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Quit Smoking! You Can Do It
1. Plan ahead.
Choose a date to stop smoking, giving yourself enough time to create a plan and to elicit advice from other people who’ve quit. Then, write in a journal how often you smoke and under what circumstances — once you’re aware of your triggers, you can come up with strategies to overcome them.
2. Pick your method.
No single approach works for everyone, and you may need to try a few strategies at once to attack the problem from different angles. Make sure you address both your physical dependence on nicotine as well as your emotional triggers (stress, anger, boredom). Log on to smokefree.gov to research your options.
3. Create new routines.
Since smoking is a part of your day, you’ll need to form new habits. Chew gum instead of taking a drag after lunch, or play a computer game in place of your cigarette break. Avoid situations associated with lighting up — go to smoke-free restaurants, and if you puff away in your car, have it detailed to get rid of the smell.
4. Get support.
You are the only one who can make yourself stop smoking, but surrounding yourself with friends, family, and fellow quitters can help you get through tough days. Pick someone who really wants you to kick the habit and make him or her your go-to person when a craving hits. Or call 800-QUIT-NOW to talk to a quit coach in your area.
5. Think positive.
Know that each day you get through without smoking is an accomplishment. Keep yourself inspired to stick with it by reminding yourself that your reasons for quitting (more on that below) are bigger than your cravings — and that you’re capable and strong enough to make this a lasting life change.
3 Questions for Ariane
I already know the health risks of smoking. So why is it still so hard for me to quit?
A: Your personal reason for stopping has to be stronger than your desire to light up. Saying, “I want to be around for my 5-year-old for 50 more years” is more powerful than “Smoking is bad for me.” So look inside and find your motivation for quitting, then write down those reasons and carry them with you.
What are common mistakes people make when quitting--and how can I avoid them?
A: Even smokers forget that smoking satisfies an emotional need--and that they must find another way to tend to that need. When people smoke, they’re taking time for themselves. So when a craving strikes, think, What do I want--a smoke or relaxation? Then, find another way to unwind--whether that’s listening to music or taking a walk.
Which will help me succeed: managing single cravings or focusing on the big picture?
A: Keep telling yourself, I am a nonsmoker, and your mind will start believing you; that’s when the cravings subside. But also reward yourself for feats along the way--like not smoking for five days--by, say, getting a manicure. This tells your brain that good things come when you resist the urge to light up.