Smoking is one of the most challenging habits there is to change. The body craves the nicotine, while the brain craves pleasure and comfort through the entire process of lighting up a cigarette. A great many smokers say they would happily stop smoking if they could only find a way of doing it. This is easier said than done, and one of the hardest parts of quitting is filling the gap with something that will encourage a person to actually want to abstain from smoking again. These are a few ideas that may help in making the decision to quit a permanent one.
Start a new sport
One of the most effective ways of reminding yourself how much you do not need to smoke is to begin an oxygen intensive sport. This could be any sport that involves raising the heart rate and increasing oxygen demands on the body. Running however is particularly effective, because in essence you will never reach your full potential as a runner while you continue to smoke. And nothing quite enforces your will to never return to tobacco use than a good speed workout. That nauseating feeling of wanting to be sick at the end of a fartlek or sprints session certainly reinforces the knowledge of how much better your body will function without carbon monoxide-filled lungs, or a poor blood supply with a weak heart.
Scuba diving has the same effect, in that your time underwater is directly determined by how efficiently you process your oxygen supply. Better lungs and fitness equals more minutes in the tank. Of course, it takes great will and determination to make the commitment to stop smoking for good, and then in the same breath (no pun intended) take up a demanding physical activity, but drastic measures bring drastic results, and that is the aim.
Start a new hobby
As with starting a new sport, starting a new hobby as a diversion to smoking can be a successful strategy if implemented with determination. The idea here is to reward yourself with the money saved on cigarettes by investing in a rewarding hobby. The hobby itself, whatever it is should provide mental stimulation and focus when smoking urges attack, as they always do. Simply immerse yourself in your new hobby or activity and remind yourself that this is your new past time; and not that of self-destruction via nicotine.
Begin saving for something special
Here the savings made in stopping smoking is saved into an account of some sort. For some people this will require more discipline than is needed to stop smoking! However, for others it can be the perfect way to reward themselves for staying away from tobacco. It will also show just how much money is wasted on such a destructive addiction. And then when you have reached your target amount of cash you can spend it on something worthwhile, and see what would have been cigarette money spent in a far better way.
This is an extension of the savings idea in that set goals are specified and rewarded when achieved. Monthly markers can be rewarded with a meal to your favourite restaurant. Six clean months can be rewarded with a sports event or a concert; use your imagination. One year of clean lungs could justify a short break away to somewhere nice. Only be wise, and don’t reward yourself with a weekend away with the lads on a rugby trip if everyone going is a smoker! Alcohol is a lying mistress…and you could soon find yourself back on twenty a day.
Quitting cigarettes for good is most certainly possible, and can be achieved by anyone once they have prepared their mind and built up enough determination to do it. Failing on the first (or umpteenth) attempt is not the end of the world either. Just plan better and try harder. Quitting for a few days is easy. Staying off cigarettes forever is the challenging bit. It can seem daunting, and the above strategies are simply ideas to help fill the void left by habitual nicotine use. Take control and reward yourself accordingly.