Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tips for Succeeding Going Cold Turkey*

If you do decide to go cold turkey, here are some steps you can take to improve your chances of success:
  • Choose a quit day and plan for it. Pick a day within the next four weeks. Use the intervening time to pay attention to what triggers your desire to smoke, so you can avoid those triggers later on. You also might begin to scale back on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day, to make it easier to cut yourself off on your quit day.
  • Get your family and friends on board. Tell them your quit date and ask for their help. Tell them you’re going to need their support and that you’re also going to need them to be kind to you because you’re going to be cranky and occasionally nasty.
  • Get rid of your smoking paraphernalia. On quit day, toss all your matches, lighters, ashtrays, and, of course, tobacco.
  • List the reasons why you want to quit: laminate it, keep it in your pocket and when you start to slip, take it out and review it."
  • Don't use a lapse as an excuse for giving up. Most smokers trying to quit will lapse at least once. Acknowledge what happened, but tell yourself that this does not mean you've taken up smoking again. You can use a slip-up as a learning opportunity. Analyze the circumstances under which you slipped and try to change that behavior..
  • When you feel like reaching for a smoke: Divert your attention by calling a friend; take a quick walk, even if it is just to the bathroom ; or close your eyes and count down from 10 to 0, very slowly, breathing deeply with each count

Another important point: Come up with a plan to deal with cravings. You may find it helpful to keep a smoking journal before your quit date, to record data like what time each craving hit, where you were, and so on.

* Adapted from http://www.everydayhealth.com/stop-smoking/quit-smoking-cold-turkey.aspx

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