Make a definite date to start.
Whether you plan to quit smoking suddenly or gradually, setting a date to start will help you prepare yourself mentally for the challenge ahead.
Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit.
There are lots of reasons to quit smoking. Many people are motivated to quit for their family and friends, health benefits or to save money. Make a list of your reasons, then post them somewhere you will see them so you can be encouraged by them every day.
Talk about it.
Talking about your quit attempt is a powerful way to positively reinforce your reasons for stopping. It can help you through cravings and other moments when you’re feeling tempted to light up.
Write down your quit goal.
Your promise to quit smoking becomes stronger if you make it more concrete. One way to do that is to write it down. Keep it in your purse or wallet or post it on your wall as a solid reminder of your pledge. Read More on why you should record your commitment to quitting smoking.
Know what makes you smoke.
Keeping a journal of the times, places and reasons that trigger your desire to smoke can help you change your patterns and avoid them whilst you quit.
Get friends to help.
Enlist friends and family to give you support and encouragement through the tough times and especially the times when you slip up.
Fill the gap
It might feel like you’re trying to say goodbye to a close friend. So replace your smoking habit with a healthier one. Join a gym, take up swimming or a hobby that will help occupy your hands and your mind.
Congratulate yourself on feeling better.
The physical benefits of quitting begin immediately. Being aware of them will encourage you. If you walk to the top of some stairs and realise you’re not puffed, enjoy that feeling and tell yourself you’re glad you don’t smoke.
Celebrate your wins.
If you do have a cigarette, don’t see it as a failure. Celebrate all the cravings you got through, the cigarettes you didn’t smoke and go forward positively with your quit attempt.
Save money and reward yourself.
Putting aside the money you spend on cigarettes could net you a very tidy sum very quickly. Why not reward yourself with a holiday or something you always thought you couldn’t afford?
Get some help with cravings.
Nicotine replacement therapy products (NRT) can help you to control your cravings whilst you quit smoking. NRT doubles your chances of quitting successfully versus cold turkey1. Find the right NRT product for you here.
There are lots of reasons to quit smoking. Many people are motivated to quit for their family and friends, health benefits of quitting smoking or to save money. Make a list of your reasons, then post them somewhere you will see them so you can be encouraged by them every day.
1. Stead LF et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008:CD000146.
If you smoke, it's likely you know someone else who does too. Why not ask them if they'd like to quit with you? If you've tried to give up cigarettes on your own in the past, starting a quit journey with a friend who shares the same goals could be the answer you're looking for. You could even do it as part of a bigger team.
Alternatively, you might want to quit smoking on your own. That's fine too. Everyone is different and it may be that taking a more personal approach is the best way for you to successfully quit.
There are obviously pros and cons for quitting on your own or for making a team effort. There's certainly no 'right' answer to quitting. It's about deciding what works best for you. If some close support from a friend helps you quit, great. If you'd rather concentrate on getting there on your own, there are other kinds of support available to you. Here are some of the benefits for each strategy.
Going it alone
- Ultimately, only you can make yourself quit. It has to be something you want, and you'll have to work hard at it whether you quit with a friend or not. It's your battle to win.
- Quitting on your own means you can do it your way. If avoiding the pub helps you, or going for a run, or reading, you're able to do it wherever and whenever you want.
- You can concentrate on you. It's not selfish to want to make sure your journey is successful before you worry about other people, and you won't have to support a friend too much if you quit on your own. You also don't have to be affected by other people's slip ups.
- It'll give you more of a chance to be around non-smoking friends. They might be a better influence than other quitters, because you won't automaticaly associate them with smoking.
- You won't rely on just one person for support. Any of your friends or family are potential quit buddies, so it could be good to keep your options open rather than relying on one fellow-quitter to help you through the tougher moments.
Making a team effort
- If you start a quit journey with someone else, you'll have ongoing support from someone with the same aims, so you won't feel alone on your journey.
- They'll understand what you're going through more than any of your non-smoker friends, so they might know how to better support you at times when you need it.
- You can swap tips. If something really helped you through a difficult moment, you can share it with your fellow quitter to help get them through theirs, and vice versa.
- You can distract one another. With an extra person or people available, your possibilities for distracting yourself will probably grow. You can keep each other motivated to stay active and eat right.
- Your other friends, whether they're smokers or not, may pay more attention if there are more of you trying to go smoke-free, meaning they could take you more seriously and do more to help you.
- You'll be helping someone else go smoke-free with you, which may motivate you even more to be successful.
- It might mean there's more chance you'll stay quit. If you quit alone then continue to see friends who smoke, it could be tempting to go back to cigarettes yourself, whereas if they quit too, you can avoid tempting each other in a back and forth pattern in future.
If you do decide to quit on your own, there are still various kinds of support available to you - whether it's calling on your friends and family to help, finding tips and advice on the rest of this site, or speaking to other quitters online. Nicabate also offers an online support community, Nicabate Pledge to Quit Facebook page, which can provide you with ongoing support throughout your quit journey and help you learn to overcome temptations. And if you're quitting with a friend, there's no reason both of you can't sign up online for extra support as well as each other.
If you're going to make a team effort and tackle quitting together, you may well decide to use many of the same strategies. However, the treatment to best help you deal with your cravings will probably be different, so think about what will work for you.
However you approach quitting – on your own or with a friend – what's important is that you do what works for you and you keep trying, even if you slip up.