4 step process to help you stop smoking – words Alexa Wang
Everyone knows that smoking is expensive and harmful, but this knowledge doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to quit.
Those who have successfully quit smoking know how important it is to set a plan and to stick with it. Whether you’re just thinking about quitting or are seriously ready to stop, following these four steps can help you stop smoking for good.
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Quitting smoking is often more about the mental challenges than the physical ones. Sure, you will go through some physical withdrawal symptoms, but you need to be mentally prepared to succeed. How will you react when you’re around smokers? What will you do when you’re in a stressful situation and just want a cigarette to calm your nerves? Success largely depends on these factors.
Start by making a list of your reasons for quitting. Maybe you want to set a good example for your kids. Maybe you don’t have kids yet, but you know that you don’t want to be a parent who smokes. Maybe your health is starting to deteriorate because of your habit. The reasons should be your own. When others are pressuring you to quit, you won’t have the motivation you need.
Change Your Habits
Smoking is a habit, and one way to break the habit is to make changes to it. Start by breaking some of the mental associations you have with smoking. If you always light up first thing in the morning, try waiting an hour or two. If you always smoke two cigarettes during your daily commute, consider smoking only one. Resist the urge to have a smoke immediately after a meal. These various associations are strong, and breaking them makes it easier when you finally quit.
Alternatively, some people try to break the physical habit first through the use of an electronic cigarette. You can start with a lower dose of nicotine, then eventually start using an e-liquid that doesn’t have any nicotine at all. This helps you break the physical addiction while still being able to enjoy some of the relaxing benefits of smoking.
Get Some Help
You don’t have to do it alone. Don’t be ashamed to get the help that you need. For many people, this means getting some emotional support. If your friends and family don’t smoke, let them know that you’re going to do this and might have a hard time. Tell your smoking friends that you might not be able to be around them for a while. Find others who have quit smoking for good to offer you tips and be there for you through the hard times.
Consider getting some medical help as well. The patch or nicotine gum can help you reduce physical cravings while you deal with the mental side. Health insurance plans may even pay for these products if a doctor prescribes them.
Eventually, there comes a time where you have to fully commit to being smoke-free. While many people start by reducing the amount they smoke or only smoking occasionally, you’ll never see the true benefits of quitting smoking until you stop completely. That’s the final jump that you need to make, but it can also be the most difficult.
Perhaps the best way to do this is to create a “quit date.” If you’re ready to quit cold turkey, this date could be as early as right now. If you prefer gradually weaning yourself off of cigarettes, then your quit date might be a few months into the future. Once you hit that date, though, you have to be ready to give it your all. Resist the urge to have “just one” and plan how you’ll react in different situations.
Quitting smoking is a big challenge, but it’s one that offers many rewards. When you’re prepared to face those challenges, you have a better chance of success. Take the time to figure out what will work for you and make a plan for yourself.