So you want to stop smoking? It’s a new year and time to start working on all those resolutions. If you have resolved to stop smoking, then today is your day. Like most bad habits that have become entrenched in us and become a part of who we are, smoking is a nothing more than a process that steals your health and your money a little bit more each day. But this is no place for lectures – you’ve heard it all before. If you know smoking is bad for you, and you know it will shorten your life, then what you need is a step-by-step process to quit smoking once and for all. Here’s the process that worked for me…
1) Decide that it is your time – this is the first day you will not smoke. This is the single most important thing you will do. If you have not decided to stop, just move on and don’t even bother reading the rest of this information. If you have determined this is your day to quit, read on.
2) Don’t be a sucker. Look, there is always going to be some company who wants your money and will deliver anything you think will work, even if it’s a rip-off. There are lots of rip-off products out there that promise you can quit smoking. Don’t be a sucker. Think about it and talk to your doctor before you buy that product or therapy that’s going to help you quit smoking. There are some products and processes that may work for you, but they may not work for everyone. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to your decision, desire, and will to quit.
3) Cut the Connection. There are things that trigger smoking like right after you eat, with a cup of coffee, or when you go out socially. Take a close look at your “smoking times” and what you’re doing when you want to smoke. You’ll begin to see a pattern emerge. When you see what things are connected to the times you smoke, you have to see yourself doing that particular thing without smoking. The first time you try this will be very hard, but it will get easier and your will to resist will become stronger each time you say “no”.
4) Break the Ties That Bind. It’s time to take a look at the people with whom you associate. This is a simple step, but very hard. If you hang around people who smoke, you’re going to want to smoke – it’s that simple. Your true friends will understand and support your decision to quit – spend time with these friends, they are your lifeline. Spend your time with these people.
5) Eliminate the Triggers. Stress, food, relationships, lifestyle, peers, etc. – any number of things can cause you to want to smoke. It’s time to identify these triggers and begin to eliminate or change them. If your job is a source of stress, you may need to look for another job. If that’s not possible, then you’ll need to learn to deal with some things that are causing your stress at work.
6) Replace Bad with Good. It’s well known that if you don’t replace your habit of smoking with something else that takes it’s place, then it’s going to be tough to quit. Replace the bad habit with a healthy habit. Exercise instead of picking up a cigarette – there’s a novel idea. If you smoke when you watch TV, try replacing that TV watching with reading or some other activity. The idea is to replace the bad behavior with something good, and different.
7) Listen to Your Body. You’re going to be going through some tough times because your body is trying to cope without all those drugs and chemicals you’ve been taking in each time you smoke. You have made smoking the normal thing for your body. Now you’re going to stop giving your body all that unhealthy stuff and your body is going to make it very hard on you. You’re likely to get sick during the withdrawal period. This is a time of healing for your body and you need to eat healthy, take some vitamins or supplements, and drink lots of water. If you can stay hydrated, you’re less likely to feel sick.
It’s easy to get discouraged – you’re doing something that is very, very difficult. Don’t give up, it’s natural to want to give in and quit. Stay with it – you can do it! You have the power to stop and it is up to you. Find a few close friends or family members who will hold you accountable and give them the permission to do whatever it takes to help you quit – including hiding your smokes. If you need more reasons to quit, take a look at this list of reasons to stop smoking.
(Photo Credit: Maria Brzostowska; photoexpress.com)