Are you ready to kick the habit but don’t know where to begin? Getting on track to a new life without smoking can be a daunting task. However, choosing to put out the cigarette for good is the most important step. Just as smoking is a learned behavior, so is quitting. And although quitting can be a challenge, there are programs and treatments to help.
Here are the first 5 steps toward a smoke-free life:
1. Mark the date
Select a firm deadline and stick to it. Experts suggest selecting a date that comes within two weeks of when you decide to give up the habit. If you are a social smoker or smoke at work, select a date that will allow you to best avoid the environments where you are most likely to be tempted.
2. Eliminate reminders
Wherever you smoke, there are probably reminders: Throw out ashtrays, lighters and remaining cigarettes from your car, house and office. Eliminating these visual cues can help reduce the urge.
3. Avoid triggers
When and where did you used to smoke? Do certain stresses cause cigarette cravings? If you are accustomed to smoking while driving or when you feel stressed, you need to have a plan to deal with those situations while you are learning to adapt. If you smoke in the car, for instance, you might plan to have gum available. If you like to smoke with your morning coffee, plan to have your coffee in a café where smoking isn’t allowed.
4. Status update
Let the world know you’ve decided to quit. If your co-workers, family and friends are aware that you’re quitting, they will be less likely to smoke around you and can offer words of encouragement and support. Surround yourself with people who are supportive and can make the process easier. You may even know someone who has given up smoking and who can tell you what to expect and how to deal with withdrawal.
5. Get help
Since smoking affects the body in a variety ways, your doctor will be able to discuss different types of treatments, cessation programs and what symptoms of withdrawal you can expect. Write down any questions you have about quitting, and schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to answer your questions and refer you to other medical professionals who can provide additional assistance.
Elizabeth Nixon is a writer, editor, and blogger who is searching for a perfect healthy and active lifestyle. She is currently exploring the many options of northern California’s wine county with her husband and their two dogs. Read more about ways to quit smoking at Lifescript’s new Smoking Cessation Health Center.