Smoking cigarettes can be one of the hardest habits you’ll ever have to force yourself to get rid of. I myself used to smoke off and on while I was in college. Mainly because my roommate (and best friend) smoked often and I simply wanted to hang out with him; every time he’d go outside to burn one, I’d tag along for the conversation.
There are many different aspects of smoking that can appeal to a person, which is what makes quitting so difficult. You have the social aspect, the physical aspect (nicotine buzz), the emotional aspect, and of course, the ritualistic aspect (how good it feels to light a cigarette, take a drag and then hold it in your hand).
It can be done though, and here are five tips to help you do it:
Use products designed to help you quit
I know you’ve probably heard of all of them and even tried a few yourself, but they do help on some level and you can use all the help you can get. Acupuncture is one method that can help. E-cigarettes are becoming popular as the nicotine is in vaporized form, making it mostly water vapor that you’re inhaling. There are nicotine patches and inhalers and even gum that you can chew to help relieve cravings.
Just remember when trying out these methods that they’re to be used as a means to an end. Try not to develop a new habit in place of your old one.
Try to recognize the underlying reasons behind your habit
Addictive habits most often form as a result of emotional turmoil or duress. Thus, if you’re looking to kick the habit for good, you’re going to have to do some self-reflection. For me, the buzz I got from cigarettes eased my mind at the end of the day or during stressful situations. For others, it can be a much deeper issue; most likely an unresolved emotional issue.
When you stop smoking you’ll notice these issues popping up more often in your life. Deal with them when they do, rather than turning to your old habit.
Adapt your social behavior to fit a lifestyle without smoking
Quitting cigarettes is next to impossible if you consistently have your friends or family members smoking right alongside you. This was the greatest appeal for me: simply having a cigarette and sharing time with another person.
To overcome this, let it be known in your social circles that you’re trying to quit and any help they can give you would be appreciated. If they refuse to help you or acknowledge this, it might be time for new friends.
Create new rituals to take the place of smoking
The most addicting aspect of smoking is the habitual processes and rituals that you have created surrounding the act of smoking. The way you hold the cigarette, the way you take a drag, the way you pair it with a beer or expect to have one after a meal; all of these things create comfort.
It’s going to be hard, but to stop smoking you’ll have to forgo these comforts that you have built around smoking. Quitting your habit is all about removing the connections you’ve made between smoking and comfort/routine, and building new habits that do not have any association with smoking or the attempt of quitting.