Smoking is a bad habit, and like all habits is hard to break. But you can stop smoking, some of the most hardened of smokers have managed it.
Here are some interested stats from a poll carried out in the US:
- 7 out of 10 smokers say they want to quit each year.
- 4 out of 10 smokers attempt to quit each year.
- 1 out of 10 smokers will quit for a prolonged or indefinite period of time.
Quitting smoking has a wide range of positive health benefits, will save you a small fortune, and make everyone who cares about you happy.
So why do so few people quit smoking?
And, how can you quit smoking?
If you have ever thought about quitting smoking you will have probably seen a lot of the ‘quick fix’ methods, or costly alternatives.
Unfortunately a lot of companies are just looking to take advantage of a look of people’s desperation. Paying for hypnotism or some magic pill isn’t going to work.
You need to find a way to change the way you think permanently, and change your bad habits. No one being honest will tell you it’s going to be easy. But it’s absolutely worth it.
Here are 10 effective ways to help you quit smoking:
It’s almost all mental. You will go through some physical discomfort, but with a strong mental fortitude you can push through it. Addition and bad habits are in the mind, and the way your mind has become trained to think, you need to change that.
The first thing to do is to start thinking positively. Negative thoughts are just going to drag you down and a smoke will feel like a good option. Be optimistic about giving up, tell yourself you cannot fail. Set small goals and achievements to give yourself small feels of achievement.
Make a Clear Plan to Quit Smoking
Set a day, time, and place to quit smoking. If you are quitting gradually because that’s the only way you think you can do it, set out how you are going to do that. Set yourself lots of realistic goals, each goal you achieve will spur you on more.
Don’t let anything get in the way of your plan, no matter how important or tempting it may be. Quitting smoking needs to become a central focus of your life, and if you become a little selfish because of it – that’s fine.
Change Your Diet
There has been some studies carry out that show certain foods make cigarettes more desirable. Believe it or not, meat was the worst offender for making a cigarette taste belter. While vegetables, fruit, and cheese had the opposite effect.
If you think certain foods or meals make you think about smoking more, change up those foods. You need to be willing to be flexible if you’re going to quit, but keep telling yourself how much it is worth it.
Change What You Drink
The same study was carried out across a wide range of drinks. Coffee, tea, alcohol, and most fizzy drinks all make cigarettes taste better. So clear out your cupboards and buy in water and juices, make this process as easy on you as possible.
It’s no coincidence that a lot of those drinks are social drinks. If you’re with friends who are smoking they should respect the fact that you’re quitting and not smoke in front of you. They may even be very supportive and join you with a water.
Identify Any Patterns You Have for Craving a Smoke
Smokers crave cigarettes, and it’s hard to shake off the cravings. You will need to be mentally strong to deal with the cravings. So try and pinpoint any patterns you have. This means scheduled times you smoked, or how long in between cigarettes.
When you are aware of the times of day that are the most difficult, schedule something to do that will take your mind off smoking. Book in appointments with friends, go for a run, do whatever it takes.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help
You don’t have to do it all alone. There are a number of different organizations in place to help people quit smoking, from governmental programs, to private support groups. It’s easy to find people in the same position as you, and talking to them can help a lot.
If you can convince some friends and family to quit at the same time too this has proved to be a major help. Going through the motions with someone who understand works out well. Plus, you both get to quit a bad habit.
If you smoke there is a good chance that you do not get a lot of exercise. Studies have proven that just a 10 minutes brisk walk can help cut the cravings dramatically. You brain actually produces feel good and anti-craving chemicals while you’re exercising.
You will find exercise difficult at first, all the years of smoking will have damaged your cardio and health. But as you do more and more exercise you will enjoy the benefits and feelings of well-being. Hopefully exercise can become your new habit.
Surround Yourself with Non-Smokers
Non-smokers are usually quite vocal about not liking smoking. Surrounding yourself with non-smokers and living that lifestyle will help you kick the habit. Never have any cigarettes on you wither, then you will not have access to any in weak moments.
When you see smokers don’t think about what it used to feel like. Just tell yourself that what they are doing is not enjoyable, and is a waste of money. Train your brain to frown on smoking, keep mentally strong.
Keep Your Mouth and Hands Busy
You are twice as likely to successfully quit if you keep your hands and mouth busy after you quit. Chewing gum and using a vaporizer are the two more common props people use. These two things are both effective, but you need to make sure you don’t rely on them too heavily.
Going from one bad habit to the next is not the answer. While using a vaporizer isn’t as bad for your health, it’s still not social acceptable and shows you are not able to completely quit the action of smoking.
Make an Honest List of Reasons Why You Want to Quit
Making an honest list of reasons and carrying it with you can help be a motivator. Being honest is key here. If you have lost someone to a smoking related disease, of you fear having lung cancer, write this down.
You should want to be around longer for your family. Not want to live in pain and die from a painful disease, or maybe it’s just a financial motivation. Whatever it is, write it down and remind yourself daily.
It’s going to be a long hard road, and a lot of people don’t make it.
I’m not trying to demotivate you, but just being realistic here. You need to want to quit so bad it dominates your life until you’re free.
I know you can do it, because I know people who have quit. And their lives are enriched because of it.
If you have any experience with quitting smoking, and can offer any additional advice, please do.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.