If you want to quit smoking cigarettes, it is going to take a serious effort on your part to plan and prepare yourself for what is to come. When you initially stop, you may have such wicked cravings that you are ready to pull your hair out or punch through the wall for another cigarette. Although you may feel sorry for yourself that you started smoking in the first place, the best thing you can do is simply acknowledge where you currently stand and have a clear vision in your head of where you want to be.
If you want to quit smoking cigarettes forever and never start up again, this article may have some helpful advice. I understand that a major reason that people smoke isn’t just because the nicotine is so damn addicting, it’s due to a lot of other factors. People associate smoking with calmness, improved mood, partying, friends, and a way to help them cope with stress. Although the nicotine is addicting, if you can target all of the other factors that influence your smoking and eliminate them, you will set yourself up for success.
How to Quit Smoking Cigarettes Permanently
In order to quit smoking cigarettes, it helps to target things from a cognitive behavioral perspective. You need to replace old behaviors that reinforce smoking with new ones that reinforce a smoke-free environment. Although the act of quitting is challenging, the concept is simple. If you don’t have cigarettes around to smoke, you can’t smoke. Even though that may not take away the craving, eventually time will reduce your cravings and eliminate them permanently.
I recommend setting something as simple as a 30 day goal of stopping cigarette smoking. If you can stop for 30 days, you certainly can stop for another 30. Once you have stopped for 60 days, you have some serious momentum going. Add one more month to that at 90 days and you are a transformed person and have some major momentum in your favor. After the 90 day marker, you should be able to keep going and maintain your smoke-free environment with relative ease.
1. Throw away existing cigarettes
Don’t do anything dumb like rip up existing cigarettes or make a big scene. The best thing you can do is just get rid of them. Take your existing cigarettes and flush them down the toilet or throw them in a trash away from your house or something. I think flushing them down the toilet is probably the best option because you know that you can NOT get them back. They are out of sight and out of mind.
Whatever you do, do NOT keep any existing cigarettes around. By having them around, you will keep thinking about them and it will make things way tougher on yourself in terms of quitting. You want all cigs out of sight and mind. If they are around, you will think about them and if they are in sight, you will be tempted to go have one. It’s impossible to have something that isn’t around.
2. Stop buying cigarettes
Once you have gotten rid of all your cigs, the next thing you need to do is stop buying cigarettes. If you typically purchased them when filling up your vehicle with gas, instead of going inside, make yourself pay at the pump and leave immediately; this way you won’t be able to buy them. If you get the craving to go buy them, you need to have a plan available as to what you are going to do instead. Here’s where you should have a list of some alternative activities such as: go for a run, watch a comedy, go to the gym, read a book, play a video game, etc. Make a big list of things to do that will take your mind off of purchasing cigarettes.
3. Find a replacement activity (new hobby)
Although nothing will replace the act of smoking, there are other extreme healthy activities that will give your body a great buzz. One activity I can think of off the top of my head is working out. If you do some cardio or lift heavy weights, you are literally forcing your brain to release certain chemicals and hormones that will make you feel good. Working out produces a high from endorphins and promotes calmness as well as focus – this buzz is healthy and superior to that of smoking.
If you are not a fan of working out, take up something else that makes you feel good. Maybe your thing is video games, maybe you like to solve puzzles, maybe you like to write and would be great at starting a blog, who knows. Follow your interests and select one activity that gives you more pleasure than anything and do that every time you would normally smoke. If you smoked at a certain time of day, do your replacement activity during that time.
A replacement hobby will rewire your brain that has been accustomed to getting a dose of nicotine at certain times throughout the day. As soon as you have the urge to smoke, you need to know what replacement activity you are going to do and then go do it.
4. Avoid other smokers at all costs
It may seem harsh, but the only way you’re going to fully recover is by avoiding other smokers. If you have friends in a social group that smoke constantly, and you hang around them, they are going to pressure you and/or smoke in front of you. Even if they are respectful of your wish to stop smoking, and don’t pressure you, the fact that they smoke may increase your craving for cigarettes while you are around them.
It is best to completely cut ties with all of your smoking buddies until you are fully recovered. Even then, it is probably best to just find a new social group of non-smokers to hang out with and maintain them as friends. If you keep yourself in the company of other smokers, the temptation to smoke increases significantly and your chances of actually quitting permanently is greatly reduced.
5. Avoid specific places
The nostalgia of being at certain places that remind you of good times you had smoking may make you want to smoke again. Whatever you do, avoid places that trigger strong memories of smoking as well as places where other people are constantly smoking. If you cannot avoid these places, at least try to minimize the time spent there and make sure you are not around other smokers. If you went to certain bars or places to smoke like the casino, usually it’s best to find a new place to go as well as a new social group.
6. New social group
When you have the majority of your social circle smoking cigarettes, you need to find new friends. Smoking does not make a person good or bad, but hanging around a smoker certainly is going to have an impact on your ability to quit. I suggest literally breaking up with all of your friends that smoke and finding new friends. It may be extremely difficult and challenging to do this, but with the internet, everything is easier. There are countless apps designed to help you meet new people as well as websites.
Think of any hobby or sport, chances are there is some sort of community social group for it. If you really like playing pool, join a pool club. If you like to go fishing, enter some fishing tournaments or something. You literally have tons of different options, but you need to get out in the community and connect with some new individuals. It is certainly not going to be an easy transition, but it’s a necessary step if you truly want to quit.
When you try to quit, you want every possible mental edge that there is to help prevent a relapse. Initially quitting and trying to fight the cravings is not easy at all. If you are struggling, you should get in touch with a good therapist who will help you stop smoking. Cognitive behavioral therapy will help you restructure your thinking and choose new behaviors to do instead of smoking. Not all therapists are good, but if you can find one that you connect with, it could help you a lot on your journey to quit smoking.
I do not recommend nicotine patches or nicotine gum or any of that other junk that’s marketed to help people stop smoking. It may be helpful, but the only thing it will do is make you addicted to that. The goal here is to completely overcome nicotine addiction, not replace one nicotine source with another. There are certain medications out like Zyban that are geared towards helping people stop smoking. They may get you through a critical stretch of time and significantly reduce your craving to help you live a healthier lifestyle.
The problem with drugs in the long term is that you may become dependent on them for your everyday functioning. You should try to avoid drugs unless you feel there’s no other option. If you are seriously motivated about quitting cigs, your willpower alone is going to be stronger than any drug on the market.
9. Never give up
If you try to quit smoking once and fail, at least you tried. Additionally, every single day that you don’t have a cigarette is a step in the right direction. If you are able to stay off them for a week and somehow cave in and have a cigarette the next week, at least you were off them for 7 days – that is much healthier than not trying to quit at all.
When you are on a drug for a long period of time, it may be extremely difficult to stop. Compared to alcohol, marijuana, and caffeine, nicotine is by far the most addicting. For this reason it may seem like a monumental challenge to quit smoking. But if you are resilient and keep making a serious effort to stop, eventually you will have a breakthrough and will be able to maintain life off of cigarettes.
10. Maintain your new non-smoking habits
When you have finally stopped and feel like you’ve got momentum in the right direction, keep it up. Never cave in to having another cigarette ever – no matter how bad you feel, stressed you get, or what happens, just don’t do it. There are so many other healthy outlets to get a great buzz from – you don’t need cigarettes to fill any void in your life. If you ever get the urge to smoke, make a giant list of healthy alternatives to do instead and keep it around for reference.
For example: go biking, hike a mountain, go for a walk, listen to music, play Xbox, volunteer, work on a business project, read a book, write an article, go to the gym, watch TV, call a friend, etc. These were just some random things I thought of while writing this article. I’m sure if I wanted to I could have come up with over 100 alternatives.
Once you have made it 30 days of not smoking, you can double it and go 60, before you know it you’re at 90 days smoke free, double that you’re at 180, and double that you’re at 360 – almost a full year. When the new habits are in place and have been for awhile, it should be pretty easy to maintain a smoke free status.
Why should you quit smoking cigarettes? Health.
This article isn’t meant to force you to quit smoking or shove anti-smoking down your throat, it’s meant to help guide people that are serious about quitting and that really want to kick the habit once and for all. If you enjoy smoking and don’t care, then why are you searching the internet for how to quit smoking anyways?
If you landed on this page, chances are that part of yourself really wants to quit and become a healthier person. Everyone has the ability to build up their self discipline and overcome nicotine addiction, but not everyone wants to recover to the same degree as others. I’ve noticed that people who are serious about their health and improving themselves to set a good example for family are the ones that typically are able to kick the addiction.
In the end whether you are able to quit is not about luck, it’s about wanting to quit bad enough to just do it. If you are motivated and really want to be cigarette free, you will overcome this addiction and evolve into an entirely new, healthier human being.