Almost every smoker I know at one point or the other wants to quit smoking. Smoking is probably the hardest habit to get rid off in your life. I know because I was a smoker once. It took me many attempts at quitting before I succeeded. I've tried many techniques when trying to quit which includes gradually reducing the number of cigarettes and finally found out that the best way is to go cold turkey.
Going cold turkey is only the first step of a long journey. Quitting smoking is the easy part. Staying completely off cigarettes is much more difficult.
Here are five things to keep in mind while trying to be successful at quitting smoking permanently.
1) Be a Non-Smoker.
Just not smoking is the first and easy part but to permanently stop smoking requires a deeper change. The first and most important step when trying to quit is to "be a non smoker". Just denying yourself of cigarettes is not enough if you do not attack the problem from the inside. To permanently quit you need to internally "become" a non-smoker. Remember, your thought leads to your action which leads to your habits. So to have permanent change you need to get to the roots of the problem and adopt the thought process of a non-smoker. If you truly get this one point then the rest will be simple.
2) Never Quit at Quitting.
Don't be a quitter at quitting smoking. Every smoker can find solace in the quote by Mark Twain: - "Quitting Smoking is easy. I've done it hundreds of times".
Let me tell you a secret. Everyone fails at some point and it's perfectly normal. There's nothing wrong and being frustrated about it is just counterproductive. Like everything in life you will not succeed at the first attempt. Take failure as a learning experience and move on. Remember; when it comes to quitting smoking... never be a quitter. Well you know what I mean.
3) Change Your Environment.
Remove the things in your environment that can remind you of smoking. For instance, ash trays, matches, lighters, cigarettes (duh!) and of course that collection of cigarettes boxes from around the world... now that really needs to go.
Another thing is to identify the times and situations that would trigger your craving such as playing poker with your buddies and try to minimise doing those things. Find alternate and more productive activities that you can do to occupy your time and try to hang out more with non-smokers.
You should also try to avoid or reduce coffee and alcohol because these have strong association with smoking. Not only will this be healthier but it will make your quitting effort that much easier.
4) Distract Yourself.
Occasionally you'll find yourself thinking about smoking. In times like this you need to find ways to distract yourself. Chew a gum, play computer games, clean your house, take a walk, go out and play a sport.
5) Shift Your Focus.
Rather than focusing on quitting smoking, try to focus on a more positive target such as having better health. It is best to have a goal which can excite you. For instance, a possible goal would be 'to be able to swim a number of laps in the local pool or to run a number of miles within certain time', be creative but make sure it's something which makes you feel excited about.
Non-smokers places a very high priority on their health and if you copy this thinking pattern or belief, you will find quitting cigarettes that much easier.
In summary, there's a common theme that goes through the five tips I've given above and that is to quit smoking permanently you need to basically transform yourself and become a different person. The reason quitting smoking is difficult is because most people does not change their psychology. Psychologically, they are still a smoker albeit one who denies himself or herself of cigarettes. Just changing superficially without changing the core will never produce permanent results.