Five ways to stay quit
Most smokers will try to quit several times before they succeed. However, the good news is that if you quit smoking for a month, you are far more likely to stay a quitter. All quitters face temptation along the way. When it happens to you, try these techniques:
1. Focus on the benefits
Quitting is hard at first, but only gets easier – especially when you start to notice positive changes in your body:
- Eight hours – carbon monoxide level and oxygen level in blood returns to normal.
- Twenty-four hours – the immediate risk of heart attack starts to fall.
- One month – most nicotine withdrawal symptoms disappear.
- One year – increased risk of coronary heart disease half that of a smoker.
To stay on track, think about these benefits. You may want to write down how you feel every day and how you managed to stay on track. Every time you’re tempted to light up, have a read and remind yourself how far you have come.
2. Replace the habit
There’s nothing like a little positive distraction to keep your cravings at bay. Try replacing cigarettes with another activity such as:
- eating a piece of fruit
- chewing some gum
- making a cup of tea
- drinking some water
- playing a song that motivates you.
When cravings hit, take a few deep breaths and acknowledge the cravings for what they are. If you delay acting on your cravings for a few minutes, they should pass.
3. Reward yourself
To stay on track, goals are important, as are rewards. Be sure to celebrate every milestone – no matter how small. Start out with regular rewards (perhaps every two or three days without a cigarette) and as being a non-smoker becomes easier, go for longer between rewards. You could even put away the money you would otherwise have spent on cigarettes and buy yourself a treat at the end of every month.
Use the Cancer Council SA cost calculator to see how much you will save. If you spend $20 a day, that’s $600 a month and $7,300 per year.
4. Call yourself a non-smoker
As soon as you quit smoking, you earn the right to call yourself a non-smoker. It doesn’t matter if you’ve given up cigarettes for four days or four years. By seeing yourself as a non-smoker, you’ll start to make decisions like a non-smoker. So if someone offers you a cigarette, you can simply say, “No thanks – I don’t smoke”.
5. Avoid triggers… especially at first
For most smokers, cigarettes go hand in hand with another habit; a cup of coffee, a drink at the pub, a break at work, or after a meal. While it’s impossible to avoid all these triggers entirely, try changing your approach. If you are used to reaching for a cigarette while drinking your morning coffee, call a friend instead. If you usually have a cigarette after dinner, go for a quick walk or make yourself a cup of tea.
Download the My QuitBuddy app for more tips.