To Quit or Not to Quit: That is the Question!
Of Course You Want to Quit!
As with any vice, quitting smoking is a difficult challenge. I had struggled for years with quitting; been successful, only to start again. But I really did focus, and made this last time the FINAL time that I made that promise to myself. I have been smoke-free for ten years, and I feel so much better. It is great to not have to depend on having a cigarette, especially when I found myself in remote locations without any access to cigarettes.
I hated having to depend on a cigarette. I have done much research into stopping my dependence on nicotine and this filthy habit, and I have discovered many helpful tips for those of you who are beginning the quest to be nicotine-free. I thought I'd share these helpful suggestions with you.
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1. Pick a "quit" day, and stick to it. It doesn't have to be the perfect day: just choose a specific day, write it down in your calendar, and go for it! Commit fully to your day and plan....which leads me to the next point. 2. Have a plan. Develop a reward system (more later on), and have a support system in place.
3. On your "quit" day, butt out completely: throw out your smokes, your ashtrays, your lighters, everything! And avoid situations that will make you want to smoke. Try this acronym: NOPE - Not One Puff, Ever! Keep telling yourself this!
4. List your reasons for quitting/why you want to stop smoking: is it for your health, your friends, or your family? Whatever the reason, it's YOUR reason, and that's fine. The two main reasons why I quit were the cost factor and improving my health. Know your motivation and why you want to quit is crucial. The mind is a tricky thing - if you can convince your mind that you want to quit, this will help you go a long way in your quest to be successful.
5. The first few days are going to be the toughest. I've heard it called "Hell Week" - it's because during the first two days, your body is going through the strongest and most powerful stages of nicotine withdrawl. The second week has been referred to as "Heck Week", which is a little easier than Hell Week. And so on, and so on. With each passing day, you are on your way to your goal. But learn from your mistakes: if you relapse, get up, brush yourself off, and start again. People often fail several times before they succeed. You are NOT a failure because you have a relapse. Try and try again until you've quit for good. 6. Eliminate the smoke from your clothes, your house, your car, anywhere you spend time. That way, you won't crave the smell and be sucked back in to the craving for a cigarette. If that craving does arise, however, drink water, take 10 deep breaths, eat a healthy snack, call a friend: do anything to avoid smoking.
7. Join a forum: when you are trying to quit, you need support, whether that comes from family, friends, co-workers, health professionals, whomever will assist and help you on your journey. You won't feel so alone....and remember, if you are a part of a support group, "misery loves company": others are struggling too, so there's strength in numbers!
8. Now for those rewards: give yourself small, attainable, manageable goals, and when you meet those goals, reward yourself. Buy a new DVD or CD, a T-shirt or a pair of shoes or a book. Perhaps you could go out to a movie or dinner with a friend. Put your money that you used to use for cigarettes in a jar and use it for your rewards. It will add up quickly, and think about the possibilities!
9. Choose 2 or more of the following proven quit smoking methods: join a support group; try individual counselling; use nicotine-replacement therapy; ask a doctor about prescriptions that take away cravings or drugs to help cope with the depression from withdrawl. The following methods have NOT been proven to work: acupuncture, acupressure, electro-stimulation, laser therapy or hypnosis. Save your money for proven methods.
10. Replace your negative habits with positive ones: if you smoke when you're stressed, what positive action could you take to alleviate stress? How about going for a walk?
While not everything will work for everyone, the benefits of quitting smoking will far outweigh the reasons to continue smoking. So try, try, and try again! You CAN do it!