How can I motivate myself to quit smoking?


quit smoking

Didn’t most of us feel for Mark Twain when he said, “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times”? Clearly, he struggled to quit smoking and had innumerable failed quitting attempts, like billions of others. The eternal truth is that how successful you are in quitting smoking depends on how strong your motivation to quit is and the severity of your nicotine dependence. Even heavy smokers can quit smoking successfully if they are motivated. However, even though our motivation may be high on the first day, it can wane over time. So, how do you motivate yourself to quit smoking and actually be successful in it?

Develop healthy habits

Once you decide on quitting, it is normal for you to get nicotine cravings. How to quit smoking successfully despite these nicotine cravings? Well, to deal with these, you can focus on healthy habits like exercise. Every time you have the urge, go for a brisk walk or attempt free-hand exercises. One, it will take your mind off the desire to smoke. Two, the release of dopamine during exercise will help correct the chemical imbalance in your brain, which may help you with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. 

Identify your triggers 

It is important to identify what are your primary roadblocks in the journey to quitting smoking. It may be friends or colleagues who are chain smokers. It may be that you still need to be convinced about the importance and benefits of quitting this habit. Or it could be that you lack access to proper cessation interventions. Once you are able to identify these potential roadblocks, it will be easier to address them. 

Try using visual reminders

One of the best ways to remain motivated to quit smoking is to have visual reminders in your workplace and home. No, we don’t mean autopsy pictures of a smoker’s lungs or grim statistics of lung cancer deaths. It can be something as simple as motivational posters enlisting your health goals or a photograph or all things you can enjoy with the money you save by quitting smoking. These physical visual reminders about the benefits to quitting smoking can encourage you to stay on track when you don’t feel so motivated and you are just on the verge of grabbing that packet of cigarettes.

Make your environment work for you 

Quit smoking benefits are diverse and to have them, first try changing a few things around you. You can bring in changes in your car, workplace and home that will help you to stay motivated to refrain from smoking. For example, get rid of all cigarettes in your workplace, in your car and at home before you quit. Also, get rid of things you commonly use while smoking like ashtrays and lighters. Wash your clothes and everything else that smells of tobacco smoke.

Tell people you are trying to quit smoking

We know social situations can be tempting when you are trying to quit smoking. However, in the first few weeks, try avoiding situations where you will be tempted to smoke or where cigarettes are readily available. Tell people who you smoke with that you are trying to quit smoking and ask them to support you by not offering you cigarettes and by not smoking around you.  

Watch out for your main temptations 

Going shopping at your local grocery or convenience store can be tempting as in these cases, it is easy for you to buy cigarettes. In the first few weeks, be cautious about where you shop. If you are going anywhere that sells cigarettes, make up your mind beforehand that you will not buy even one. Also, if you live in a community where smoking is allowed in public places, you must consider avoiding those places, particularly in the first few weeks. Seeing other people smoking and secondhand smoke can trigger strong cravings.

Mind those urges

Pay close attention to your urges as your mind may be serving you tempting thoughts all the time! In many cases, a thought may seem overpowering and we assume that it is true as it came from inside our mind. However, not all our thoughts are true!  When it comes to your smoking urges, it is natural for your thoughts to try and convice you that its OK to have just one cigarette. However, it is upto you whether or not you want to listen and give in to the temptation. Know that each time you resist a tobacco craving, you are one step ahead in the journey of being tobacco-free.

  How to manage nicotine urges while trying to quit smoking?  

Try nicotine replacement products and keep reminding yourself why you are trying to quit smoking. Also, remind yourself that these cravings will pass. Avoid activities and situations that increase your urge to smoke.

  How long do nicotine cravings usually last after quitting?  

A person’s craving for nicotine usually improves after the first 2-3 weeks as the body adjusts to being smoke-free.


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