In honor of the Great American Smokeout (November 17), here are six tips to help you finally kick that smoking habit:
1. Set small, realistic goals. The key to sticking with your plan to quit is to establish several small (and easily manageable) milestones along the way – such as cutting back by 25% or not smoking while driving. Once you’ve accomplished each individual goal, reward yourself!
2. Ask for encouragement. Quitting is no easy task ““ so don’t go at it alone! Ask for encouragement from friends, family members and co-workers, who can keep you motivated and provide support when you slip up.
3. Talk to your doctor. In addition to your friends, you should also tell your doctor, who may be able to offer additional support, especially if you are experiencing symptoms of withdrawal.
4. De-stress your life. Don’t let stress influence your motivation to quit. Remember to take time for yourself, and engage in relaxing activities, such as listening to music, practicing yoga or getting a massage.
5. Start a new hobby or activity. Keep your mind off cravings and withdrawals by picking up a new, healthy habit! Join a gym or recreational sports league, take walks with a friend or learn a new skill, such as knitting or painting.
6. Don’t give up! The old adage rings true: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Although many people will fail the first (or second, or third) time they try to quit smoking, don’t be discouraged. You are capable of kicking the habit, and you will be successful!