Here we are at the end of National Quit Smoking week. I’m compelled to write something today, because it’s my nine-year anniversary of quitting. After countless tries over ten years, my ‘quit smoking’ resolution finally stuck. Being an ‘all or nothing’ kind of gal, going ‘cold turkey’ was the only way for me to do it.
So I went from a pack-a-day addiction to absolutely zero in one swoop. It wasn’t easy at all, in fact, it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Nine years later, sometimes it’s still a challenge not to smoke. Certain situation and people are triggers for me, and probably always will be. But I’ve learned to accept that fact, and simply remind myself that every negative urge will pass. And guess what? They do.
If you’re a smoker who is thinking about quitting, or currently trying to quit, you already know it’s the best thing you can do for yourself, your health, and your happiness. Just imagine your life without smoking! No more cravings. No more anxiety when you can’t have a cigarette. No more going outside in awful weather to have a puff. No more smelly clothes and fingers. No more shelling out ten bucks a pack. No more damaging your self. I can assure you that a smoke-free lifestyle is wonderful, and a huge relief for the body, mind and spirit.
Of everything I’ve achieved over the years, quitting smoking is one of the things I’m most proud of. Every single day I’m still happy to say “I’m a quitter!” Through my journey, I learned several approaches and tips that helped me to be successful. Now I’d like to share them with you, to hopefully help you on your own journey. .
Pick your ‘quit day’ – and prepare for it: Quitting smoking can happen on any day. If you don’t quit January 1, you don’t have to torture yourself for another entire year until it rolls around again. Pick any date coming up and psych yourself up for it. Stock up on gum and snacks, and start a new hobby to keep your hands busy. Tell your friends and family, because once you announce something, it’s always harder to back out.
Know your triggers – and avoid them: There are always triggers that make us want to light up. If you smoke in the car on the way to work, carpool or take the bus for the first few weeks. If you smoke while watching TV, read a book instead. If certain friends are smokers, let them know right up front that you won’t be able to hang out with them for awhile. Be willing to change your routines, and make choices that are good for you.
Find support: When I began my journey, I joined a website where all members were trying to quit. Through this online ‘quit smoking’ community, we kept online diaries, encouraged each other, celebrated successes, shared setbacks, and vented our stresses. For three solid months, I was on this site everyday. It motivated and inspired me, and contributed to my ability to finally quit for good. I am forever grateful to my quit-buddies out in cyberspace, and wish them continued success – wherever they may be!
Educate yourself: There are many sources of information out there that explain the truths and dangers of smoking. So read all about it. Knowing full-well that smoking can cause cancer and emphysema might make you think twice. Being aware that cigarettes have additives like radioactive lead and toxic cyanide may help you realize you no longer want to ingest poison into your body. Read everything, zero in on the things that disgust you the most, and keep a list in your wallet. The next time you want a cigarette, remind yourself of all the terrible realities of smoking.
Give yourself permission: Yes indeed, give yourself permission. “For what?” you might ask. The answer is “for whatever you need.” Just give yourself permission. If you need to sleep more, so be it. If you need to avoid people, just do it. If you need to eat more, that’s okay. Even if you gain a few extra pounds, you can always focus on losing them later. Besides, it’s much healthier in the long run to be a few pounds heavier then to be a smoker.
- Drink lots of water, even more than you usually do.
- When experiencing a craving, suck on a cinnamon stick or a piece of licorice root.
- Chew gum, have a piece of candy, and keep your mouth busy.
- Take up knitting, file your nails, do something to keep your hands busy.
- If you don’t exercise, start an easy program. Working your cardiovascular system will get you breathing deeper, and make you feel better about yourself.
They say it takes many tries for quitting smoking to finally take hold. That was definitely true for me. And it might be for you, too. Regardless of how many times you try, the important thing is that you don’t ever stop trying until it works for you. It might be a struggle, and may end up being the hardest thing you ever do. But you know what? You’re worth it. So keep at it.