1. Ask Yourself Why

Before you begin this long road to being smoke-free, it’s important to identify the reasons why you want to stop. Is it for your health, or to save money, to save your child’s health? If you know exactly why you want to stop smoking it will make the plan much easier to stick to. 

Write down your goals some place where you can easily see it. Being able to reread and remind yourself of your ‘why’ every day will help you to stay on course. You could also try writing out a list of the Pros and Cons of each choice. It’s hard to argue with better health and money in the Pros section.  

2. Be prepared

The reason so many people fail to quit smoking (aside from the powerfully addictive nature of tobacco) is that people begin half-heartedly, without a plan. Whether you have a pack a day daily habit or only smoke with a drink it’s important to have a plan in mind. 

Make a plan for the potential challenges that you’ll face as try to quit smoking. What will your new routines be to replace your old smoking-related habits. For example, maybe you smoke every morning while reading the paper. Plan instead to drink tea while watching the news on TV. Rewire the habit completely so the triggering effect is less. 

3.Know Your Triggers

To help you stay off smoking it’s important to know when your high-risk times are for relapse. Why do you smoke in the first place? Is it to take a break from your hectic day? To be alone with your thoughts?  In a lot of cases, people smoke for the same reason that alcoholics drink as it’s a minute or two of escape, a chance to unwind. 

4. Set a ‘Quit Date’

For some people it can really help to set a date in the future, no more than two to three weeks ahead, that you can aim for as your Quit Date. This can give you some time to prepare yourself for the transition to a smoke-free life. Many people that having a date in mind to quit gives them a sense of closure. 

For best results, try picking a date that has a special significance to you like a birthday or an anniversary. However, try to avoid making New Year’s your Quit Date as people tend to load themselves with expectations around this part of the year. But remember you’re getting rid of something that’s hurting you, not giving up something that’s helping you. 

5. Get rid of your smoking paraphernalia

You might not think you have any but try and round up all your lighters, ashtrays, pipes, whatever it may be from around the house. Search through your car, your office space, and make sure it’s completely devoid of any smoking equipment. Any one of these things could also act as a trigger for you to start your habit again. 

Freshen your environment at home, at work, and in your car. Get some air fresheners for the car, some nice plants and candles for the house. Anything to get rid of the smells associated with smoking which can often be the most triggering in the beginning. 

6.Overcoming the physical

One of the things people don’t realise is that smoking is as much a physical addiction as a mental one. For example, your brain will still desire the oral sensation of a cigarette. 

If you want to occupy mind and your hands from the desire to smoke try taking up a new hobby. 

You don’t have to do anything extreme either, it could be something as simple as an adult colouring book. These are becoming more popular than ever these days and part of the ongoing modern trend towards mindfulness. Focus your nervous energies on colouring for a while and discover the nourishing effect it can have on the mind.

7. Get some support

If this list hasn’t gotten the message across already, quitting smoking is a challenge. It can be a tough one to face alone and while having supportive family and friends is a great start you might also think about getting some professional support. Try out counselling services, self-help materials, and other support services that could be of immense benefit to you during this time. 

Any kind of behavioural support could make all the difference, whether it is written advice in the form of pamphlets or individual counselling services. Generally speaking, those who get outside help are more likely to stay on the path to overcome their addictions.  

8. Be Aware Your Mood Will Dip

Health authorities warn that it can be very normal to be a bit weepy or irritable when you’re first making a huge lifestyle change such as this. It’s important that instead of reaching for the dopamine fix of another cigarette to try and combat your lowered mood naturally. 

A few things you can do to aid yourself in this process are:

  • Plenty of sleep (aim for 7-9 hours of consistent sleep every night)
  • Fresh air  – Try walking or running in the evenings or morning for a short period of time. You might feel dreadful at first but eventually it gets easier. 
  • Eating healthily

9. Get some exercise

This is probably everyone’s least favourite bit of advice but it comes up so often because it really helps. A study at St. George’s University of London found that even a moderate intensity exercise markedly reduced the severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. 

The progression towards a fitter and healthier body can be a real draw for many former smokers. It is incredibly satisfying to finish a workout and gasp a little less every time.  

10. Count Your Savings

One way to keep yourself on track is to remind yourself of how much you’re actually saving. This is a physical, tactile thing you can monitor as the amount of change in your pocket grows day by day and week after week. Perhaps aim to save a certain amount in order to treat yourself to something special. 

11. Try Switching to Cannabis

If you truly need something to take the place of smoking tobacco but fear the dangers of a slow taper off, why not try smokable cannabis? The Cannabis can replace the destressing effects of nicotine and help dealing with the stress and anxiety of withdrawal. Of course, it depends on the availability in your area but it could be a real game changer. 

Plus smoking Cannabis can easily replace the moments in your day when you’d reach for a packet of cigarettes. Of course, smoking anything is going to be somewhat harmful to your lungs but at least with a Cannabis or hemp cigarette there are a lot of added health benefits including anti-inflammation and anxiolytic effects on the body. 

12. Take it one day at a time

It’s important to take your time with this process and to be forgiving. Staying on track to quitting smoking is a difficult process but if you focus on getting through each day smoke-free instead of trying to tackle it in months or years, it’ll be that much easier.