for. Great tool during hard moments.
Define your smoking triggers
Biggest enemy is you in this battle. The better you’ll know yourself, the more chances you’ll quit with less effort. Yes, I also want you to write your craving list down: morning coffee, while driving, office break with colleagues, you name it.
I highly recommend you to make a list of cigarettes smoked throughout the week or two. Write down the date, time and circumstances you smoked. After you have a sample of more than a hundred cigarettes in your list, sit down and write next to each case what triggered you to smoke.
Congrats, you have a trigger list that is objective, as it was made by using scientific research method.
What I want you to do next, is to create a plan how you can avoid your triggers. If it is too hard to stop drinking your morning coffee, leave it as it is for next month. Chances are, after dramatic reduction of smokes, your coffee cigarette craving will reduce as well.
Look to your non-smoking colleagues. What are they doing during the office breaks? Does it suite you also? Maybe it is time to hang out with other guys during breaks.
While looking to your list, you also may find situations, you grabbed a cig, you could avoid. Unpleasant people you dealt with, stressful situations you find yourself in. Think of the ways to avoid those during next month. Chances are you’ll not only quit smoking in the nearest future, you will also increase your quality of life in general. Congrats on that in advance!
Know your reasons you smoke and fight the cravings
Cravings will come and you’ll have to deal with them. Considering which way you selected to quit- moderate reduction or cold turkey, methods of fighting cravings are a bit different, so I will not expand on this right now, but knowing your personal reasons of smoking is an important part of your stop smoking plan.
You may have tons of reasons, why you must quit smoking, but also an important thing is, to understand clearly why you are smoking in general. It is easier to prevent or fight the cravings after you know it.
Need to keep your mouth and hand busy. A habit of having cigarette in your hand and mouth may be replaced by a straw easily. There are plenty of cases out there, people made their life so much easier, by sucking straws, that has length of a cigarette. Not comfy with a straw or it does not convince you? Buy a dummy cigarette than.
To relieve stress or improve mood. Make a list of substitutes that relieves stress. The truth is, there will be no substitute that replace smoking totally from the start. It is important to try out as many alternatives to smoking as possible. You even do not know at the start, what fights craving the best, you only assume. Shape your craving fighting measures list by testing- it’s individual.
Do you smoke because it is relaxing and pleasurable. The same story like with stress, just make a different list- list of pleasures. Don’t try to be a better version of you, than you are in reality. If you feel that chocolate chip caramel ice cream sundae should be in your list, write down a several favorite shop addresses also, so you don’t have to think much, where to get the treat. Your primary goal is to kill the smoking craving, not become the healthiest ass on a block.
Do you get anxious without cigarettes? If you feel insecure not having cigs, I encourage you to have some. People throw out their smokes after they start quitting, and it leads to nothing but anxiousness, anger and often guilt, after they buy a pack, smoke one and bin the rest.
We fight the desire to smoke, not the smoking process itself. Have cigarettes somewhere at the back of your drawer. As long as you do not have strong need to smoke, you are safe, but if craving is so great you can’t fight it, a cigarette smoked harms less, than nervous exhaustion. The important detail here is, keep your smokes hidden, so they would not remind you about themselves.
I know this statement objects everything you can find on quitting smoking, but this is my point of view. I’ve tried it on me and I know it works. The fact you are quitting smoking does not mean smoking is your biggest enemy in the universe. Smoking kills you slowly, but fatal car accident, that may occur after you drive in bad mental condition due to enormous smoking craving, might kill you instantly.
Think about your relationship with a closed ones and mental traumas of your children that occurred due to your chronic quit sessions, that were led by your horrible state of mind, arguments and bad atmosphere. Does it worth quitting?!
I am not one of those preacher that sees smoking as a resident evil. There are things way worse than smoking. We have to admit that first, and incorporate quitting of the habit in to our way of life.
Get rid of reminders
Start from your home. Get rid of lighters, ashtrays, cigarettes and any other smoking gadgets you may have on your sight. You do not need to see them anymore. Ever.
Wash your clothes, do the general cleaning. Get rid of smells. You do not want smell to trigger your craving.
If you were smoking inside for long enough, simple cleaning won’t help, most probably. Camouflage the old tobacco smell with quality natural home scents. Keep some candles light up for several weeks- it helps to get rid of smells.
Clean the car. Also, throw everything that reminds smoking from the car. If you smoked while driving, car wash the inside. Put some natural scents in it. Try to put some packed snacks, so you could chew when craving hits.
Workplace. Don’t forget the workplace. You spend a huge portion of your time there. Think what you are going to do instead of smoking breaks, get rid of lighters in the drawers. Announce to your colleagues, you are quitting, and support is appreciated. If you manage to bring together some smokers around you to quit together, that will be the best motivation for you.
Think what might help you to fight the craving and keep motivated. It may be individual, so be creative. Here are some general one size fits all ideas
Apps. Download some quit support smoking apps. Yes, download several of them, play around for a while and choose best suited for you. Nothing suits best for everyone. App that has best reviews, may not be your first choice.
Blogs. The longer hours you spend in the quit support environment, the better motivated you become. That is pretty simple. Choose several blogs, quit smoking support sites and spend some time there daily. Consistency is key here. You have to feed your motivation all the time.
Support groups. It is easier to go through all this in a group than solo. Chances for success increases dramatically. Find some support groups on social media. Check stories of others, participate in discussions. Find some useful tips for you and share yours with the others. Great form of therapy, that costs nothing but some of your time, but brings plenty of value.
Maybe you have a support group of quitters in your community. It is definitely not a waste of time to meet once a week for an hour or two, for sharing your thoughts. Live conversation is always a stronger motivator than a Facebook group.
There is no quitters club around? That is an opportunity for you-start one yourself. Be socially active and give back to your community. It will be meaningful and useful activity for you. Start from those two colleagues of yours I wrote before. You decided to quit together, remember?
Quit smoking/ healthy lifestyle YouTube channels. Same like blogs and sites. Spend some time watching quit support or healthy lifestyle channels instead of TV show. It is important you like the material so it would be more like an entertainment for you rather than a duty. You want to dive in to more healthy, smoke free surrounding than you are now. This new surrounding has to become part of your ordinary life, so if you feel that info you are getting from the Chanel is useful but you get bored quick- ditch it. There is so much material on the net, you will find something that is useful and interesting at a time.
Tell friends and family for greater engagement
It may be uncomfortable a bit due to fear of failure, but that is another little lie you convinced yourself. There is nothing wrong to try and fail. It is a tragedy not to fail due to not trying. Ask for support of your loved ones. Make an agreement, you will be not judged as a looser if you grab a cigarette again. This is not a single failure that makes you a loser, but not trying enough times to succeed.
Explain to your friends and family, you decided to quit no matter what. You do not have a date or time than it is considered finished but you have your stop smokin plan, and you proceed quitting until you feel it is done. Some slips of the road might occur and it does not mean you are a failure. It means you are starting again, no big deal. You need to suffer a hundred failures in order to reach success- ask for an attitude like that from your loved ones, and you are doomed to quit.