Quitting smoking is no easy undertaking. Whether you’ve tried to quit before or this is the first time that you’ve given thought to quitting, you know that you’re in for a challenge. While the goal may seem daunting, it’s helpful to recognize that it’s a process that can be extremely rewarding. No matter what else you’re going through in your life, it’s the very best gift that you can give yourself and the people who love you. Your approach to quitting and the attitude that you bring will have a big impact on your success. Here are three important things to keep in mind when you’re getting ready to quit smoking.
Don’t Dread It
A lot of smokers have wanted to quit for a while. What tends to hold a lot of people back is fear; they’re filled with dread about what it will be like to have to give up cigarettes. In many cases, it’s the fear of deprivation that holds people back rather than the actual sacrifice itself. This same phenomenon also tends to be what makes people smoke at certain times. For a lot of people, knowing that they won’t be able to smoke for an extended period of time is what most frequently prompts them to light up, such as when they’re going into the office or getting on a plane. The anxiety you feel when you think about not being able to smoke can be a strong motivator to light up. Sometimes, it can be as intense as the actual feeling of withdrawal. However, controlling your mindset can play a big role in your ability to succeed. You need to change your mode of thinking and let go of burdensome dread. Approach quitting with confidence instead of apprehension.
Start at Your Own Pace and Set Reasonable Expectations
You’ve likely heard before that trying to quit cold turkey is the hardest approach to quitting. This method can enhance your dread and self-doubt and make the task seem insurmountable. The most sensible and balanced way to take on quitting is through harm reduction. You can start by smoking less. Some people find that not depriving themself too much too early can help with the cravings. Start by reducing your smoking gradually. Next, when you feel ready, you can move on to a smoking substitute such as nicotine gum. This form of harm reduction can help you control cravings and mitigate the addictive pull that you feel to light up.
Get Support from Friends and Family
Some people are nervous to talk about quitting with their friends and family members. Some people are afraid that nonsmokers won’t understand what they’re going through, or they worry that they’ll be judged if their first attempt to quit isn’t successful. It’s tremendously helpful and inspirational to get support from the people who you’re close to. When you talk about quitting smoking, don’t focus on expressing your fear or uncertainty. Instead, share your excitement and open up about your goals. Instead of humbly saying, “I’m trying to quit smoking,” be proud and confident: Say, “I’m quitting smoking! Isn’t that great?” You’ll see people’s faces light up for you, and you’ll receive emphatic congratulations and encouragement. Positive affirmations of support from people can be a fantastic source of motivation. Hearing other people’s joy about what you’re doing will make you more feel more confident. Don’t tell as few people as possible; tell as many people as possible. All of the positive reinforcement that you can get is ultimately a good thing. People who have been through the struggle of quitting will tell you about how they succeeded, and they’ll be among the most eager to offer encouraging words of advice and commendation.