Are you looking to lead a healthier and smoke-free life this new decade? We know that the process of quitting wouldn’t be a piece of cake, so here are tried-and-tested things that can help you quit smoking altogether. Get ready to take your cigarettes, throw it in the bin, and never look back.
Set a quit date
According to the American Cancer Society, setting a specified quitting date helps you achieve your goal better. The ideal quit date is one month from the day you decide to start quitting because it’s not too far and not too soon. If the date is too far, it will just give you more opportunities to delay or change your mind and if it’s too soon, you might feel very pressured. You can choose a significant date like your birthday, your anniversary, Christmas Day, or just totally random days.
Take note of your smoking habits a week before you quit
Before fully quitting, you must observe yourself very carefully and take note of your habits like when in the day do you crave a smoke the most, what triggers you to smoke, how long can you hold out without smoking, is there any food or drink that can act as a temporary replacement when you cannot smoke, and other things. This is for you to also find a way around the triggers or things that lead to smoking.
List down the things you like about smoking
This is a two-part activity and in the first part, you have to be honest with yourself, sit down, and list down all the things that you like about smoking. It can be because you believe it helps you relax, it gives off a cool sensation in your chest, or just because it makes you look cool and hipster. Whatever you can think of, write it down. Then after writing down all of it, you start with the second part…
List down the things you hate about smoking
After listing down the things you like about smoking, now it’s time for you to consider everything and write down the negative side of smoking. Such as it can give you serious health issues, it pushes some people away, your friends and family disapprove of it, and any other else you can think about. You don’t have to finish writing all the things you like and dislike about smoking in one sitting, you can always add more to both of the lists. Over time, check the list again and see if the negative side of smoking outweighs the positive, if it does, then you are ready to quit.
Stop buying cigarettes in bulk
We know quitting smoking won’t happen in a snap but instead gradually, slowly, and step-by-step. So as you ease into becoming a non-smoker, you should also change your habit of buying cigarette packs in bulk. Start by cutting down the number of packs you buy each week or each day. Then only carry with you around 2-3 sticks, so when a crave to smoke arises and you don’t have any more cigarettes on hand, you’ll have no choice but to not smoke. This method will also help you gradually lessen your cigarette intake.
Think of other things to do when a craving hits
One of the most important things to remember when trying to quit smoking is that you should never ever EVER succumb to your cravings. Why? Because it would just take you back to square one. So in order to take your mind off of smoking, why not come up with a list of other things you can do? Some example activities: take a walk, run, drive around, drink a glass of water, work out, chew a piece of gum, brush your teeth, get a cup of tea or coffee, light a candle, anything that would work for you.
Find a healthy snack food
Another thing you can do instead of smoking is to eat snacks. Most smokers who are trying to quit become big snackers in the process as they find eating gives them a similar sensation. To avoid gaining weight, choose healthy snacks like sunflower seeds, gum, carrot, celery, sugarfree lollipops or candy among others.
Find other ways to spend your cigarette breaks at work
If you used to have mini cigarette breaks during office hours, then you should find other ways to spend that free 5-10 minutes of your time. You can spend that 5 minutes talking to a colleague, scrolling through social media, or squeezing in a quick nap. There are better ways to spend your breaks than smoking!
Picture yourself playing tennis
According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, visualization helps smokers become non-smokers. Picture yourself years from now, smoke-free, with healthier lungs, and living an active lifestyle. Looks good, doesn’t it? Then picture yourself again years from now, still a chain smoker, with stained teeth, and struggling for breath after only one quick game of tennis. Which version of yourself do you want to see?
Jot down the reasons why quitting is hard
The process of quitting smoking is all about being true to yourself and what you want yourself to become. We all know quitting can be hard, especially for certain people. So, take the time to identify all the things that make it hard to quit smoking. Put them in a list, don’t be ashamed and just write down your struggles.
Think about your past difficulties and accomplishments
After jotting down all the difficulties of quitting smoking. Take a step back and think about all the other struggles you have gone through in your life and how you managed to get through them. After that, take a look at your list again and start finding ways to resolve or overcome those difficulties. Reminiscing your past accomplishments amidst difficulties will give you a boost of self-confidence and a renewed motivation to keep your promise of quitting smoking.
Have a no-smoking zone
If you have other smoker friends or family members who don’t plan on quitting anytime soon, it’s best for you to set some boundaries. Create a “No Smoking Area” in your home or in your office to keep other smokers away from you. Why do you need this? Because being constantly near cigarettes and smokers will just torture you and might even lead to you yielding to your smoking cravings. We don’t want that do we? So, it’s best to keep a safe distance from smokers. I’m sure your friends and family will understand.
Change your routine
Since quitting smoking will be a big lifestyle change for you, it would also be helpful if you start to change your other little routines too, especially those that involved smoking. Like if you used to smoke after a meal, you can try and switch it up with a dessert or a cup of coffee after every meal. Or if you used to go to a cafe with a big smoking area, you can find another one that has no smoking area so you can take your mind off of cigarettes.
Go to an acupuncturist
According to physicians at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, acupuncture helps curb cigarette cravings. Unlike other more popular remedies like nicotine patches, acupuncture does not have any side effects. To help smokers quit, acupuncturists target the pressure points in the ears. If you want to try a more natural way to curb your cravings, then you should try booking an acupuncturist, there’s really nothing to lose unless you’re afraid of needles.
Make a list of the health risks of smoking
Research about all the possible health risks of smoking. Like:
- coronary heart disease
- heart attack
- lung cancer
- increases risk of diabetes
- affects mental capacity and memory
- reduces fertility
- results in unhealthy dental hygiene
- causes cancer in other parts of the body like mouth, throat, bladder, kidney, and many more
Print out this list and post it somewhere visible
After listing down the possible health risks of smoking, print it out in big, readable letters and post it somewhere visible. This is to constantly remind yourself of the reasons you’re quitting. So whenever you feel tempted to take another hit, just read through this list again and again.
Drink herbal tea
Fight the urge to light another cigarette by brewing some fresh tea. Sipping some hot tea will give you the same relaxation smoking offers without the health risks. It’s also a far better choice than caffeine because caffeine can make you feel tensed and jittery.
Put the money you’ve saved in a jar
Another good reason for you to quit smoking is to save a whole lot more money. Track how much you’re saving by putting it in a glass jar. You can see how much money you have now that you’re not spending too much on expensive cigarettes. It can also help you boost your motivation. Challenge yourself, every time you think about smoking put money in the jar.
Write down your reasons for quitting smoking on a piece of paper
List down all the things that led to your decision. Put it on an index card or a piece of paper and carry it around with you anywhere. You can also type it down on your smartphone’s notes or anywhere else that works for you. Just put it somewhere you can always see it, so when you feel like giving up and going back to your old ways, there’s that piece of paper to remind you again and again why you need to continue.
Decide to quit when you’re in a good mood
When deciding to quit smoking, you should have a clear head. Don’t rush into a decision just because you’re frustrated, or just because somebody pressured you to, or because you wanted to change your lifestyle all of a sudden. The process of quitting smoking is a long and tedious one, so if you were to do it, be sure that you are ready to see it through the end and that you are fully committed to changing your life.
Get rid of anything that reminds you of smoking
When your quit day comes, or even before, start throwing away everything that reminds you of smoking. From lighters, ashtrays, old cigarette packs, phone cases with your favorite cigarette brand’s logo, everything! This is for you to get rid of anything that might trigger you to go back into smoking again. Marie Kondo your way to a new and healthier life.
However, if you had a relapse, there’s nothing stopping you from trying to be healthy again. Just keep on trying until you’re finally smoke-free.