10 Tips to Stop Smoking for Good
With so many tips and suggestions on how to stop smoking it is really easy to see why so many people really do not quit. The vast majority of people are completely confused by the entire process! What about all the conflicting messages passed around?
The fact is that with so much information passed around that is confusing to people, it is often much easier to just continue smoking and hoping for a simple solution.
I see the same phenomenon with people who want to lose weight. The sheer volume of advice out there on weight loss (and most of it is bad advice) is overwhelming to begin with and then add to that a lot of that advice is in direct conflict!
There is a saying in our field that “a confused mind does nothing.” What that really means is that a confused mind keeps doing what it’s always been doing, in other words, continuing to smoke and keep the same habits.
Actually taking the necessary steps to really quit smoking is easy when you have the right guidance. The first step is to truly make the commitment to yourself that you are becoming a non-smoker. Once you have deeply and honestly done that, whatever method of quitting you choose has a significantly higher chance of succeeding.
So, make this process of losing the smokes and regaining your health easier for you by taking some soul-searching time and really commit, now! Why not do it today?
Most people are already aware that stopping smoking can improve their health, but learning how to really conquer the urges to smoke can really help, can’t it? With so many temptations circulating around, as well as the stresses of daily life it is easy to see why jumping into a pack of cigarettes seems like a good idea, especially if you haven’t taken that all-important first step of making the commitment to yourself to quit.
Let’s step through my top 10 tips to make quitting the habit a reality for you.
Tip #1 You need a good reason to quit.
And it needs to be your own reason, not someone else’s. You can’t quit because someone else tells you to. You really need to feel it. The need to quit smoking is obvious, but the desire to quit needs to come from inside in order for the process to be successful. Spend some time really thinking or contemplating what you hate about cigarettes, what they’ve cost you in your life (not just in terms of money) and what you’re afraid of down the road if you don’t quit.
Tip #2 Look for small rewards that you can give yourself as you make progress.
The program I run is a tapering program with hypnosis and NLP. As you taper, set up small rewards that will help you to want to make progress towards ultimately quitting. And set up bigger rewards for those major milestones — the last cigarette ever; 1 month smoke free; 6 months, a year. Save the money you would have spent on cigarettes and give yourself something meaningful. This can be a great motivation to keep you on target.
Tip #3 Plan out your quitting strategy.
Decide how you want to quit and stick to it. Set a specific amount of time for your plan. When you work with me, the framework for this will be provided for you, and it’s a framework that’s been improved and proven over 12 years working with hundreds of people. In any case, planning your strategy is critical. As they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail and you just can’t “wing it” and expect to be successful.
Tip #4 Create a supportive environment.
If you are smoking due to stressful things in your life, you need to deal with the stress before you can successfully quit. Regardless of the reason why you are smoking, it needs to be dealt with in able to quit for good. If you’re going through a particularly stressful time in your life, it may not be the best time to quit. If things are pretty stable for you, then it can be a good time! But I still encourage you to create an environment that sets you up for success. Eliminate triggers, eat healthy, get really good sleep and establish relaxation time so that your mental and emotional resources are at their best. You need energy to change a habit, and if yours is already spoken for in other ways in your life, you’ll find yourself spread too thin to make this change stick. Set yourself up for success!
Tip #5 Set up a punishment for yourself.
For example, if you generally stop at Starbucks each day for a coffee you might consider skipping that on days when you have fallen short of your goals for smoking. Whatever punishment you select, make sure it is something that you care about. The human mind understands two forms of motivation – away from pain and toward pleasure. Cigarettes used to be pleasure and they’re going away. So you need to reinforce in your mind that the pleasure of cigarettes is being replaced with something else — that Starbucks or whatever it is. Make sure it’s something important to you so that the pain of not having it is greater than the pleasure of one more cigarette right now.
Tip #6 Seek out help from your friends and family.
You need support as you are trying to quit, and this will help you to ensure that you are not alone in the entire process. A lot of people hide the fact that they are in the process of quitting smoking. Be honest — this decision usually comes from a fear of failing. It’s a way of giving yourself a convenient “out.” Don’t give yourself that out! Burn the boats! Make it public. Add the pain of publicly failing to your motivational factors. And also get the support and encouragement that comes from people who truly care about you.
Tip #7 Look for someone to quit with you.
If someone is working with you and holding you accountable, you are more likely to succeed. Just like people have work-out buddies and join organizations like Weight Watchers, having a partner increases the chance of success for BOTH of you. Changes are much easier to accomplish with a partner.
Tip #8 Ensure you are getting plenty of sleep.
The job of quitting smoking takes a lot of mental and emotional energy, and you need to replenish that with good quality sleep. If you are not getting the rest you need, you are much more likely to be cranky, upset and angry with the world. This is very counterproductive to your goal of quitting smoking for good.
Tip #9 Aim to quit for good.
This might seem a bit strange, but if you are just planning to quit for a weekend you are not going to put much effort into the process. If you are planning to quit for good, a lot more time and effort is going to go into the process as well as your plan to quit.
Tip #10 Look for ways to take your mind off cigarettes.
Idle hands and all that! If you have too much time and are always thinking about cigarettes, you will be much more tempted to smoke. Reading a book, exercising, talking on the phone, surfing the internet and even cooking are all great ways to occupy your mind and keep from thinking about when your last cigarette was. I encourage my clients to change their routines as much as they can during the quitting process. Who knows — you may even find a new hobby or pastime that you really enjoy and want to make the change in your routine permanent! Some ideas — instead of sitting with the old gang (of smokers) on your break or at lunch, drive to a public park and spend some time in nature. Take a walk. Read a novel. Do Sudoku puzzles. Journal or start that novel of your own. Whatever it is, choose something that engages and restores you, in ways that smoking NEVER did or ever could.
Bonus Tip #11 Use self hypnosis or meditation.
Use an app to help you learn the process more easily so that you stick with it (you can find my app here). While of course I would love to have you come in and work with me, whether you choose to do that or not self hypnosis and meditation make it much easier for people to quit. Smoking actually creates feelings of anxiety (they’re chemically designed to do so) and nothing creates relaxation and counters those anxious feelings better than hypnosis. Hypnosis (or meditation) can give you that edge that you need to say no.
I wish you health, happiness and success on your journey to becoming a permanent non-smoker!