In anything challenging, the first few steps are always the hardest. You’re not sure about the path you’re treading on most of the time. But, taking the first step is always necessary, especially if you’re trying to quit smoking.
To start quitting smoking, you just have to take a step. It doesn’t matter if it’s minor – like cutting down one cigarette every day. After all, no one expects you to create a whole timeline to quit smoking on day one. The most important thing is you get started.
In this post, we’ll talk about how to set a quit date and take the first step towards successfully quitting.
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Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.
Preparation makes everything go smoothly by removing anything that makes you doubt your capacity to quit. First, you have to consider your mental, emotional, and physical state to form your goals and aspirations – these are crucial components of your stop-smoking journey.
Find Your ‘Why’
Most smokers want to quit for health, family, and/or financial reasons. Others simply don’t want to depend on nicotine anymore. Some smokers quit because they want to join a mountaineering team…
The list of reasons is endless. Whatever yours is, make sure it’s powerful enough to keep you motivated through the tough times.
Set Your Quit Date
With your goals in check, it’s time to decide on the date to stop smoking. It is recommended you set the date no more than two weeks after your decision to quit.
Having 14 days before the date gives you enough time to prepare yourself and the tools and resources you need, but enough pressure that you don’t become complacent and let it creep up on you.
Plan a Schedule of Activities Per Day
Unfortunately, nicotine’s addictive pull is hard to break, especially when you have nothing to do during the first week of your quit journey.
Plan fun and productive activities during your first week of quitting. Revisit an old hobby, join a new class on baking, painting, or drawing. Take up gardening or join a local volunteer group.
Do anything that will keep your mind off smoking, and more importantly, make sure you’re not replacing your nicotine addiction with another type just to cope.
It’s also worth mentioning that you should be busy during your first week, but not too busy to the point it causes undue stress to you mentally and physically. Stress is the biggest trigger for many smokers who are trying to quit.
Talk to Your Friends and Family About Your Decision
Your first few steps will feel difficult if you lack the support needed to take them. If you’ve finally decided to stop, let your friends and family know about your decision. Ask them to stop smoking in your presence or have you buy or hold a cigarette.
In case some family members or friends continue smoking and disregard your decision, consider staying away from them for a while. Then, consider finding a stop-smoking community that will support you on your journey.
Try to Ensure Everything Goes Well
During the two weeks before your quit date, try to prepare for anything that could go wrong and cause you immense stress. Taking the first step is hard enough, and you’ll feel you want to stop immediately if you feel stressed.
If your car won’t start on a work day and you need to get towed, you’ll be stressed, and you’ll want to smoke.
Situations like these can easily discourage smokers who are trying to quit. To avoid forgetting anything or having any troubles, list anything that could possibly go wrong during your quitting timeline.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
More importantly, also remember that some things are always out of your control. Calm yourself in the face of a slip-up and do not beat yourself up if you do smoke on the first week.
Remind yourself that you can do better, and can still continue on the path to wellness despite any other slip-ups later on.
To reduce any chances of temptation, you can create a reward system for yourself. Reward systems have been proven effective in helping quitters to stop smoking for good. For instance, when you get through the first week of no cigarettes you can buy yourself something you’ve always wanted, regardless of the price.
You’ll likely have already saved over a hundred dollars by now. Treat yourself!
Consult a GP
A medical professional has the expertise and experience to help you stop smoking for good. They have designed successful quit journeys that helped others in the past. GPs can give you a customised smoking cessation programme and the right tools to help you manage any strong withdrawals and cravings during your first week.
If you think a GP is essential on your journey, consider booking a bulk-billed telehealth consultation to help you.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
NRT products, which come in the form of lozenges, gums, sprays, inhalers, and patches, introduce a small amount of nicotine into your system to curb the strong cravings and withdrawals you’ll experience during the first week.
A few hours after your last cigarette, your body will notice the low level of nicotine and start to nudge you repeatedly. With NRT products, you can easily deal with these cravings and wean your body away from its nicotine dependence.
Nicotine Vaping Products (NVPs)
For some smokers, NRTs aren’t enough to help keep their cravings at bay. Sometimes, their morning coffee or social life with friends triggers their need to have a cigarette. If your GP finds NRTs ineffective for you, they may recommend pharmacy NVPs as a second means to help you.
NVPs from pharmacies, made under the most stringent requirements, have helped many smokers finally kick the habit. A recent Cochrane Review revealed high-certainty evidence that NVPs are more effective than NRTs in helping people quit smoking.
Don’t expect yourself to create a complete timeline to quit smoking during your first week. Instead, focus on taking the first baby steps toward quitting. It’s okay to have some slip-ups, but be prepared to get back on track and help yourself focus on your goals.
You’re probably reading this post because you want to know how to take the first steps towards being free from smoking. You’re in the right place.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.