Helpful SPECIFIC action steps to quit smoking.
STEP ONE: WRITE DOWN 20 REASONS WHY YOU WANT TO QUIT SMOKING
"I want to quit smoking". Many smokers will say this to themselves at some point in their lives. Some people say it almost every time they light up. But if you really want to stop smoking cigarettes, you need to stop and list out exactly the reasons to quit smoking that are meaningful to you. You might have heard about all the health effects, but those are easy to put in the back of your mind. Maybe you'll even have a programmed set of "auto-denials" such as "my granddad smoked 10 a day and he lived to 94" or "I can still play football without coughing. I'm fitter than those so-called health nuts I play against". So make sure these are reasons to stop smoking that are personal to you.
You don't need to over think this. Just sit down and list them out...the more free flowing and subconsciously you do it, the better. Here's some reasons to get you started:
- Because one day, I know, deep inside, these things are going to kill me
- Because I want to see my children grow up and see their children grow up
- Because it sets a bad example to my kids and those around me
- Because my breath stinks and my teeth are rotten
- Because my fingers and teeth are yellow and disgusting. I look so unattractive
- Because it's a complete waste of money and it's money I don't have an awful lot of. I'd rather spend my cigarette money on a good holiday or to upgrade my old car
- Because I want to feel healthier
- Because I don't want this smoker's cough every morning
- Because I know that smoking is one of the main causes of death
- Because smoking doesn't just affect my health: passive smoking kills too
- Because it's just disgusting, it really is
- Because it's a sign that I'm weak, have no self-discipline and that I'm a bit of a loser. If I can't quit smoking, what can I do?
- Because I use smoking as a crutch
- Because it's making me look old. My skin is all leathery and I have deep wrinkles around my eyes
- Because I can't taste my food any more and I love food
- Because my wife/mum/dad/loved one wants me too so badly and everytime they see me put a cigarette in my mouth, I can feel them judging me
- To stop my wife/mum/dad/loved one nagging me for once and for all
- Because I'll be fitter
- Because it's unattractive and girls/guys don't like smokers
- Because it affects my fertility
- Because I've run out of excuses not to
- Because it makes my house smell
- Because it makes my clothes smell
- Because it irritates my eyes, nose and throat
- Because I want to quit smoking for good. Simple as that
- Because I know the benefits of quitting smoking will be worth the effort
STEP TWO: WRITE DOWN YOUR SMOKING TEMPTATIONS AND HABITS
Smoking a cigarette has often become a habit. Write down the times that you are most tempted and most often smoke and consider how you could replace smoking for some other action.
- Habit: I always smoke when I feel stressed at work or need a little time to think. Fix: Perhaps I just need a break outside. Maybe I could replace the actual cigarette for an electronic cigarette (which does NOT contain nicotine)
- Habit: I smoke when I drink. Fix: Cut down on your drinking or drink in places that have strict no-smoking policies
- Habit: I smoke whenever I'm offered a cigarette. Fix: tell your friends not to offer you a smoke any more
- Habit: I smoke when I'm bored. Fix: Take up a new hobby that truly engages you
- Habit: I smoke when I'm stressed out or feeling low. Fix: practice some stress-reflief techniques
STEP THREE: TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND ASK THEM FOR THEIR SUPPORT
Ask your friends and family to support you as you take steps to quit smoking.
STEP FOUR: LOOK INTO QUIT SMOKING PROGRAMS OR PRODUCTS AND PICK ONE TO TRY TODAY
- Read a book about ways to stop smoking. The best selling quit smoking books are Yes! You Can Stop Smoking: Even If You Don't Want To and The Easy Way to Stop Smoking: Join the Millions Who Have Become Non-Smokers Using Allen Carr's Easyway Method
- If you're not a big reader, you could try audio books on quitting cigarettes
- Try quit smoking patches. These are nicotine patches which deliver a constant supply of nicotine to you to help stop your nictotine cravings
- Look into quit smoking hypnosis. I was always a little cynical about hypnosis: maybe from watching those stage hypnotists and feeling that somehow it was all fake. However, my friend had three sessions with an experienced quit smoking hypnotherapist and, to my and his surprise, he hasn't smoked since. Even he's not sure how or why it worked, but it did.
- Join a support group. If there isn't one near you, there are online forums and groups, do a search for something like 'quit smoking forum'
STEP FIVE: SET MINI-MILESTONS AND CELEBRATE EACH LITTLE ACHIEVEMENT
You can set yourself a list of goals. Make them realistic and achievable e.g. I won't smoke today. Or I'll attend three stop smoking support sessions in a row.
STEP SIX: GET BACK UP AFTER A SETBACK
If you have a relapse, don't worry. Just try and work out why you relapsed and how you can stop it from happening next time, and try again.