If you are like most people who smoke, you have tried to quit many times and simply been unable to stay quit. Whether trying cold turkey, the patch, e-cigarettes, or gum, it is very difficult to quit smoking for good. And while there is no sure-fire way to quit, here are 6 tips to help you increase your likelihood of quitting for good.
- Make a Plan – Whether you wake up one morning and decide “today is the day” or you pick a day a few weeks out to start, make sure once you quit you have a plan in place to stay quit. This plan includes when you quit, setting goals, deciding on your support team, and your techniques for quitting. As with everything in life, we are more likely to succeed when we have a plan.
2. Have a Support Team – Many people try to quit with a “buddy.” Unfortunately, if this buddy relapses, then you are more likely to go back, as well. Instead, try to find someone in your life who either have been an ex-smoker for a long time or who have never smoked to help you. This way, when you need support, that person will be able to help.
3. Go Cold Turkey – While it’s not for everyone, going cold turkey is the most successful way to quit smoking for good. By eliminating any crutches, you are able to learn to live without it. There is something to be said for incrementally reducing the nicotine intake, but a large part of the addiction is a habit. So for many, you simply replace one habit with another and need to quit all over again with gum, patches, or e-cigarettes.
4. Avoid Triggers – Triggers are the things which make you want to smoke. Common triggers are alcohol, outdoor breaks at work, caffeine, being around other smokers, and so on. If there is an activity which you associate with smoking, avoid doing it until you are more comfortable with your new commitment.
5. Reward Success – Haven’t smoked in a week? Reward it! Threw out that last “safety” pack in your car? Reward it! Went out with your coworkers for a drink and resisted smoking? Reward it! Rewards can be anything (aside from smoking, of course), but should be something you wouldn’t normally do for yourself. They can be buying a pair of shoes, going for a massage, or getting a milkshake with dinner. But by constantly rewarding your successes, you will continue to strive for the next one.
6. Ask for Help – You are going to have moments of weakness. You are going to need help at times. By reaching out, you will significantly increase your chances of success. This is where your support team is needed – and make sure they know what you need. Tell people how to help you, then lean on them when you need it.
There is no fool-proof method to quitting smoking for good. But by following the tips above, you will increase the likelihood of sticking with it this time. Now go pick a quit day and start!