It’s always a good time to quit smoking, but now more than ever is an important time to jumpstart your quit date and make a plan to quit smoking. A smoke-free lifestyle is always within reach, and we at Achieve Life Sciences are proud to share five key practicable tips to help you start the process.
1. Line-up your support system and identify resources
A crucial component to eliminating any unhealthy habit is ensuring you have access to reliable resources and surrounding yourself with others who are willing to help you make the change. Have a conversation with your loved ones and close friends about your plan to quit smoking and ask them to serve as your accountability officers while you do so. If any of your loved ones or close friends are also smokers, consider having a conversation with them about their own habits, and kindly request they keep their smoking to a minimum while around you during your transition to a smoke-free lifestyle.
Look into offerings in your community for smoking cessation support groups, classes, or counseling services; these are great ways to continue holding yourself accountable and grow your support system. There are a plethora of online resources available that are endorsed by the CDC, such as SmokeFree.gov, a free text messaging service that sends daily reminders for 6-8 weeks to help you quit, tailored to your specific habits and needs. The mobile app quitSTART is another free resource filled with guidance and information for smoking cessation.
2. Eliminate reminders and clean out your house
To quit smoking is hard enough without physical reminders constantly inviting you back to your old habits. Ahead of day one, set time aside to remove all smoking paraphernalia from your home, such as ashtrays, lighters, and of course, leftover cigarettes. Take an afternoon and deep clean your home and vehicle, and do your best to eliminate any lingering smell of cigarette smoke, which can serve as a trigger when trying to quit. Be sure to check inside any small storage areas to ensure no stray cigarettes are lying around, such as drawers, bedside tables, coat pockets, and glove compartments.
3. Choose an activity or distraction tactic to focus on during urges
Identify a healthy way to redirect temptations to smoke, such as chewing a piece of gum or going for a quick walk outside. Write a comprehensive list of every reason why you are choosing to quit and carry it in your wallet to reference any time you feel the urge to smoke. It’s always best to overprepare in your identification of alternative habits so that even the most overwhelming cravings don’t stand a chance against your plan to quit.
Even the simplest things can help avert a craving, like drinking a glass of water, brushing your teeth, or applying a scented lotion, which will not only keep your hands busy but stimulate your sense of smell enough to take your mind away from the nicotine craving.
One of the most effective ways to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings is to get active, and that doesn’t mean you have to start running 10 miles every day. Light exercise has been shown to effectively aid in quitting smoking, alleviating cravings while exercising, and up to 50 minutes after.
Another benefit to making exercise a part of your lifestyle includes combatting weight gain some individuals experience when they quit. Additionally, exercise improves your mood and can help you cope with everyday stress that may be heightened during this time.
5. Try, try again
The only way to fail is to quit trying. Remember that eliminating smoking from your lifestyle takes time, patience, and understanding, so don’t g