Making it Stick – Quitting Smoking With Lifestyle Changes

There’s a lot of help out there for people who want to stop smoking. Nowadays we have prescription medications available, nicotine replacement therapy, natural or herbal supplements to help, support groups, hypnosis and many more. While all or many of these treatment regiments can help you stop smoking or at least get through the rough parts of nicotine withdrawal, there is one resounding consistency between those who quit for good using any of the above methods and those who don’t. People who quit and accompany this with a lifestyle change statistically have a much higher chance to stay smoke free forever. Changing your lifestyle means changing your habits, outlook on life, daily routine, and overall way you run your life. By changing these things from the bottom up, you are effectively erasing the hold smoking had on your life and eliminating behavior that triggers smoking and substituting it with healthy or positive habits.

It all starts with why

When you are quitting smoking, one of the first things you should consider even before you quit is why you smoke. Any type of addiction starts with a need it satisfies or fulfills. Although that need may go away or be buried over time with the habit, life does change and you may be more addicted to the cigarette than actually need it after time. Figure out why you started smoking in the first place. Were you stressed? Left alone? Coping with loss or failure? Whatever the reason(s) are that you started smoking in the first place, find out what they were. Oftentimes people start bad habits because there was something missing or that they needed to bury. As we grow older, we begin to understand these things and although we haven’t always dealt with it face to face, our minds and hearts have started to cope. By hanging on to the addiction, we are stopping the full healing process and continue to support the addition. Find out why you started and really reflect on it. Whatever was going on in your life, remember that you are now in control. This will help you deal with some of the emotions that come out after you quit smoking and you can understand that you can now let go. Seriously, its time to let go.

The next step is the when

Decide well ahead of time when you plan to quit smoking. This will help you mentally prepare and get everything you need setup to drop the habit for good. Some people actually manage to throw that last cigarette out of the window and never go back again. Most people need to prepare so they can deal with the cravings. The first cravings will be strong and your mind will try to convince you that you should have a cigarette. If you were expecting this and well prepared, you can have the resolve to get through them since they really only last 3-5 minutes.

Get your new routine together

Whatever it is you do on a daily basis, change it. Get up at a different time, go to bed at a different time, have breakfast before you shower etc. Beyond this, try coming up with new habits to substitute for old ones. Instead of a morning coffee and cigarette, take the coffee to go (if at all) and go for a walk. During work smoking breaks, have some tea or go for a quick stroll outside. In the evenings, get used to reading a certain amount of time when you get home from work or when you normally unwind. There are a ton of things to choose from but your overall outlook on your body, self, and health will change with positive lifestyle changes and as they get more ingrained, you will be more equipped to be a non smoker for good.

Make exercise a part of your new routine

Exercise can be one of your biggest friends while you quit smoking and stick with it. Exercise will help manage the energy you have whether its positive from feeling better or negative from dealing with Nicotine withdrawal. Exercise can cause the release of dopamine, which is what makes you feel great and also one of the same things that nicotine causes the release of which keeps you addicted. However, exercise is a natural way to release this chemical and if you are feeling bad from the withdrawal, exercise can completely counteract that. Exercise will also make you feel good about yourself and help you begin to solidify the new lifestyle changes that you are making which are about you being happy in your skin and taking care of yourself. Don’t worry, you don’t have to run marathons. Brisk walks, jogs, or even some sit ups and push ups as part of your routine can be a good way to start.

Keep it up

Once you’ve started your new habits, keep them up. Get comfortable with your new routine and depending on your personality you may want to stay somewhat rigid in your schedule. This will help you deal with situations that may occur and trigger a craving even well after you’ve stopped smoking. If you have solidified a new routine you can cope with tough situations and use positive instead of negative habits to satisfy your mind.

After all these changes have worked their way into your lifestyle, relapse will be far less likely since you will have established the tools you need to deal with whatever life throws you. After all, over time you can look back and see how Nicotine was just a chemical addiction after all and you just don’t need it anymore. If you get to this point, congratulations!