You've made up your mind that you want to quit smoking. You might be nervous or not sure you can quit.
But try to focus on the fact that you want to quit—whether it's your first time or tenth time. And focus on creating your plan to quit. A quit plan can help you deal with your feelings now and ones that may come later.
Having a plan may help your chances of staying tobacco-free.
Knowing why you want to quit can help you stay motivated. Do you hope to be more active, to look and feel better, or to lower your chances of a long-term disease? Whatever the reason, it's your reason, and so it's the most important.
You might think about talking to your doctor and insurance provider to see what your treatment might be and if your insurance covers it.
If you have tried to quit in the past, review those past attempts. Think of the three most important things that helped in those attempts, and plan to use those strategies again this time. Think of things that kept you from succeeding, and plan ways to deal with or avoid them. Write this down as a plan.
To achieve a long-term goal like quitting smoking, you may find it helpful to break the task into smaller goals. Every time you reach a goal, you feel a sense of pride along the path to becoming tobacco-free.
Write down your goals, or tell someone what you are trying to do. It's important to include "by when" or "how long" as well as "what." For example: "I will track my smoking for 1 week, starting tomorrow." Or "I will cut back from 20 cigarettes a day to 15 by this time next week."
You may want or need to quit slowly by reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day over the course of several weeks.
Be sure to set realistic goals—including a timeline for quitting—that you can meet. For example, your goal could be to cut back from 20 cigarettes a day to 10.
When is a good day to stop smoking? Pick a time when you don't have a lot of stress or change.
Cues are things that remind you of smoking. You'll want to avoid or stay away from them. You may already know your cues. The most common ones include:
Withdrawing from nicotine can make you feel stressed, upset, or cranky. Here are some ideas:
Think ahead about whether you want to take medicine to help you quit. Using medicines and nicotine replacement products can double your chances of quitting smoking. They can relieve nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
You may have spent good times with friends or family while smoking. After you stop, you may feel like you're losing those connections and that quitting isn't worth it.
In your plan, include those people who can support you. They are friends or family who will tell you to keep going or trying. They will help you deal with stress and bad moods. And they will join you to celebrate when you reach your goals.
Most people are not successful the first few times they try to quit smoking. If you start smoking again, don't feel bad about yourself. A slip or relapse is just a sign that you need to change your approach to quitting.
You may have days when you wonder whether quitting is a good idea. Celebrations are reminders that can help when negative thoughts creep back.
In your quit plan, you'll want to include ways to remember and celebrate what you've done. You'll remind yourself why you wanted to quit and make quitting seem doable again.
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