Think positive – Rather than say, ‘This is going to be hard so I can’t do it’, think, ‘I know I can do it even though realistically I know it might be hard’. If you have tried to stop smoking before and failed, think, ‘Where did I go wrong and what can I learn from it so that next time I will accomplish what I set out to do?’ Also, tell yourself that the cravings may be hard but they will not last forever.
Set a date – Choose a date to stop smoking. Tell your family and friends you are going to stop smoking, and stick to that date. Write the date on your calendar and if necessary a piece of paper and have the date in mind with the thought you are going to take positive steps to improve your life and health from that date onwards – tell yourself repeatedly what the benefits are going to be.
Remove all traces of cigarettes – Leading up to that date, remove all traces of cigarettes from your house so that on the date you have chosen to stop smoking, there isn’t anything in your house to tempt you. Make yourself a promise not to even have a drag of a cigarette should you be out socializing or should you be in other circumstances that might make you cave in.
Write down your personal reasons for stopping – Think of all long/short term benefits of stopping. Google the ‘benefits of stopping smoking’ & related topics & see what you can find out, there are many good reasons to stop smoking apart from health, such as things you can do to replace the time smoking takes up. Carry this list with you leading up to stopping smoking and also after you stop smoking so that you can remind yourself of the reasons you have stopped if you experience initial cravings.
Make goals & reward lists of what you would like to do with money saved – Like buying garden plants, home improvements, spa breaks, holidays etc. Again, carry this list with you.
Think about the times you have a cigarette & then think what you could do to replace that activity – Like going for walk or eating a carrot stick. Take a note of the new activities & remind yourself of them regularly. By doing this you are taking control of those trigger points that would usually have you reaching for a cigarette. Look ahead to times when you are more likely to give in, for example, a party & then plan your actions/escape routes in advance.
Know yourself – Think about when you are more likely to give in, such as when you are tired or stressed and think of ways to combat that. Cravings don’t last for long. The NHS recommend thinking up five minute strategies to avoid giving into cravings.
Look at how you eat & drink & plan to eat healthy snacks so you don’t replace one addiction for another (i.e. sugar cravings) – Invest in a good Low GI book which will explain healthy eating/drinking. Drink more water and juice (keep to recommended daily quantities of juice). Some people find simply changing their food and drink helps, because some foods make cigarettes taste horrible. Eating more fruit and vegetables can help. Also when socializing, switching from a wine to a vodka and tomato juice can help reduce or stop the need to reach for a cigarette. Try googling NHS tips for stopping smoking for more information.
Exercise – Exercise helps with nicotine cravings – think about end goals – getting fitter, getting healthier, living longer.
Google ‘foods that help you quit smoking’ or ‘stop craving cigarettes’ e.g. sunflower seeds can help with nicotine cravings*.
*Also see Martha Ashelman’s book, ‘Stop Smoking Naturally’.
Finally, tell yourself continually that you can and will do it!!
See links below for more articles or click on images on the right (or below for smaller screens) for Article Categories.