Every January, millions of people attempt to quit smoking. In fact, recent statistics suggest that up to 70 percent of smokers would love to quit their nasty habit.
Which begs the question why there are still so many people enslaved to tobacco. The reason, of course, is that quitting smoking cigarettes is one of the hardest habits to break. Quitting smoking requires significant willpower to break the habit along with coping strategies that make nicotine withdrawal tolerable.
Without a clear plan, your chances of success will be hindered. But by implementing a few proven methods, the likelihood of you becoming a non-smoker will increase substantially.
1. Know why you want to quit. It sounds incredibly simple, but the act of writing your reasons for quitting in a notepad will reaffirm why you are doing it. When it gets tough, refer to your written reasons for quitting to help you stay the course. Get fired up and write the practical and emotional reasons for your journey.
2. Make a plan. Write down the date you will quit and stick to it. Note any likely triggers such as planned parties, alcohol and morning coffee breaks. Plan what you will do to break the habit of smoking in these circumstances. It may be you step outside with a cold glass of water or to talk to a former smoker who has already successfully quit the habit. Be aware of your triggers and plan for them.
3. Have a support structure. Discuss your plan with colleagues, close friends and family and tell them why it is so important to you that you give up smoking. Let them know how they can help you, and they will understand and support you if you're having a bad day. If you know anybody who has kicked the habit, then be sure to discuss how they accomplished their goal and what helped them break free of nicotine.
4. Throw out all smoking paraphernalia. Get rid of all tobacco, lighters, ashtrays and matches. It may also be wise to avoid friends who smoke around you in the first few days of quitting. Don't worry, they'll understand. Wash any tobacco tainted clothes and enjoy the smell of a clean, fresh wardrobe for the first time in years.
5. Establish a timeline. One of the most effective methods of sticking to your plan is to have a timeline that illustrates the benefits you are experiencing as you chalk up the days smoke-free. A timetable that includes physical improvements and recovery statistics is invaluable. Check out this fantastic recovery timetable if you needed any further proof of how liberating quitting smoking can be.
6. Reward yourself. For every milestone that you reach, you should not be afraid of rewarding yourself. Enjoy a nice meal at a favorite restaurant without having to pop outside for a crafty smoke between courses. You'll start to experience flavors and smells more acutely without a palate blunted by tobacco. Consider putting your previous daily cigarette money into a jar and saving up for a holiday in a few months time.
7. Use a quitting aid. Whether you quit cold turkey or with the use of a quitting aid is entirely up to you. There are numerous nicotine replacement therapies available and your choice will depend on whether you prefer to chew gum, inhale vapor or stick a plaster on your arm. Smoking cessation aids do help some people, but remember that you will not be truly nicotine-free until you've stopped using these aids altogether.
8. Visualize. Just as successful sports people will visualize making important plays, you should also envisage how you will feel once you have quit smoking. Picture your improved health, increased energy and healthy bank balance and imagine the pride you will feel at your accomplishment. Quitting smoking will improve your life in innumerable ways. Don't lose sight of the benefits.
9. Exercise. Research has proven that even walking for five minutes cuts cravings and helps your brain produce potent anti-craving chemicals. Exercise will also improve circulation and help you feel good by releasing endorphins. Exercise will improve your mood, which is often darkened in the early stages of a quit smoking program.
10. Get back on the horse. Many people take several attempts before finally quitting smoking for good. A one-time slip-up needn't turn into a full relapse. If you ever succumb to the cravings and take a few puffs, don't let it completely derail you. Get back on the horse and take one day at a time. Resilience will help you succeed.
Use all these methods wisely, and you'll be in the best possible shape to quit smoking in 2015. You'll be well prepared and unlikely to need any of the crazy hacks that desperate smokers are tempted to try. Anyone for a baking soda cocktail?