Maybe it’s my own fault for being so annoyingly optimistic, but I absolutely love that New Years resolutions are a thing. A legitimate thing? It’s widely disputed, but even if many resolutions are abandoned not long after midnight there are countless examples of people sticking to their new goals. On your Facebook wall you may have encountered a handful of people saying that everyone should be making resolutions all the time, not just when a new year is rung in, but the popularity of such a notion is at least a good start, and by fulfilling these resolutions I’m sure people will be prompted to make many more.
But this isn’t about a vague wish of being nicer or being less materialistic, this is about one resolution that should take priority over any other, and at all times of the year – quitting cigarettes. Sadly, I am a smoker, and can admit that I did have this resolution and have relapsed since. It’s hard, and becomes even harder when you’re within the age bracket with the YOLO mentality. Even if this is another excuse, I lasted longer than I thought I would, and will last even longer the next time I quit. If this is you, you should be very proud and ignore the nay-sayers that tell you not to begin with the new year – any time you quit is a good time.
Maybe this will urge you to quit, or guide you on the way, or if you’re not a smoker maybe this can help you better understand what we’re all going through. These are the things that have helped me in the past and will help me again.
Know the facts.
As a loyal smoker you don’t look into the statistics of smoking, you know deep down it will deter you from doing what you “love”. When you fully grasp the seriousness of smoking, and realise each and every thing it does to your body, you will feel sick to your stomach – this is a good thing, use this feeling to get you started. Unfortunately the oodles of health risks doesn’t stop everyone in their tracks, thats okay because, wait! Theres more! Like how it makes you uglier than you should be, or takes all your pretty pennies (Like, a bunch of pennies). A quick Google search will scare you more than the packet pictures.
Keep Goals. Reward Yourself.
What a good goal is varies from person to person; what stays constant is the feeling of reward after a triumphant victory. It can be as small as a day smoke free or as big as a year, whatever it is give yourself something, obviously not smokes though, you dumb dumb. It’s okay to make both realistic and unrealistic goals, don’t think two weeks is even remotely possible for yourself? That’s okay, write it down anyway, and have a reward in mind just in case – you may surprise yourself.
It’s your decision to tell the world.
You may have heard that you have to tell everyone, so they can support you and stop you from doing anything silly. I like to think that this decision is highly dependant on the type of company you keep. A lot of people cannot grasp the seriousness of quitting and therefore can come off quite insensitive. If you know people who would react like this to your possible failure: ‘I thought you quit!’ , or ‘Well that didn’t last long’, and maybe ‘I told you so!’ than try not to be around them whilst quitting and maybe don’t tell them what you’re doing. It doesn’t mean they’re horrible people, they just don’t get it, and you shouldn’t have to validate an amazing life-saving decision to them. These reactions can create a fear of judgement and stop you from wanting to quit again.
Tell loved ones who have urged you to quit for years, the ones who can support you no matter what and at least try to understand what you’re feeling.
Find a quit buddy.
Friend, partner, family, stranger on a train, internet forum – Anyone who is on the same journey is completely invaluable to you at this time. Just a quick message when you’re feeling the urge is enough, they’ll tell you why you shouldn’t, what has worked for them, and more importantly if you feel like you’ve tried your very best and have still failed, they will not guilt you into oblivion. On top of all of this convincing your buddy not to smoke will motivate yourself as well.
Strategise for cravings.
You could be doing every single thing right – it doesn’t matter, you will still get cravings. Some won’t last more than three minutes, others will feel like a lifetime, when this happens you need an exit strategy. Again, everyone is different, but these are the hints I can offer to you that have worked for me:
Check the time and tell yourself to wait ten minutes or so before you go for a smoke. Keep doing this, continually postponing will eventually get you to an urge-free stage.
Stop thinking. You will think about smokes even when you don’t want one – and then you’ll want one. Keep active, clean something, exercise, draw, talk to someone. Fill your time and notice how productive you’ve been without icky cigarettes.
Substitute. A very reliable brand of Electronic Cigarettes, nicotine free, helped me, but if you’re not comfortable with this splurge on some gum, eat tiny, stick-like snacks, chew on a twig. You can still have a ten minute break without a durry.
Be somewhere smoke-free. Chill inside your house if you’re not allowed to smoke there, opt to sit inside at restaurants, bars and cafes. You won’t be getting a good amount of sun but you also won’t be getting as much Cancer.
Affirm yourself. Tell yourself that you want to be healthy, smell good, have money and look pretty.
Become a recluse.
There is a real danger of going a little stir-crazy for a while, but as soon as your feel strong enough you can enter the world again. It’s essential to know what situations would usually make you smoke and deliberately avoid them. For me, it’s parties, town outings and coffee dates. Most things that include alcohol or coffee should be forgotten.
This is where I messed up. After a week at home, not smoking I was frantic to get out of the house and to a party. Fortunately there was someone there who had quit as well, and she became my quit buddy – unfortunately, as soon as she crashed for the night it left me capable to bum a smoke and feel close to guilt-free.
It’s hard, but apparently it gets easier. At the same party I met someone who told me he had been smoke free for a whole year. That alone was very impressive, that was until his friend reminded him that he had actually quit in 2011. This guy had quit more than two years ago, and didn’t even think about smoking enough to know how far he had gone. Inspiring stories like this can be found everywhere, and will help to motivate you.
Quit now, if you fail keep quitting, if you have already then congratulations, you are officially a non-smoker.
Now go eat some reward chocolate, you incredible person.
– by Josefina Huq