Whenever you decide to quit something, you generally go through stages. Here is the breakdown of those stages as they relate to quitting smoking.
Stage 1- The Smoking Status quo
Generally, you are not thinking about quitting smoking at this stage. You still enjoy smoking and have made up justifications for your actions. You have convinced yourself that the health risks are minimal and that you, unlike so many others, are able to quit at any time, but you chose not to.
Stage 2 – Questioning the behaviour/habit
This is the stage at which you begin to believe that there may be a problem. You question your motivation for smoking and the desire to continue. You begin making lists, either in your head or physically, of the benefits of quitting as well as your limitations if you decide to keep smoking. At this stage, you will also list your triggers and your reasons for keeping the status quo.
Stage 3 – You have taken the decision to quit smoking
This is the planning stage. You research different quit smoking programs and methods. You make lists of the pros and cons of each method and select one. You develop a support network to help you quit and stay quit. At this stage you should also find coping mechanisms and tricks to use to help control cravings. Also, you should redevelop your lifestyle around a non-smoking way of life. Select a date, and if necessary, a quit smoking programs that is right for you.
Stage 4 – Do it!
At this stage, because you have already selected your date and become comfortable with it, the only thing left is to stop smoking. Because you have already planned thoroughly, this stage will be easy. You know that the discomfort is temporary, you know that the cravings are fleeting and that they diminish over time. You have useful coping strategies tailored to your lifestyle as well as a trusted quit smoking program. There are also other ways to help yourself to quit smoking cigarettes, make sure to explore all options.
Stage 5 – Being a non-smoker
An effective way of being successful at quitting is to embrace your new you. Embrace being a non-smoker. Truly believe that you are better off as a non-smoker. List all the things that you can now do because of your liberated status. For example, you can comfortably sit through a three hour movie without getting the jitters, you can exercise for more than twenty minutes without being winded, and all the other reasons you have chosen to be a non-smoker. Each time you face a craving, remind yourself of the reasons for the change. By doing this, you will be successful I can almost guarantee it.
Relapse – Speaks for itself
It can happen. It took me three attempts before being able to truly be comfortable as a non-smoker. This does not mean that you are a failure. Each attempt at quitting will bring you closer to the desired goal. You understand your triggers better. And each time you quit, you have to go through the withdrawal process make sure to remember that as a motivation. Just because you have relapsed does not mean that the nicotine won. Next time you quit for good, you will be more prepared and have a better idea of your triggers. Each attempt will bring you closer to success, but you have to want it and work at it.
No matter how much pain you feel when you quit smoking, remember that this is nothing compared to the long-term pain of not quitting. Keep quitting until it sticks!