When you decide to stop smoking the most difficult part is to resist the urges. It doesn’t matter that each craving lasts only 3-5 minutes. It’s still the whole 5 minutes to battle with your willpower! These 7 tips will help you to resist the urge to smoke one urge at a time.
1. Remind Yourself Why You Quit
Every time you experience a craving remind yourself why you quit. It’s an excellent idea to take a blank index card and list all the reasons why you decided to quit smoking. List as many as you can, the more, the better. If necessary, take the second index card. Carry them with you all the time. Every time you feel the urge to smoke take the index card and slowly read all your reasons why you decided to stop. After you finish reading your urge will pass! (If not, read them one more time or come up with more reasons.)
2. Reward Yourself.
Make it a habit to reward yourself at the end of each nonsmoking week. Think of something you want (it doesn’t have to be something expensive, a nice homemade meal or a hot bath will work). Take the index card and write down what would you give yourself at the end of the week. When the urge comes take a look at the index card with your reward. Isn’t it worth coping for 3 minutes? 🙂
3. Be prepared for your urges!
Get yourself prepared for the urge to smoke in advance. In most cases, something triggers the craving (certain feelings, people, or places). You have to know what triggers the urge.
Let’s do a really quick exercise. Take a blank piece of paper and divide it into 2 columns. On the one side list, your triggers (like “stuck in traffic”, “drinking morning coffee”, “arguing with a colleague”…), and in the second column write down the alternative course of action.
For example, instead of smoking while drinking your morning coffee you could read a newspaper. Instead of smoking after a hot argument with your colleague you can take a walk around a block or write down everything you think about this person, then tear this piece of paper into shreds and throw it away. Don’t be lazy, write it down! This exercise really works!
4. Call your friend.
This method works great. Call someone who can support you, who can talk with you for a couple of minutes. You can call your nonsmoking friend or someone who’s trying to quit smoking too.
5. Distract yourself with a quick task.
Think of a small task you have to do, something that would take you 5-10 minutes. Make a call, send a fax, make yourself a cup of coffee, water the plant in your office. Anything! Your task is to distract yourself until the urge will pass. (Hint: Try to find an activity that makes smoking impossible!)
6. Drink a Glass of Water.
Take a glass of water and drink it with a straw. First having something in your mouth to chew on will help, second, it will take you a couple of minutes to drink the whole glass and the urge will pass. Plus, don’t forget that you’re supposed to drink 8 glasses of water every day!