Time for me to play captain obvious with you today. Quitting smoking is difficult for most of us. There will be cravings, and they'll be powerful! The good news is that there are several things you can do in advance to be prepared. Preparation is key if you're serious about stopping smoking. Here's some of the best quit smoking tips to help you resist that urge during the first 7 days.
1. Why did you quit?
90% of the quit smoking battle is fought on a mental level. Many find this hard to believe, but it's true. There's a reason nicotine patches, gum and other replacement products only have a 7% success rate, while hypnotherapy and other stop smoking programs that address the mental aspect of quitting smoking have over 3 times that! It's mental! One of the first lines of defense you have available to you is your conviction to stop in the first place. What made you decide to break the habit? Force yourself to think about your decision, and all the people who are sheering you on. You do not want to let yourself, or your family down right? You made this decision for a reason, and your health, your life, and the health of those who live with you depend on you. Remind yourself of this.
2. Be prepared to reward
Positive reinforcement has proven to be quite effective throughout the years. Set weekly goals for yourself, and when you reach them, reward yourself! No, it doesn't have to be lavish, but even small rewards can help reprogram your subconscious to associate "sticking with it" as "hey, this isn't so bad after all!"
3. Have a backup
Hey, we're realists here... We understand that while some days you'll sail right through without a problem, other days will bring with them massive cravings that just don't want to be ignored! Prepare yourself now with a "plan b." If you sit around and dwell on the mental battle going on, you'll likely cave. However, if you are prepared with distracting activities, you'll find that the cravings quickly begin to fade. A short workout or jog. Have something funny and entertaining to read. Have a newspaper handy, or a radio show you like to listen to nearby. A shower or hot bath can also help.
4. Have Support nearby
Nothing is quite so comforting as having a trusted friend who's there for you. This reinforces that you're not alone, and that you made the right choice. Don't dismiss this step, as you never know when it will be needed.
5. Do something healthy
Some former smokers found it helpful to have a pack of straws nearby, and to drink a large glass of water through the straw when the craving was at its worst. The water will help fill you up and keep you from "munching" and gaining weight, while the straw gives you something to chew and at least satisfy that part of the craving.
6. Last Resort
Bookmark or save a link to a site that you find motivating, or that reminds you of why you want to quit smoking. When you feel like you need some extra motivation to stick with your decision to stop smoking, visit the sites immediately! Many like to use videos or pictures of the effects smoking has on your body as a reminder. It's gross, but it works! When your mind is faced with the reality of the effects of smoking, it's hard to maintain that unnatural craving.