Create a specific action plan to improve your chances of quitting smoking forever. Write down your plan because that will make you think more carefully about what you need to do and how you can do it.
Quit Smoking Plan
- Decide how you are going to quit smoking. Gradual decline or cold turkey. Set a plan. Cold turkey is recommended.
- Determine and write down your reasons for wanting to stop smoking, e.g. health, money, social interactions, etc. The reasons should be for you, not anyone else, i.e. not because your husband/wife, girl/boyfriend, parent, boss, etc. want you to quit, but because you want to quit smoking. This/these reason(s) will be your best motivator(s) if and when you feel your determination to quit lag. Keep this reminder with you. You can also carry pictures or medical test results or other such cues to remind you of your reasons.
- Figure out your smoking patterns. Do you like a cigarette after eating, first thing in the a.m., while talking on the phone, while driving, when you have an alcoholic drink or a coffee, etc? Plan ahead for how you are going to deal with those situations. These are also ideal times to press your ear seeds.
- Ask for support from people that you know. Both professional and non-professional people can be great teammates to getting you to stop smoking.
- Recognize that even if you do have cigarette one day, don’t beat yourself up. Just move forward and stop smoking again from that moment on.
- Write down ways that you have succeeded at something difficult in the past and recognize that you do have the ability to be successful at this as well.
- Reward yourself for your successes, big and small. Think of the things that you would like to do or buy for yourself as a reward for quitting. Start a stop smoking jar and every day or week deposit the money you would normally spend on cigarettes in the jar (or in a separate bank account if that amount is too much for what purchase you would like to make). Reward yourself when you reach the amounts that you need to do/get the things you want.
- Practice some of the following techniques when you feel a craving:
- Pull out your reminder of your reasons for quitting smoking
- Deep breathe: Inhale the deepest lung-full of air you can, and then, very slowly, exhale. Purse your lips so that the air must come out slowly. As you exhale, close your eyes, and let your chin gradually sink over onto your chest. Visualize all the tension leaving your body, slowly draining out of your fingers and toes, just flowing on out.
- Have a drink of water
- Go for a walk
- Call a friend/support person
- Keep healthy snacks available so that you don’t reach for the junk food quick fix
- Check out this free government resource: http://www.quitnow.ca/
- Get help. Acupuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine can support your healthy body, relax your mind, and help manage cravings. For more on this, check out my blog about how acupuncture can help you quit smoking.