5 Steps to Quitting Smoking
It’s no secret that smoking is harmful to our health, but that’s not always reason enough to quit. Smoking is both a physical and psychological addiction that becomes ingrained as part of the smoker’s daily routine. So not only do people fight the physical withdrawal symptoms, but smoking becomes a part of certain activities like driving, watching TV or sitting on the patio. If you are considering quitting smoking, it's important to address both the physical and psychological addiction and recognize that both are equally important to manage. Keep reading below for helpful ways to get started.
1. Identify your “why” If you’re thinking of quitting, take the time to write out why you want to stop smoking. Be as detailed as possible to get to the root of what motivates you. For example, instead of writing “I want to be healthier,” be more specific: “I want to be healthier because I love my grandchildren and want to be around to watch them grow up.” Visualize what your life would look like without cigarettes and write it down. Keep this paper close to you and review it anytime you are struggling with cravings.
2. Set a quit date
Discuss your plan to quit smoking with your doctor. He or she may be able to help you come up with a plan to help manage your physical withdrawal symptoms. Once you have a plan in place, pick a specific date when you will no longer smoke cigarettes. In the weeks or months leading up to the quit date, develop a plan to slowly decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke. Be sure to use the support available to you, whether it's a medication prescribed by your doctor or telephone coaching with a smoking cessation specialist. The more support you have the more ready you'll be on your quit date.
3. Identify your triggers Smoking addiction is much more than just a craving for nicotine. Often it becomes linked to the tasks people perform each day. Many people will automatically smoke when they get into their car, finish a meal or complete a chore. In the days leading up to your quit date, take notice of your smoking routine and come up with ways you can distract yourself. You may find it helpful to replace smoking with a new routine like chewing gum or sucking on a mint. Others find that taking a new route to work can help break the habit. Developing new associations to activities you commonly link to smoking will be a key part in quitting success.
4. Set up support
Tell trusted friends about your plan to quit and spend more time with non-smokers. Research community support programs and consider smoking support hotlines. The more people you tell about your plans the more accountable you'll be.
5. Be kind to yourself
It can take several quit attempts until you can finally call yourself a non-smoker. If you stop smoking and then relapse, don’t be hard on yourself! Instead, set a new quit date as soon as possible and reflect on what strategies worked during your past attempt and what challenges you faced. Brainstorm ways to overcome the challenges you identified. If you use the opportunity as a learning experience, you will be even more successful in the next attempt!
No matter how long you’ve been smoking, it’s not too late to quit. You have the power to overcome your addiction, no matter how many times you have to try before you succeed. Take the time to become as prepared as possible before you quit and refer back to the steps above to help you be more successful in your attempt.
Learn more about smoking cessation and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.
1. Help Guide