Step by step guide to quit smoking and getting healthier
If you have decided to quit smoking … Congratulations, you made the right decision! But, quitting smoking is harder than making a decision. 70% of the smokers who want to quit smoking never manage to do so. And those who quit can take up to 8 attempts to finally be able to become smoke-free.
Taking the decision to stop smoking is a great first step!
But if you haven’t yet decided to quit smoking, this article will help you with your doubts.
I have written this article to take you through step by step process of how to quit smoking.
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1. Don’t buy in bulk
As the first and easiest step, next time you buy a cigarette, do not buy them in bulk. Buy them in the smallest quantity available. If you have a friend who smokes, ask them if you could buy one cigarette at a time from them.
2. Write about what you like about smoking
Write down the reason why you started smoking, why you continue to smoke and what you like about smoking. Understanding and analyzing why you smoked in the first place will help you become determined in your progress.
Now, write down what you hate about smoking and how is it impacting you and your family. Write down all the harmful effects smoking has on you.
When you write down things, you will realize that the dislikes overweigh the likes. This will help in making you more rational and determined.
3. Write down your reason to quit smoking
Among the list of things that you dislike about smoking, what is the biggest concern for you? What is it that drives you to quit smoking? Identifying a single major reason for your decision can be more powerful than listing several reasons which you wouldn’t care about in two weeks.
For some, it could be that their daughter or son doesn’t feel comfortable when they smoke. For others, it might be that they have a severe breathing problem that they want to improve. It might be that you are on a limited budget and want to save money by quitting smoking.
Whatever be your reason, write it down and be aware of this reason all the time.
4. Why quitting smoking won’t be easy
Reflect upon your habits and situations when you smoke. What will be the challenges in quitting?
It might be your office colleague who will insist you to give them company during breaks. You might be more addicted to having a cigarette with your coffee or early morning. Or you might not be able to control smoking while drinking. It might be difficult to say no to your friends when they offer a smoke.
Write down all such situations when you might get more craving to smoke and will find it difficult to resist.
5. What to do when the craving hits you
Now you know the situation in which it will be hard to resist smoking, how will make it easier to resist?
Make a list of things to do to avoid smoking in tough situations. If you crave smoking in the morning, you might wanna start your day by drinking a large glass of smoothie or chocolate shake to kill the craving.
You can go out on “smoking” breaks with your colleagues but instead, drink diet coke or one bottle of water. Instead of smoking and drinking in the evening, you can start jogging every day even if it’s for 15 minutes.
Plan exactly what you will do in each situation so that you don’t have to think too much about smoking. This step is very crucial. Not knowing what to do when you are craving for a cigarette will rebound you into relapse.
6. Quitting smoking is saving the life
At least yours! And others who indirectly smoke with you.
Once you realize the harm that you have been doing to yourself by smoking cigarettes, you should be thankful that you are quitting. You should consider yourself a hero by quitting this dangerous habit.
Be clear in your mind that you will be much healthier and energetic once you quit smoking. It will lead to more confidence, self-respect, and longer life.
7. Read ‘Easy Way to Stop Smoking’
This book by Allen Carr has been a holy grail for smoking cessation and helps you in quitting smoking.
Allen Carr has been a long-time chain smoker who quit smoking and is now helping others to do the same. Over the years, he has helped many celebrities to quit smoking and start a healthier life.
8. Don’t feel deprived at any time
But quitting smoking is something you should have done years ago. Don’t feel that you are giving up anything by not smoking anymore.
Gaining confidence in a key here. Remind yourself of all the difficult challenges that you have overcome.
Tell yourself all the times that you are not losing anything by giving up smoking. If you stop depriving or thinking about having a smoke, your journey will be much easier.
9. Set a quit date
Decide on a date to quit smoking. Never make the mistake of stopping to smoke on the same day as you took the decision. Often times, half-baked decisions do not get executed well. Take time to plan well for the big change and once the set date arrives, completely stop thinking about smoking.
Keep the quit date a week later or so. This will help you to plan well for the change and give you enough time to enjoy your smoking before you quit it forever.
10. Quit in a happy mood
As the final day sets in, light your last cigarette and take a vow to never hold another cigarette in your hands. From that day onwards, you will stop thinking about the moments you smoked.
Be cheerful and happy that you have made this decision. Do not quit smoking in a bad mood. At any point in your quitting journey, you shouldn’t feel bad or doubtful about not smoking.
This is a very critical part and will determine how long you will have to push yourself to avoid smoking. The happier you are about your decision the shorter and easier it will be to quit smoking.
11. Throw away everything related to smoking
Emergency Stock! Throw (or Give) away from everything that might pull you back to smoking like ashtrays, lighters, etc. By throwing away these things, you are signifying that you will no longer use them and don’t need them anymore.
This is a symbolic change of getting rid of stuff you don’t need anymore since you have now quit smoking. Now it’s time to prepare yourself for the change.
12. Understand nicotine withdrawal
Understand how the nicotine withdrawal from your body will act minutes after you smoked your last cigarette.
After 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure will stabilize. The nicotine withdrawal can be un-comforting and cause anxiety, depression, bad dreams, or headaches. It can be also slow sometimes but understand that it is a one-time thing and as a non-smoker, you will never experience it again.
Within 12 hours, Carbon Monoxide in your blood will drop to a normal level, the oxygen level will increase and you will feel great.
Within 2-3 weeks, your lungs functioning and blood circulation will improve and you will start feeling energetic and healthier.
13. Put cigarette-money in a box
Another symbolic gesture to measure your success of quitting smoking is by putting money that you’d have spent on cigarettes in a box. If a pack of cigarette costs $10 that you would smoke in 2 days, put that money in a box. Open the box after 2 months and Congratulations… you have saved $300 in just 2 months.
14. Write the good things happening to you
Write down every positive change that you have been feeling since you quit smoking. This might take a week or two in some cases but associating good things will help you overcome any doubts.
Are you feeling stronger and more energetic? Do you have to feel less fatigued? Have your reflexes improved? Does food taste better? Do you smell better than before? Can you climb more stairs now?
15. Do not stop meeting friends
One of the worst mistakes people do during their smoke cessation program is to stop going out with friends. Or not taking office breaks with colleagues to avoid smoking.
We suggest you to continue going out with friends and taking breaks with colleagues. But instead of smoking, have a coffee or a drink to relax. If you associate drinking with smoking, try drinking non-alcoholic drinks which are more refreshing.
Instead of feeling bad for not smoking, tell friends that you have quit smoking and you enjoy being a non-smoker. They will understand it.
16. Learn from others
Join a community near you that might encourage you in your progress to quit smoking. You will learn a lot by listening to mistakes that others made and their success stories.
There are so many celebrities and well-known people who have quit smoking in the past. If they can stop smoking, you can do it too. Listen to what they said about their experience and how they transformed themselves by simply cutting off cigarettes.
17. Tell everyone how you feel
Let everyone in your family and friends know that you have quit smoking and need their support during this process. Tell them how great you are feeling after quitting smoking. Form a support group around you that would help you complete your journey.
18. Reflect upon your progress
Every week reflect upon the main reason why you wanted to quit smoking and the progress you’ve made. Do you see yourself happy about the reason to quit smoking? Keep reminding yourself why you wanted to quit and that you are closer to achieving it write down if you felt like smoking in any situation and how would you ensure you don’t give up the next time.
19. Not even a single puff
Many people think that they are allowed to smoke once in a while during their smoke riddance process. They believe that just one puff won’t make them start smoking again. But they are so wrong!
Your will power to avoid even a single puff of smoke will determine whether you will succeed in quitting to smoke or not. Once you smoke a cigarette during your quitting process, you are highly likely to start smoking again within one week.
20. Nicotine patch and replacements are useless
Many companies, health blogs, websites, and experts will tell you that nicotine patches and gums are the first and most effective way of quitting smoking. But it’s not!
The reason why smoking is difficult to quit is not because of the act of smoking, but the effects of nicotine in the body. By using replacements and substitutes, you are still consuming nicotine but in different forms which makes it equally hard to give up.
Replacements like Nicorette gum and patches will give you a fix of nicotine and you will still be dependent on those fixes. You might reduce smoking temporarily. But the day you don’t get your replacements, you will go back to smoking almost immediately.
The most effective way of quitting smoking is to quit nicotine intake in any form.
21. Drink herbal tea
Herbal tea helps in detoxing your body and reducing stress during nicotine withdrawal. Some may feel a similar kind of relief from herbal tea as they get from smoking a cigarette. Drinking Herbal Tea regularly has many benefits than just substituting cigarettes and can help you recover faster.
22. Find a new activity
First few days of your journey can be challenging and depressing also. Therefore, you might already plan to start a new activity to help you not think about smoking. When you change your activity routine, you are less likely to think about the previous routine which included smoking.
Start your day with a light jog around your neighborhood and drink a lot of water. During office breaks, play a game of table tennis or solitaire or just take a walk. Get a treadmill desk to be more active at work. This will give you less time to think about smoking.
If you have a habit of smoking in the evening in front of the TV, try switching to a better snack like peanuts, sugar-free gums, cashew nuts, etc.
Forming new habits can be a very effective way of fighting the urge to smoke.
23. Live Healthily
When you stop smoking, you will realize that you now have extra energy in your body and you feel less fatigued. Try to do more exercise every day to make yourself healthier.
Fill your space with positive things, at home, and at work. Exercise regularly. Eat clean and healthy foods now that your taste buds are back to normal. Walk more and everywhere, you have more stamina now.
24. Reward Yourself
Reward yourself as every day passes by without smoking. Celebrate One-Week, Two-Week, One-Month, One-year Nicotine Free anniversaries. Remember the tons of money you had saved in a jar? Go out and splurge on yourself. Feel good about your achievement, you deserve it.
25. No going back
Remember that you to convince yourself that you can’t fail at any cost and that there is no going back once you have taken the decision to quit smoking. Smoking cessation is not easy and if you attempt several times, you will have to go through the same difficulties each time.
26. Try other methods
If you fall back on your plan the first time, record where you went wrong and how would you make sure you don’t give up the next time. Try other methods to quit smoking such as behavioral therapy, acupressure, or acupuncture.
27. Join SmokefreeTXT
SmokefreeTXT is a mobile text messaging service designed for adults and young adults across the United States who are trying to quit smoking. The program was created to provide 24/7 encouragement, advice, and tips to help smokers quit smoking and stay quit.
28. Download QuitNow!
QuitNow! is an android app community of over two million people who have managed to quit smoking thanks to their will, and by receiving and giving help and encouraging messages using Quit Now!
29. Smoking Cessation Aids
If you are having a lot of trouble controlling your cravings, there might be medicines that can help you. We do not recommend or suggest using aids for nicotine replacement or as supplements. Do not take these medicines without prior consultation with your doctor. We’re listing this for informational purpose only.
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