1. To succeed, you need to find a REASON to quit. You can make a list and carry it with you. For others, a single, compelling reason works better.
2. Cold turkey is best. Pick a day. Avoid tapering. Tapering whets your addiction appetite.
3. Dispense with all smoking paraphenalia and related items like breath mints.
4. Watch those situations that TRIGGERED you to light up in the past (see WHY you’re lighting up). We find that your smoking habit is triggered by certain things in yor environment — e.g., alcohol, coffee, stress, etc.
5. Recognize these and PLAN ACTIVELY. Make a list of triggers and associations, and think of an alternate activity or situation you will turn to at that time. Think of the times when you normally spend long periods without smoking (movies, church, etc.). This reminds you that you can do it. Stop and recall the reasons why you want to quit. And, always eat breakfast within a short time of getting up. This naturally lifts your blood sugar level and reduces cravings of all kinds.
6. Set goals, give rewards. Calendar stickers, coins and dollars saved in a glass jar so you can see it mount, little rewards. Research shows the number one thing that helps insure long-term behavior change is celebrating (enthusiastically!) every little step in the direction of your goal. This can mean getting through a 5-minute period of wanting a cigarette. Stand up, clap your hands, put on a big grin, and shout “Hooray for me!” It turns out that adults, just like potty-training toddlers, have a part of the brain that responds powerfully to happy encouragement and celebration.
7. Drink lots of liquids to flush out nicotine and other toxins. Plain water or herbal teas are best, preferably 8 to 10 cups a day (2-1/2 quarts).
8. Exercise. Start with as little as five minutes a day. Work up to 20 to 30 minutes. A short time every day is much better than a longer time every other day. Get outside if you can and breathe deep. On busy days, go back to five minutes, since it’s more important to keep your momentum than to exercise a certain amount.
9. Practice relaxation techniques. Deep breathing is especially helpful, since smoking is actually deep breathing. Meditation, yoga, prayer, sports or whatever you know leaves you feeling more relaxed.
10. Assume a positive attitude. Say, “I don’t smoke.” Quitting smoking is doing something GOOD for yourself, not punishment. Keep telling yourself how fortunate you are that you know enough to do something so important for your health and your looks. Read “After You Stop Smoking” every day (on this site).
The Keys to Quitting:
AVOIDANCE – avoid smoking situations
ESCAPE – get away from smoking situations
DISTRACTION – doodle, read, play card games, walk
IMAGINATION – see yourself as a non-smoker, imagine the freedom of having more energy, mental clarity, money and natural beauty
SUBSTITUTION – do something else instead, have a plan for what substitutions you can turn to
Two Interesting Facts:
Of all those attempting to quit smoking, 15% quit permanently. And… the average number of times somebody quits smoking before they become a permanent non-smoker is six. Each of these statistics gives us its own kind of hope!