There are 1.1 billion cigarette smokers in the world. This, one might think, is staggering, but the reality is that nicotine is the second most physically addictive substance known to man, so it comes as no surprise. Many face abundant challenges in trying to rid this harmful habit; dealing with nicotine withdrawal and curbing temptations is arduous, but luckily these are only temporary symptoms, for what can become a temporary addiction. Quitting smoking is challenging, but is possible by identifying cues that trigger nicotine use, finding new ways to socialize, and creating new daily routines to replace the routine of smoking. Here are 5 steps to conquering that nicotine addiction:
1. Choosing a replacement habit
a. It is important to plan ahead and identify how you will respond when in the face of the stress or boredom that triggers your smoking. Being prepared to do something else when you have the urge to smoke is a critical part of quitting. Many replace smoking with deep breathing, cooking, or exercise.
2. Identifying and eliminating triggers
a. Psychology experts have stated that environments largely influence our behavior. Identify what environmental cues trigger your smoking, eg. anxiety, the garden, the bar, etc and either eliminate (if you can) or avoid the triggers. In order to break this bad habit, it is necessary to avoid the things/places that cause it.
3. Support and be supported
a. Two heads are better than one. Pairing up with a friend who smokes, and quitting together will help you hold yourselves and each other, accountable. It can also be impelling to have someone to share your victories with. According to James Clear, knowing that someone expects you to be better is a strong motivator.
4. Changing routines
a. In order to quit smoking, you have to change your lifestyle. It helps to shake things up a bit. If you usually eat lunch at your desk and then head out for a cigarette, try making a change and eating lunch somewhere else with someone else. If you usually have a cigarette before starting work or studying, try planning a study date elsewhere. Changing your routines is a vital part of eliminating your smoking habit.
5. Expect failure
a. It usually takes five or six attempts to kick smoking. Each time, you will learn more and more about what works and what doesn’t. Don’t beat yourself up over a slip up or mistake, plan for it and figure out how to bounce back. It is resilience that separates top performers from everyone else.
Your new, healthy habits will help you persevere and stick by your decision to quit. Eventually, the nicotine craving will fade, and you will feel rewarded by your new experiences as a non-smoker. Despite the challenges that come with quitting smoking, the outcome will make you glad that you stuck by your decision to quit.
Clear, James. “How to Break a Bad Habit (and Replace it With a Good One.)” James Clear, 2013. Web. 26 March 2016.