Quitting smoking cigarettes can be a difficult and stressful endeavour, both physically and mentally, and for those reasons you should try to make things as easy on yourself as possible. Of course, getting rid of the nicotine, which is a source of stress, will help but quitting will be worse, at least at the beginning.
This is why you should set your date to quit smoking cigarettes in a non-stressful time of year, as well as a time of year when avoiding temptation will be easy. Two times of year I do not recommend for quitting are the holidays, and on your own birthday.
The holidays are full of temptation. Even in the best circumstances, if you weren’t trying to quit for instance, the temptation of overeating and drinking too much are everywhere, for an extended period of time. The holidays are a time of feasting and revelry, and not a time for self-control, responsibility and long term thinking. But that’s just me. What I would do – indeed, what I have done – is to quit smoking immediately after the Holidays, for example on the first Monday you return to work after new year. In my case I quit smoking on a Sunday night, after all the holiday hoopla was over. Quitting smoking cigarettes at that time also makes plenty of sense, as the post-Holidays period is usually a time of deprivation, when you try to regain control that was lost during the overindulging of the Christmas and New Year period.
The same goes true of your birthday. Don’t quit on the day of your birthday, you’ll just fail and have a crappy birthday. Just quit a few days later. Not just any day, of course, pick a date and stick to it, but make sure it is soon after your birthday, so you can still celebrate the milestone when it comes around.
For many people, quitting smoking is a difficult and daring balancing act between avoiding temptation and remaining as close to their previous life as possible. It is fully understandable that after many years of smoking, you have made friends and developed habits that you do not necessarily want to get rid of, even when quitting smoking. I would suggest that you put every chances on your side and skew the balancing act of quitting smoking cigarettes in your favour, if only for the crucial first few weeks of your stopping smoking cigarettes.
Your smoking friends will still be there when you have quit for long enough that you can stay in their presence and avoid the temptation of smoking. They will not resent your going away for a little while, and if they are real friends, will celebrate and encourage your efforts!
But for the first few weeks or months after quitting smoking tobacco, put every chance on your side and try to stay in places where smoking is not permitted. Depending on the jurisdiction in which you live this may be easier – or not – but generally, try libraries, museums or theatres. Not only will these places not allow you to smoke within their confines, but will also provide for durable and quality entertainment, things you may not have seen or heard otherwise. Quitting smoking is already working to increase your general culture!
In addition to these places of entertainment, you may also want to visit malls or department stores, or both. These retail establishments have more than enough to for you to see and keep busy for several hours, in which you will not be tempted to smoke.
Quitting smoking, at the beginning, is all about avoiding temptation and remaining focused. Staying away from places you can openly smoke is a sensible, cheap and effective tool in your arsenal!
May West said, ‘’I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it’’. This is especially true with psychological and physiological addiction. It is true that in your quest for absolution you may give in to temptation, you will resume your previous lifestyle and cigarette habit. Each step we take towards success is a step in the right direction, even if we don’t get it right immediately. Even after years of being a non-smoker, I know of people that smoke one cigarette at a party or after dinner with friends only to go back to smoking full-time. Temptation is all around but in today’s society it is becoming much less available and much less convenient to be a smoker.
In order to reduce the temptation, throw away all your cigarettes and matches, and hide your lighters and ashtrays. By doing this, you will eliminate the constant reminder of what was once considered a pleasurable pass time. This simple act will significantly affect your chances of being successful. It is normal to have cravings, especially when positive memories have been created surrounding smoking. Sometimes, it happens to me when I am feeling stressed at the office, I crave a cigarette so badly that I can actually feel my saliva changing and can almost taste my favourite cigarette brand in my mouth. But, by not having cigarettes in my environment, it allows me to fight off the craving and resume my day.
My Friday cigarette right after work was the most enjoyable. I would get home a little after 5pm, pour myself a reasonable glass of red wine and light up. So smooth so enjoyable. So after I quit, I made sure to follow my own advice. I threw away all the cigarettes obviously, but I also got rid of the matches and even threw up the lighters and ashtrays. So even though my Friday ritual had changed slightly, I was still able to decompress without being tempted by cigarettes. Cheers to a better life!