slides: 10 Tips to Finally Quit Smoking
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Here are the 10 best things you can do to increase your chances of success:
Erin Brockmeyer, LAc, is an acupuncturist and creator of custom health plans for patients to help them tackle their most complicated health concerns, including infertility, prenatal care, fibromyalgia, thyroid conditions and chronic and acute pain conditions. Visit her website for more information and to download her free e-book 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health Today.
Related Slideshow: 10 Tips to Finally Quit Smoking
Here are 10 tips to help you quit smoking.
Pick a Date
Pick a quit date and put it on your calendar in ink— this is the starting point to making your plan. Pretty much all of the experts agree that picking a date is the most important first step. The key is to pick a date that is no more than one month away — if it is too far out, you will either lose your will or rationalize your way into an extension, and if it is too soon i.e. the nefarious tomorrow, you will only fail for lack of planning. Everything that follows should be set up to make that quit date a success.
Be honest with yourself. Admit that you are an addict. Own up to the seriousness and the entirety of your addiction. If you are lying to yourself about how strong your addiction is, you won’t properly prepare yourself for quitting. Instead you’ll set yourself up for failure. Pay attention to how much you truly smoke — write it down, and prepare yourself to move on.
Write down your triggers. One of the keys to successful quitting is to be thoroughly prepared for the things that set you off. Do you always smoke when you drink? Every time you have a stressful encounter with your partner do you smoke to calm down? By cataloging the things that get you jonesing for a cigarette, you will be able to systematically prepare other options for handling those situations.
Plan for your triggers. When the urge strikes and is overwhelming, what will you do instead of bumming or buying cigarettes? Take up knitting so you have something to do with your hands. Keep carrot sticks with you so you have something to munch on. Munch on sunflower seeds. Have a friend you can call. Take a walk. Make sure you always have something on hand that you can use to distract you until the urge passes (and trust that it will pass).
Watch the Clock
In the week leading up to your quit date, begin to break your habit by smoking by the clock instead of by situation. Most smokers smoke during or after certain events: the first cigarette when you wake up, a cigarette on the drive to work, a cigarette after lunch, another before the conference call and so on. For this week parcel out your cigarettes according to the clock. For instance, allow yourself one cigarette every two hours beginning at 6:00 am. Stick to this within 5 minutes on either side. If you wake up at 6:06, you missed your first cigarette and have to wait until 8:00. If you miss your noon cigarette you must wait until 2:00 and so on. It is the habit of smoking, the mental association between your tasks and stressors and smoking that is the hardest to break. Doing this gives you a head start.
Get support. For some of you that may mean talking to your doctor about medication or using the patch. For others that may mean using acupuncture and herbs. For some of you it will mean all of the above. Both methods have much higher success rates at producing quitters than if you quit on your own. There are also support groups and hotlines that offer instant help when you need it most. Here are a few places to start:
- American Cancer Society's Guide to Quitting Smoking
- This site is highly interactive: BecomeAnex.org
Call your doctor or find an acupuncturist so they can help you with your plan.
Throw Away the Past
The night before you quit get rid of your cigarettes, ash trays and lighters. You need to make it at least moderately difficult to smoke. Quit carrying the cash you use to buy cigarettes. Avoid the store you stop at for a candy bar and cigarettes. Basically, put up as many obstacles as you can to smoking.
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