Do you want to quit smoking but don’t know where to start? It can be an overwhelming process, but having a step-by-step plan can keep you on track. If you START with these 5 steps and focus on one at a time, it will help you prepare mentally and emotionally to quit smoking.
Set a Quit Date: The first step to quit smoking is to set a date and stick to it. Pick a date a week or two out. This will give you enough time to prepare yourself but not so much time that you will change your mind. Sometimes it’s helpful to pick a special day like a birthday or anniversary so that you have the distraction of a pleasant holiday.
Tell Others: Having the support of your loved ones can make it much easier to quit smoking than going at it alone. However, it’s very important to let them know exactly how they can be helpful. You may want them to ask you about your progress, offer words of support, or just leave you alone throughout the process. If you don’t want to involve friends or family in the process, you can seek support from a group or from anonymous hotlines like 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Anticipate Challenges: It’s important to acknowledge ahead of time that there will be challenges to quitting. Before you quit, keep track of when you crave a cigarette the most, and once you decide to quit be aware of when you will have those cravings and anticipate how you will deal with them.
Remove Tobacco Products: When you quit smoking you can create a new lifestyle for yourself. As you prepare to quit, rid your home, car and office of anything related to smoking. Throw away all cigarettes and lighters, and clean your clothes and belongings to get rid of the smell. Getting rid of anything that will make you think of smoking will help put it out of your mind and reduce temptation.
Talk To Your Doctor: Your doctor can help you decide the best way to quit smoking. Not everyone wants to or is able to quit cold turkey, and there are other options. Your doctor can prescribe some medications that may help, or direct you to over-the-counter medications. There are also nicotine patches and gum that might work for you. Having the support and advice of a medical expert can make the process much easier.
If you start with these 5 steps, you will be prepared to quit smoking and start living a healthier life. Once you actually quit, enlist the support of others to help you through challenging days, and stick to your plan for dealing with cravings. The first 3 months are the hardest, but once you make it through that you will be well on your way to living a smoke free life!