We all know that smoking is bad for you. The list of problems it causes stretches on and on and includes everything from lung cancer to emphysema to wrinkles. But what do you do when you really want to stop smoking? Although difficult, it is possible to quit smoking, especially with help and support from family, friends, and the medical community.
Decide that YOU want to quit smoking. In order to stop smoking, you have to be the one who wants to stop. Even if everyone around you wants you to quit smoking -- your family, your friends, your co-workers -- the choice is yours and will only work if you decide you are ready to quit.
List the reasons for quitting. Listing the reasons -- in detail -- to stop smoking can help your decision. Repeat the reasons to yourself daily. Write them on Post-It notes and put them around your house where you can see them.
Calculate how much money you will save if you stop smoking. Figure out how much money you will save per week, month, and year, and then decide where you will direct that money once you quit smoking. Try to think of something that you have been wanting for a while or a special activity with a friend or family member.
Set a date to quit smoking. Set a date and stick to it. Maybe it can be your birthday or anniversary, or a special holiday. Think of stopping smoking as a gift to yourself on this special occasion. This will also enable you to celebrate your smoke-free date every year.
Take care of yourself physically. Since you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms, it's important to take the best care of yourself possible. Drink plenty of water instead of soda or alcohol, work out, don't work too many hours, and get plenty of sleep.
Understand withdrawal. Realize that, when you stop smoking, you will go through withdrawal. Your body is addicted to nicotine and will not let that addiction go easily. However, withdrawal symptoms are temporary and the worst of it will be over within a week. Be prepared for irritability, fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms, but keep telling yourself: "This will pass."
Be aware of triggers. Most relapses occur within the first three months after someone stops smoking. Often these happen when something stressful happens, or the ex-smoker gets angry, sad, or otherwise upset. Remind yourself that it will get easier as you go on.
Enlist help. When you are ready to stop smoking, you will be irritable and not a lot of fun to be around, but you still need people who will support you! Talk to family and friends and explain that you are going to stop smoking in order to prepare them for any irritability or fatigue that may occur. Ask them to be willing to talk to you or go for a walk with you when you feel the urge to smoke. If you don't have enough support, join a support group which can easily be found by searching online. Better yet, find someone you already know who is willing to quit smoking with you.
Stop smoking one day at a time. If you think of your entire life and that you will never get to have a cigarette again, you will likely be so overwhelmed that you will reach for a cigarette immediately. Instead, tell yourself that you are going to stop smoking just for today. If you need to, take it one hour at a time.
Realize that relapses happen to the best of people. If you have stopped smoking and relapsed, try again. Most ex-smokers took a few tries to quit and there is no shame in that. Just keep trying until you are able to stop smoking for good.