Everyone needs help to quit. Everyone needs advice.
These tips will give you the insight you’ll need to improve your odds of successfully beating cigarettes. This is probably a list you’ll go back to time and time again. I know I would.
You don’t want to fail and relapse back into addiction, do you?
#1 — NEVER GIVE UP!!! – No matter how many times you’ve tried quitting, or how impossible it seems, it’s extremely important to not lose focus of your goals. This is the biggest change in your life you’ll most likely ever face.
Don’t EVER give up, and DON’T stop trying.
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The mere fact you keep trying to stop over and over means your mind is in place. Even though nicotine may seem to get the best of you each and every time, it’s NEVER too late, and you should NEVER give up.
Eventually you’ll figure things out like I did. Hopefully, I can give you some shortcuts. You shouldn’t have to waste years of your life like I did trying 100’s of times. It’s just not right.
It doesn’t matter if you relapse a couple of times. That is very common among all people who try to quit. But keep at it, and jump right back on that bandwagon.
Don’t think it’s too late, because you’re never too old to stop smoking.
#2 — FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS!!! – The minute you lose focus is the exact moment you relapse. It happens all the time.
For the first few weeks after quitting, it’s IMPERATIVE to focus daily, hour by hour, and minute by minute.
A strong nicotine craving can catch you completely off guard when you least expect it.
Triggers often do this. You may even notice yourself reaching for that cigarette, yet you are powerless to do anything about it.
You lost focus and your addiction overpowered you. You didn’t care about relapsing, because your mind played tricks that were too powerful for you to fight against. The withdrawal was too strong at that moment and you gave in.
You might have even said to yourself you’d quit again right after. Sound familiar?
In order to successfully quit, you must never lose focus. Concentrate and think about how you DON’T want to smoke.
Do this all day and all night long. After a few months of quitting you’ll begin to forget about tobacco almost entirely.
#3 — DON’T BE SCARED!!! – The thought of quitting can be quite overwhelming, and very scary.
I guarantee you’ve said to yourself “How am I going to make it through all those events and not smoke? What about the wedding? What about Christmas? What about my birthday?”
It’s OK to think those thoughts, as everyone does.
The future holds so many bright things, you shouldn’t be worried about your next fix. You should be EXCITED about living a healthy life.
I know it’s hard. Do yourself a favor and take one day at a time.
Don’t worry about the wedding you have to go to next summer. Don’t worry about those plans you made next weekend. Don’t even worry about tomorrow! Just concentrate on what you’re doing RIGHT NOW and forget about the future.
Take baby steps or you’ll freak out.
#4 — WRITE A JOURNAL – This is almost as valuable as the method you choose to quit. It helped me a TON! Even if you don’t like to write, or you feel you aren’t a good writer, it’s still important.
The first day of quitting and every day thereafter, write down your thoughts and feelings about how the day went for you.
How do you physically feel? Is the mental game challenging? What’s going on inside your head? Are you angry?
There are countless questions to ask yourself.
I began on Day 1 and wrote a page of notes everyday until day 35. It was therapeutic in so many ways.
There were days when I couldn’t wait to get home to write down my thoughts and feelings. I vented out all my frustrations onto that page.
I noticed as the days went on, my frustrations occurred less frequently. I was becoming a more happier person.
You’ll see if you try it.
I recommend writing a journal 100%. It’s a great and valuable tool, and it’s FREE!
#5 — DON’T LISTEN TO CRITICISM – If you’re like me and you’ve tried to quit many times and failed, I’m sure there are people out there who laugh at you.
After a while, my friends began to doubt me. They didn’t think I could do it. They saw me relapse dozens of times. They got used to it, and after a while, they expected me to relapse. Isn’t that horrible?
DON’T LISTEN TO THEM!
Block them, avoid them, and don’t take their criticism of you personally. You’re above it all. They don’t realize you’re at least still trying.
It takes a lot of energy to quit. If they don’t see how difficult it is, then screw them!
#6 — UNDERSTAND THAT EVEN ONE DRAG WILL LEAD TO A FULL-BLOWN RELAPSE – I have had MANY encounters with relapsing.
This is what I have to say about it: under no circumstance can you ever smoke again.
If you take even one drag of a cigarette, you’ll have just sent all the nicotine your body needs to overpower you to take another one, and then an eventual full-blown relapse.
I don’t believe the theory about “cutting back.” I believe it does absolutely no good at all.
If you’re a heavy smoker, then your body is used to 20 or more cigarettes a day. If you cut back to 3 a day, then you’re in constant withdrawal.
If you go from 20 cigarettes to 1 you’re going to be obsessing and craving that 1 cigarette you’re allowing yourself ALL DAY LONG!
You’ll eventually just give up.
So don’t even allow yourself that one.
Know FOR A FACT that even one drag will lead you back into addiction.
The only true way to quit is to go cold turkey or switch to vaping.
#7 — FIGHT THE PAIN – The first few days are the hardest. You’re gonna feel some physical pain, I won’t lie to you.
But you need to fight through that!
You need to understand that feeling the pain is a GOOD thing, and not something bad. It’s your body healing itself, that’s all that is.
It’s very possible, in my opinion, to turn that feeling of pain around and think of it as a positive experience. The pain means it’s working, and your body is able to heal itself.
When you start waking up in the morning fully rested you’ll know what I’m talking about.
You’ll feel your lungs healing themselves. Your breathing will be better, and your energy will skyrocket.
#8 — GIVE YOURSELF 3 WEEKS OF ALONE TIME – This is the rest of your life we’re talking about. I think anyone, who is 100% serious, can manage 3 weeks of alone time without any interference.
You’re doomed for failure if you think you can go out to the bars and have a few drinks on your first night of quitting cold turkey.
Nicotine is too strong, and it will overpower you. All it takes is one mistake, and then you have to start all over again.
You need to avoid all those things for a while. Besides, I think 3 weeks of alone time is NOTHING compared to your total lifespan. It’s a mere dot on the map.
When you think of how many years you’ve been an addict, 3 weeks may seem like nothing at all.
In reality, you’ll need it. You’ll need that time to sort things out mentally, because there WILL be demons chasing you.
If you throw friends and bars and parties into the mix, you’re just doomed for failure. Even if people get mad at you, it will be worth it in the end.
Now if you switch to vaping instead of cold turkey, you can freely go out to bars on that first night or whatever night you choose.
You’re still inhaling nicotine, so the addiction is still going, you’re just not inhaling the other 4,000 other chemicals that are in cigarettes.
#9 — REWARD YOURSELF! – Quitting is the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life, you shouldn’t be doing anything else at the time besides this.
I think it’s very important to reward yourself.
Whether it be a latte from your local coffee shop, a candy bar, or a nice steak dinner, all those things you’ve earned because you haven’t smoked even once.
If you are prone to weight gain, worry about that later.
You can always join a gym, and I strongly recommend doing that.
Besides, your energy levels will be up, so you’ll WANT to be exercising more anyways. It comes natural.
#10 — HATE CIGARETTES BEFORE YOU QUIT – You can only truly quit if you hate cigarettes to begin with. If you love them, then why quit? You won’t.
You can’t go into Day 1 thinking you don’t really want to stop, or it’s not quite time yet, or there’s a big party coming up.
YOU HAVE TO HATE SMOKING!
You have to hate it so much that it becomes your #1 priority in life. It has to come before anything else.
If other things start to become more important to you, you’ll be caught off guard, and risk relapsing.
It will make quitting much more doable if you rid yourself of something you absolutely hate.
Once you quit and you’re not smoking, you’ll be excited! You’ll have channeled that hatred into making a real honest effort in doing something good for yourself.
#11 — SET THE DATE – It’s never a good idea to quit on a whim. I know there are some theories behind it, but in my case, there needs to be some planning involved.
I would strongly advise not quitting before a concert, or a camping trip.
Know what’s in your immediate future and plan accordingly.
Give some room of about 1 or 2 months. That way, there won’t be any excuses.
You need a timeline.
You’re going to need alone time anyways, so try and put that time into the best place possible. If you don’t plan ahead, you may slip up, and you don’t want that to happen.
If you plan a date and stick to it, and make an honest effort from that point forward, you’ll be one step ahead of the game.
#12 — QUIT ON YOUR DAY OFF – There are some different theories about this, too, but I strongly suggest to quit on your day off. You need as few obstacles on that first day as possible.
If you add stress and anxiety into the mix right off the bat, you’ll likely be overpowered and convinced to smoke either during work or immediately after.
I’ve tried both methods, and I do feel it’s best to quit on your day off, and that will lead to a more successful attempt.
There is just too much pressure. The less stress the better.
I would almost advise having the next 2 days off in a row. Then there won’t be any outside interference and you can just concentrate and focus on your goals.
Why do I encourage all this?
Because sometimes you just have to lock yourself inside your house. It’s gonna be tough, and if you add work stress, it will be incredibly tough.
I’m not saying you can’t successfully quit and work on Day 1 at the same time, you definitely can, I’m just trying to set you up for the best chance of success.
#13 — KEEP BUSY – Nothing is worse than sitting around and pondering the thought of smoking all day. You’ll go crazy!
You need to keep busy. If you’ve planned ahead accordingly, you should have a complete list of things to do for the first few days.
Clean the house, start a hobby, go for walks, do things outside, and focus on keeping your mind off smoking and onto things more productive.
Make a garden! It’s actually quite fun!
I bet you’ll do things you would’ve NEVER done before.
Enjoy the fresh air outside and breathe it in. Make a nice meal for yourself. Enjoy the taste of food.
It’s a life-changing moment.
Learn to keep busy and after a while, it will come naturally to you. You’ll never want to be lazy ever again.
#14 — DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE FUTURE – This is a big one. You’re going to worry about not having the next cigarette.
Your mind is going to play tricks on you whether you hate smoking or not. You just need to know it’s going to happen and there is no way around it.
Don’t worry about work, or the bars, or your friends, or how much pain there will be. You’ll go nuts!
Your mind will try to convince you it’s impossible to do those things without your best friend.
It will tell you to smoke one last time and quit tomorrow. It will tell you the same thing the next day. If the cycle continues, the next day never arrives.
If you can somehow acknowledge the fact that your mind is just playing tricks on you, you’ll be so much further ahead than someone who has no idea what is in store for them.
If you can rise above those thoughts and win every argument you’re having with yourself, then that is half the battle.
Getting over the physical is relatively easy, it’s the mental game that’s the most challenging.
Just accept the fact the first 3 weeks are going to be crazy and you won’t be thinking clearly.
This is why you should avoid a lot of things and have 3 weeks of alone time. You’re not going to be your normal self.
But that’s OK, everyone goes through it. You are not the only one.
#15 — YOU’RE GONNA HAVE MOOD SWINGS – There are times when you’re going to be happy, and there are times you’re going to be depressed. Addiction can do that to you.
Having a positive mindset will help.
But there are going to be times when you’re feeling regretful. You’ll hate the fact you’ve given it all up.
“What were you thinking?” “Now is not the right time!” “I think you better have one and then decide what to do.”
Your mind will convince you to think like that all the time when you first quit. Don’t let it!
After the first day or so, I was in such pain, but I knew underneath that pain I was feeling better than ever. I was breathing better and sleeping better.
I knew I was in pain, but I also knew it wouldn’t last long.
Conquer your mood swings by focusing on how good you feel underneath the physical and mental withdrawal.
#16 — PUT $5 ASIDE EVERYDAY – This is how much you would be spending on cigarettes anyways. This number could be even more if you’re buying chips or a soda or a pack of gum to go along with them.
Plus they might be cheaper in one spot versus another spot, but as a generalization, they are, on average, $5 per pack.
Some places they are as high as $10 per pack. Think of how much money you’d be saving then!
Some brands are more expensive than others, too. It’s all relative, but the fact remains that if you quit, that money you spend each day could add up to something huge.
Keep adding $5 and try not to count it. Wait until the envelope is real thick and THEN count it. You’ll be amazed at how much you saved!
I think it’s important to reward yourself and buy something nice with that money. After all, you’ve earned it.
That $5 a day might even go towards paying bills each month. There isn’t anything wrong with that. It could be, in fact, if you really think about it, free health insurance.
#17 — TALK ABOUT QUITTING WITH OTHERS – Let everyone know about your situation. Don’t keep it a secret, or your mind will convince you that “you can have one and no one will ever know.” YOU would know.
Make it known!
If you know friends who’ve successfully quit, talk with them about it, and get their advice. They might have some valuable information you didn’t know beforehand.
It’s always good to have people who understand what you’re going through around you. It will help tremendously.
Plus, if you tell everyone, you are held accountable if you relapse. You’ll naturally put a stronger effort into quitting. If it’s a secret, then your mind will try and play tricks on you.
It happens every time.
Trust me, I’ve told my friends and co-workers and then failed MANY times. But it had to be done, because if I quit in secret, I would just smoke and hide it from everybody, and that’s not a good feeling.
Plus all that “washing hands” and “chewing gum” nonsense, it just sucks when you’re smoking behind everyone’s back.
In reality, they can smell it on you anyways. In your hair and on your clothes. You can’t wash your hair while in the bathroom at work!
#18 — GO TO BED EARLY – When you’re sleeping, you’re not smoking. The sooner you go to bed, the faster you can wake up and add another notch to the number of days you’ve quit.
Sleep is important.
Plus, you’ll wake up feeling great and refreshed, knowing you didn’t smoke the day before.
Sleep is good for you, too. Your body heals itself during this time. It’s good for your brain, your muscles, and overall health.
The more days under your belt, the easier it will get.
You can go back to your old sleeping routine after you have a grip on your situation, but at the very beginning, I feel it’s important to get a good night’s rest.
Your body will thank you for it in the morning. Mine still does to this day.
#19 — THROW OUT ANYTHING THAT REMINDS YOU OF CIGARETTES – All those little things around the house and outside, or even in your car, and anything you might have that would indirectly trigger you to smoke. Throw all that junk away!
If you smoked inside, it might be a good idea to buy some air freshener, or open the windows for a while.
My apartment smelled horrible all the time. It was so disgusting. I was embarrassed to have anyone over. I wouldn’t have anyone over.
Open the windows, and let the fresh air inside. You might even like your surroundings again. Can you imagine having people over?
Throw out all that junk and start fresh with a whole new YOU. Your pets will thank you too!
#20 — TAKE UP A HOBBY – Read a book, build a garden, or my favorite, watch an entire run of a TV series.
Join the gym. Walk around the block. Take a drive to a pretty place you know in the area. Grab a blanket and go relax outside somewhere.
The possibilities are endless!
What’s your favorite pastime? What would you like to do instead of sitting around and worrying about your next fix? Do you have a favorite TV show or movie, a favorite author, or a craft of some sort?
You could zone in on that to help you.
The busier you are, the better. Don’t let nicotine sneak up on you when you’re bored and sitting around doing nothing. Keep yourself occupied!
Shenita Miles says
I’m on day 8 and your really helping this girl right here. ❤️
You go girl! Keep strong!
Ty Foster says
Hi Matt! Just stopping by to leave a long overdue note of thanks. I quit smoking a little over two years ago and your site was an instrumental part in my success – thank you for creating this site! I am back because I am sharing your wonderful site with my cousin. He wishes to quit and I think the information you provide here will greatly enhance his chance of success! The world of smokers trying to get to the other side need this site! I am so grateful it was there when I needed it. Many blessings to you Matt.
Thank you so much! Glad I could help. I don’t make any money off this site, but it’s comments like these that are priceless.
And it sucks cuz Google killed off my website traffic. I was getting over 1000 views a day, and now I’m getting a little over 100. All because of their stupid algorithms. But thanks, I appreciate it.
coleen gordon says
Only on day 5 but feeling pretty good about that. Just wanted to say something about cold turkey, been a smoker 45 years pack a day. Un- like the other 100 times I have tried to quit, this is my first cold turkey run. My truth is this, wish I would have went cold turkey before-years before because this time I am not in constant restart from yet one more thing to start from. Day 5 and starting to feel much stronger, better and even smile to my self now and then lol. Chin up, losing this battle is not an option period. Another quick shower, that will be 2nd one in 4 hours but I can smell the toxins leaching out thru my skin and am so happy about it 🙂 shower time-fresh time:)
I have been nicotine free for three months. I quit cold turkey after smoking for 28 years. I have not vaped or used any NRT’s. This website has helped me so much in dealing with my cessation.
I read it every day during the first stages of quitting smoking and I still refer back at least twice a week now.
The mindset segment was the most powerful and influential to my current success.
Thanks Mateo for this great information you have compiled from your experiences. The Truth about NRT’s was invaluable as well.
I am on day 28 – mood swings are awful – sleeping really does help.
I have smoked for 48 years and have quit and relapsed too many times to count. Fact is I really like smoking and really hate it at the same time. I’ve been getting in the right place mentally to quit and my life in general is on a very good up swing so I feel strong just not exactly ready. Your blog is helping me along the path. Thanks.
I enjoy reading this thanks a lot its my 36 day off smoking and i’m having bad withdrawal most of the time.
doug bryan says
That was awesome! Every suggestion was on point. I always liked the accessories of smoking, i.e. cool lighters, nice ashtrays, etc. Tobacco has a common thread with the other vices. If you are addicted you have to abstain completely. There is no moderation or just have one. One thing that wasn’t mentioned is that routines are upset, maybe friendships changed. As stated, it will be a difficult few weeks, but you can do it.