The 5-Step approach to quitting the cigarettes

The 5-Step approach to quitting the cigarettes

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Admit it – smoking cigarettes these days is socially unacceptable. And yet as a habit it continues to persist on the edges of society. While someone might take the habit up because (especially when you’re young) it feels edgy, disruptive, it doesn’t take long for it to evolve into an expensive and irritating habit.

Yet giving up isn’t easy. It requires commitment and determination. This 5-step approach will give you the strategies and resources needed to make sure that giving up this one last time will be the last time you ever need to give up.

Preparation is key – Set a Quit Date 

You need to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally and practically for quitting, so set a date and make plans accordingly. This might involve changing your daily habits, letting all your friends and family know so that they can encourage and support you, make a list of distracting activities you can do to get you over the most challenging of cravings and humps.

Make a list of those times of the days when you know you most want to smoke (for example, after meals, with a cup of coffee, when you get back home from work), and set out clear actions to take to distract change the patterns of behaviour and make new ones that don’t’ involve cigarettes.

You might want to consider nicotine replacement products or smoking alternatives such as disposable vapes. Though be cautious that you are not replacing one habit with another. It might be better to go through a short term pain for long term gain.The 5-Step approach to quitting the cigarettes

Seek outside support and guidance

There is a wealth of free resources, guidance and support on the internet for those seeking to quit smoking. A quick search on social media channels such as YouTube will throw up hours of interviews, presentations and guided support from experts in psychology and behavioural therapy and cognitive reprogramming to help you with the cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Take advantage of every little bit of help and support you can find.

If you have the budget (and actually, if you’re no longer smoking then this will free up some cash for you) then invest in some paid support. Not only will this be tailored specifically to your own needs, but the act of paying for the support gives you literal ‘skin in the game’, raising the stakes to make your commitment and success more important. 

Avoid swapping one bad habit for another

You often hear of smokers complaining about weight gain when giving up smoking. Try not to fall into a similar trap by swapping one bad habit for another. As part of your planning, you need to find alternative activities for when you are feeling low – typical triggers for reaching for that packet of cigarettes.

It might be a new sport or activity you have long since thought about doing. The most important aspect of this is that whatever action you take, it must have an element of self care and self love. Too often we move towards self sabotage, which in itself will lead you back to restarting bad habits. Work on your self esteem and you will have less impetus to return to smoking.

Dump other smokers

Yes, it might seem harsh, but you’re going to have to make some lifestyle changes – and one of those changes will involve you not hanging out with other smokers – particularly if they are not supportive, or even actively try to undermine your attempts at giving up. 

So actively avoid those people and places you immediately associate with smoking. Make your home and car smoke-free zones. Remove all smoking paraphernalia, clean, and fumigate your home. Buy new bedding, dry clean and replace curtains and soft furnishings. Repaint. Do everything that totally eliminates any aspect of smoking from your environment.

Don’t be an ex-smoker, be a non-smoker!

As an ex-smoker, you are maintaining the idea that smoking is a part of your life, and that you are constantly denying yourself something. Instead, consider yourself from now on a non-smoker. As a non-smoker, the idea of having a cigarette will never even enter your mind. As a non-smoker you can cope with the highs and lows of life without reaching for that crutch. As a non-smoker, you are not addicted.